Miami Hurricanes offensive line building cohesiveness

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 03: Travis Homer #24 of the Miami Hurricanes celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the first half against the Duke Blue Devils at Hard Rock Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 03: Travis Homer #24 of the Miami Hurricanes celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the first half against the Duke Blue Devils at Hard Rock Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Miami Hurricanes offensive line has struggled with inconsistency the last three seasons. In an effort to overcome that, they worked on cohesiveness during the 2019 offseason.

The Miami Hurricanes offensive line returns two-year starter Navaughn Donaldson and D.J. Scaife who started the last seven games in 2018. Redshirt sophomore center Corey Gaynor is the only definite at his position with less than four weeks remaining until Miami begins the season against Florida.

Donaldson and Scaife are near locks as starters, the question remains where. Some project they will be the guards, while others project Donaldson at left guard and Scaife at left tackle. In an effort to build chemistry during the offseason, the Miami offensive linemen were together as much as possible.

In an article for Inside the U on Sunday, David Lake spoke to current and former Miami Hurricanes offensive linemen about how they began building chemistry in the offseason. Donaldson stated the emphasis was on getting together and becoming connected.

"“We met pretty much almost every day whether it was in the sand pit or working different sets. Everybody coming together was a big point of emphasis with the offensive line.Don’t just make it about watching film here. We would get connected and got to people’s houses and barbecue, play games, have fun, and bonding.”"

Former Miami Hurricanes All-Americans, center Brett Romberg, tackle Bryant McKinnie and guard Leon Searcy have been working with the offensive linemen. The three former NFL lineman emphasized to the young offensive linemen the importance of building chemistry. Donaldson elaborated.

"“The thing they really communicated to us was getting together as a unit. They also talked to us about some techniques and teaching us how we can watch film and how pre-snap reads are really important. It was a great experience for us.”"

The 2018 Miami Hurricanes had experience center Tyler Gauthier to call out the signals and make the pre-snap reads. Gauthier had to assist quarterback N’Kosi Perry with audibles at the line of scrimmage. Donaldson it the most experienced OL Miami has, but it will be difficult to make those reads for the entire team at guard.

Gaynor was appreciative of the Miami legends coming back to work with the offensive line. Searcy won titles with the Hurricanes in the late 1980s and early 1990s. McKinnie and Romberg were on the 2001 National Championship Miami Hurricanes.

"“It’s great, because like everyone says it’s the U-family. We got alumni coming back all the time and it’s it’s fantastic for them to come back and take time out of their busy days to come coach the younger generation. They are legends.”"

According to Lake, the Hurricanes lined up with left tackle Zion Nelson, left guard Donaldson, center Gaynor, right guard Scaife, and right tackle Kai-Leon Herbert as the first team through the first few practices this weekend, Nelson has been impressive as a true freshman since he enrolled in January.

Nelson entered Miami at 240 pounds and is up to 285 with hard work put in in the weight room over the last six months working with strength and conditioning coach David Feeley. Gaynor spoke about the progress Nelson has made and the importance of being a leader on the offensive line at center.

"“Zion is doing a great job. He is coming in and exceeding expectations. He’s just a hard worker, he is going to keep his head down and it’s just awesome to see him out there competing.Just the message that I get across to my guys on offensive line is just that we’re going to be tough, we’re going to be smart, and we’re going to be dependable in all the things that coach Barry preaches.I’m like a junior version of him just instilling into our guys and that’s what we want to play with and the passion we want to use all season. We have all of training camp and we’ve been we’ve been meeting extra. It’s going to take time. It’s a process but the final product has yet to be decided.”"

New Miami offensive coordinator Dan Enos is pleased with the learning process that the Hurricanes offensive line has gone through since the end of spring practice.

"“We are playing faster,” Enos said. “Guys understand what we are doing. In the spring they were learning techniques and a new language…Every time we called a play, they had to process it. You can tell now the words and the things coach Barry is teaching them is quicker.”"

dark. Next. Miami OL minimizes pre-snap mistakes

Getting the OL to improve this fall is critical. Miami had inconsistent play under Mark Richt and former offensive line coach Stacy Searles the last three seasons. The Hurricanes need better pass protection. The primary question fans and the media want answered is who will be the QB. Without a cohesive OL that won’t matter.