Offensive Line Update: March 20

Jeff Stoutland is in his first year as the offensive line coach at UM. This spring he has been instilling his philosophies as the unit strives to improve daily despite a number of injuries.

Head coach Randy Shannon's philosophy regarding the offensive line is every player must learn every position in case an injury occurs. He is taking an NFL mentality in regards to the line as a typical NFL team will not carry much more than seven offensive linemen.

Shannon also put his linemen through an extensive offensive workout plan to get them into better condition and has not been happy with the shape they were in.

Coach Swasey had the guys at six in the morning for about three weeks leading up to spring practices. They did extra running and conditioning on top of their regular workouts and dropped 10-15 pounds. A positive sign of players being in shape is some came back from spring break one to two pounds underweight.

Shannon is looking for his linemen to be tough.

"If you have a tough lineman with a little bit of athletic ability, they can do just about anything," Shannon said.

Stoutland is looking for "unusual" players such as an undersized player that comes off the ball well or a massive lineman that moves his feet pretty well.

Shannon recently hired Dan Shula, the grandson of former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula. Dan is expected to help out with the offensive line, but will help other areas of the offense as well.

"He's got those genes in him, which is great for us and is a great attribute with what we got going on," Shannon said.

Stoutland was happy with Tuesday's practice, the team's first since March 8. The key for the line is to progress daily, which Stoutland has felt his unit has done even with new installations of the offense put in.


Listen to Stoutland talking about his philosophy and what he is trying to instill into the offensive line:


Derrick Morse could be the team's starting center this season and has been the team's primary center this spring. However, Morse was limited during Tuesday's practice due to a knee injury that is not expected to be serious. Matt Pipho and Andrew Bain split reps at center in place of Morse.

Reggie Youngblood is expected to remain at left tackle while Jason Fox is at right tackle. Fox could play both, but Youngblood feels more comfortable on the left side.

Andrew Bain is expected to start at one of the guard positions and has played more at left guard in his career. A number of players could find themselves in the battle at right guard including Chris Rutledge who has primarily played tackle in his career.


Jason Fox, Tyrone Byrd, A.J. Trump, and Ian Symonette will not be participating in contract drills this spring.

Derrick Morse had a knee brace on during Tuesday's practice, but it is not expected to be serious.

"He'll be fine, he's just a little sore," Shannon said. "He will miss another day or so and then he'll be ready."

Christopher Stock can be reached at

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