Football Blog: 7/27

In this blog, we take a look at a position change that was just made by the Miami coaches at a key position.

Randy Shannon just announced that senior Joel Figueroa has been switched from guard to right tackle. This means the Canes will enter the 2010 season with two senior offensive tackles -- Figs and Orlando Franklin.

What it means:
Figueroa moving to tackle means the UM coaches must feel more confident in their guards than they do their other tackles, outside of Franklin. RS freshman Jermaine Johnson was expected to have the inside track to win the right tackle job during fall camp. Guards Harland Gunn and Brandon Washington now appear to be set as starters heading into fall camp. The first unit line heading into fall camp will now likely be Franklin, Washington, Gunn, Figueroa, and center Tyler Horn.

The position switch now gives Miami two experienced offensive tackles. Franklin and Figs have a lot of experience as starters and they give the Hurricanes a pair of massive tackles. The coaches appear to have more confidence with Washington at guard than Johnson at tackle, which is a positive from an experience standpoint since Washington played a bunch last season while Johnson redshirted. It gives Miami a more experienced offensive line heading into fall camp and puts the two most experienced starters on the corners to protect Jacory Harris. Figueroa played tackle in high school, too, before moving to guard when he got to Miami so he has some previous experience there.

Having Franklin and Figs at the two tackles spots means the Canes will enter the season with a grand total of two tackle starts between the two starters. They're both experienced but not at tackle. If Figs was a better tackle, you'd think he would have gotten switched to that position earlier in his career. He will likely be a guard at the next level and that's probably his best position. Matt Pipho played right tackle last season as a senior and struggled tremendously so simply having a senior there doesn't matter much. He still has to play well at that position and Figs hasn't proven that yet.

Bottom Line:
It seems like this move was done out of necessity as opposed to the coaches thinking Figs is a better tackle. They'll essentially go to Ohio State in September with a couple of guards protecting Jacory. Getting the five best guys on the field is still a priority it seems like and so it looks like Washington is a little further ahead than Johnson. Figs moving back to guard at some point in the season can't be considered a stretch, especially if Johnson begins making major strides at tackle. It gives the Canes a little less depth at guard and a little more at tackle. Johnson and Ben Jones are a strong backup tandem while the backup guard situation is a little shaky now. Someone like Jared Wheeler will have to really step up at some point this season and become a quality backup.

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