The Hurricanes played just five offensive linemen against Louisville in the season opener. A few weeks later Al Golden announced that K.C. McDermott was competing with Taylor Gadbois for the starting right tackle spot and that Alex Gall was competing with Danny Isidora for the starting right guard spot. McDermott and Gall were considered the unit's top backups.
Here we are a few weeks later and things are a bit different. Both McDermott and Gadbois were injured Saturday against Duke. Golden announced last night that McDermott is not expected to play this Saturday against Georgia Tech but they're still unsure about Gadbois' status.
"We’re operating without them right now," Golden said Monday. "It’s a great opportunity for (Hunter) Wells, (Nick) Linder, (Trevor) Darling, and Sunny (Odogwu). All those guys worked with us today. We’ll see if Gall can make it back."
After Gadbois went down Saturday night the coaches moved left guard Jon Feliciano to right tackle -- where he started as a freshman a few years ago -- and inserted Linder at left guard. Golden believes the different combinations they worked on in training camp helped.
"We worked on different combinations during training camp so we can be ready for games," he said. "I don’t have anything definitive right now."
Linder got the call on Saturday instead of Darling and Odogwu. Golden talked about why they went with him over the other two.
"Great practice week," he said. "He prepared hard, was ready for his opportunity and played really well. He had nine plus reps out of 10. Good for him. He brings a poise and a familiarity with those guys."
Wells was unavailable for the Duke game because he was serving a one-game suspension.
"He’s back. He was conduct detrimental this past week. He’s worked hard for this opportunity and he has to step up now. He’s strong enough, smart enough. He can play center, guard, or tackle for us."
Odogwu worked at right tackle early in his career but was moved inside to guard a few weeks ago. Golden says he's back at right tackle competing for that starting job.
"He’s been with varsity for three weeks, meaning he wasn’t doing scout stuff. We brought him up. He’s been traveling. He’s smart and has the size. We just have to keep pushing him this week."
Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Shane McDermott at center, and Feliciano are solid starters looking ahead to Saturday's game. If Gall returns, he's expected to push Isidora for a starting spot but it's unlikely that he'll take it immediately coming back from injury.
It appears as though the fifth starter will be either Linder or Wells at left guard or Odogwu or Darling at right tackle.
Stay on CanesTime for more developments on this situation as they unfold throughout the week.