Butler Steady at Right Tackle

Senior right tackle Rashad Butler was mobile and ready as the Hurricanes held their first spring practice March 8. This is the first time Butler and the team have been together running practice since the Peach bowl last January, but it didn't slow the canes down.

"The first day everyone is a little rusty, I'm getting the rust off, but it's good to have everyone back and football oriented after a couple months," he said.

Miami's offensive line lost both senior guard Chris Myers and center Joel Rodriguez after last season, however Butler has a lot of confidence in this year's offensive line.

"Our O-line is veteran," he said, referring to the experience multiple upperclassmen have had filling in for injuries. "Anthony Wollschlager was a guy who didn't get a lot of game time, but he got a lot of reps in practice and will be great."

Butler anchors the line with fellow senior tackle Eric Winston, but ironically doesn't want the two to be considered leaders.

"We're [offensive line] a unit and everyone on that line knows what their job is."

Butler repeatedly cited the professionalism and work ethic everyone had during the first practice of the season. In addition, Butler also knows the team has a lot to work on before the first official snap. While the offensive line is a solid unit, Butler knows they need a lot more practice together, especially since they will be protecting a new and younger quarterback.

"We need to be a focused line, then focus on being a productive offense once that's accomplished," he said.

Head coach Larry Coker was excited about the upside in both quarterback candidates Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman.

"We haven't seen a quarterback like these guys here," Coker said. "Both are more mobile than Brock [Berlin] and Kenny Dorsey so it'll be exciting."

Butler agreed with Coker and feels that a more mobile quarterback is something everyone on the team will benefit from, especially the offensive line.

"It's much better for a lineman because even when you get beat, he can make you look good," Butler said.

Butler suffered a broken leg injury last year that sidelined him for almost the first half of the season. Based on his performance on the practice field, it looks as though Butler isn't suffering at all.

"It feels really good," Butler said. "When I injured it, I rehabbed really hard and came back and mid-way through last season it felt real good."

Butler pointed out the fact that he had to keep a close eye on his technique, especially his leg angle, to prevent the injury from reoccurring.

"I've worked really hard to get back and now it's a matter of getting my leg in the right position on every snap."

Butler played in eight games his freshman year of 2002 and 10 games as a sophomore in 2003. He is known for his explosive first step and incredible agility for a tackle his size.

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