Miami football competition for 1st team LG appears to be three-way battle

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported last week that the competition for first-team snaps at left guard for the Miami football team appears to be a three-way battle this spring.
Georgia Tech v Miami
Georgia Tech v Miami / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

The competition to replace Javion Cohen at left guard appears to be a three-way battle per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jackson reported Luis Cristobal and Samson Okunlola took a lot of first-team snaps at LG during the opening week of spring practice. Cristobal started the Pinstripe Bowl loss to Rutgers.

Matthew McCoy was the early projected replacement for Cohen. With Francis Mauigoa out with an injury this spring McCoy has been taking first-team snaps at RT. Cristobal, McCoy and Okunlola are the front runners to be the starting LG for Miami. There are other potential options.

Offensive line coach Alex Mirabal likes to cross-train his players. Miami could move offensive linemen around to put the five best players on the field. Jalen Rivers started at left guard in 2021 and 2022 and could potentially return there for Miami for the 2024 season.

If Rivers moves inside, 6'8.5", 340 junior college transfer Markel Bell and Okunlola would likely compete to be the starting LT. Mauigoa could also potentially move to LT. Redshirt freshman Tommy Kinsler provides more size for Miami at 6'6 and 340 pounds. Kinsler signed with Miami as a tackle in 2023 but could move to guard.

" “I feel like he’s going to be good. He’s very long, he’s learning fast, very smart. So I feel like if we keep on teaching him he can come along very well.”"

UM OL Anez Cooper about Bell

Jonathan Denis, Ryan Rodriguez, Logan Sagapolu and Frankie Tinilau add depth for Miami on the interior of the offensive line. Rodriguez is a center who could move to guard. Mario Cristobal and Mirabal have done an exceptional job of upgrading the OL over the last two seasons.

Freshmen OL Nino Francavilla and Deryc Plazz are participating in spring practice and OT Juan Minaya will arrive later this year. Francavilla is a center, Plazz signed with Miami as an OT and was one of the leaders of the 2024 class. During Under Armour All-America week, Plazz worked at guard and could move there for Miami.

Miami football projected pre-spring offensive depth chart. Miami football projected pre-spring offensive depth chart. dark. Next

The competition at LG should continue into August training camp. Miami returns Anez Cooper at right guard and Mauigoa and Rivers at the tackles. Zach Carpenter was brought in at center to replace Matt Lee. Miami will have an experienced OL that should be one of the best nationally in 2024.