Senior OL Back From Injury

Joel Rodriguez is a senior offensive lineman from Monsignor Pace High School in Miami. Last season Rodriguez was the team's starting center as he appeared in 11 games. He suffered a season-ending broken fibula against Rutgers, but has participated in all spring practices.

In 2003 he led the Hurricanes with 34 metrorails and allowed only two sacks. He was named an offensive MVP twice by the Miami coaching staff against Florida and Florida State.

At 6-3 and 290 pounds Rodriguez has good balance and is a tough football player. This spring he has been working on his technique and avoiding holding penalties.

"I have been feeling pretty good out here. My leg hasn't been hurting me a whole lot out here. It is swollen, but it doesn't hurt."

So far the team has avoided major injuries in the spring with the exception of Terrell Walden's torn ACL. Brandon Sebald separated his shoulder and Roscoe Parrish had minor knee surgery.

"As a group wise, we haven't been hurt especially on the offensive line. That is one of the most important things. A lot of the times you lose guys in the spring. So far it hasn't happened to us."

During the spring there was supposed to be a big battle at left guard, but the team moved Tony Tella from tackle to left guard with the first unit. Tella has maintained that spot and Rodriguez thinks he has found a home.

The starting unit consists of: LT Eric Winston; LG Tony Tella; C Rodriguez; RG Chris Myers; and RT Rashad Butler.

"Considering we have two new guys in the starting lineup we are doing a lot better than we were at this time last year. Hopefully we can continue to improve. This summer we will work out together and gel together even more."

The offense returns seven starters from a year ago, but has struggled at times this spring. Quarterback Brock Berlin has been steady at quarterback and is looking to rebound from a disappointing year in 2003.

"The spring has been average. We have had some good days and obviously we had a bad scrimmage. It is what is about to be expected. We only have a few more practices before the spring game. We have to finish out strong and go into the summer with a positive attitude."

In the spring the running game has consisted of Tyrone Moss, Quadtrine Hill, Talib Humphrey, and Kyle Cobia.

"The running game has been inconsistent. Some days we go out there and pound it out for three and four yards. Other days we cant buy a yard. In the spring it is always like that. We just have to keep getting repetitions and we will get Frank Gore back in the fall, which will be a huge boost."

"With Tyrone Moss, Gore, Quadtrine Hill, and some of the freshman I expect us to have a pretty good running game in the fall."

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

Canes Time Top Stories