Post-Spring Analysis: OL

The Hurricanes lost one of the nation's best left tackles in Ereck Flowers, who is expected to be a first round pick this weekend. They also lost a couple experienced guys in Jon Feliciano and Shane McDermott. Despite those losses, the Canes have plenty of capable bodies here and they played pretty well during the spring.

When it comes to replacing guys along the offensive line, it's not always about how talented they were. Often times the most difficult players to replace up front are those who started a whole lot of games and were considered leaders. That's why replacing not only Flowers will be difficult but it won't be easy trying to replace Feliciano and McDermott.

Trevor Darling was given the first shot to replace Flowers as the team's left tackle, which will be an extremely important position considering the Canes now have a franchise quarterback. Darling has the necessary size and athleticism to effectively play the position but it's likely going to take time before he can play at a level near that of Flowers.

The task of filling Feliciano's shoes falls on the shoulders of junior Alex Gall. At 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, he has the necessary size and strength to effectively play inside but he lacks experience. Aside from special teams, he's barely played since arriving at Miami a couple years ago. He's also struggled to stay healthy and the Canes definitely saw a drop-off in production from Feliciano at the left guard position during the spring. Gall can also play center and would likely move inside if anything were to happen to Nick Linder.

Linder is expected to take over the starting center job. He saw action at guard as a true freshman last season when Feliciano moved out to right tackle for a few games. He held his own and is now on track to be the team's starting center for the next few seasons. He was rock solid in there during the spring.

Danny Isidora was the team's starting right guard last season and should be even better with another year of experience under his belt. He's coming off a solid spring.

The right tackle job seems wide open right now. Sunny Odogwu emerged as the team's starter there during the spring. At 6-foot-8 and 320 pounds, the sophomore has ideal size and some athleticism but is still very raw. He's still learning the game. He can also play on the left side as well. Taylor Gadbois was the team's starter here for the first half of last season before getting injured. He sat out spring while recovering, and some reports have indicated that he could be suspended to start this season (UM has not confirmed or commented on that). While he doesn't have the skill set as Odogwu, he has the edge on experience.

The best of the three competitors at right tackle is probably sophomore K.C. McDermott. At 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds, he's a former five star recruit who was injured last season. He sat out most of the spring while recovering from it but is fully expected to be 100-percent by the time fall camp rolls around. If he's at that level, most people expect him to win the job.

Senior Hunter Wells and redshirt freshman Joe Brown will compete to provide depth on the interior of the line, while Junior College transfer Jahair Jones is capable of playing just about anywhere on the line. A January entry into school, Jones actually settled in as Darling's backup at left tackle to finish spring. He got off to a solid start for his career with a solid spring.


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