Miami football plan is keeping Jalen Rivers at LT per Alex Mirabal

Offensive line coach Alex Mirabal expects Jalen Rivers to stay at left tackle for the Miami football team.

Oct 15, 2022; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA;  Miami Hurricanes offensive lineman Jalen Rivers (64)
Oct 15, 2022; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Miami Hurricanes offensive lineman Jalen Rivers (64) / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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Offensive line coach Alex Mirabal told Joe Rose on his eponymous morning show on WQAM earlier this month that the Hurricanes plan on keeping Jalen Rivers at left tackle. Rivers started all 13 games for Miami in 2023. Rivers has also started games at guard during his Miami career, which began in 2021.

There has been some off-season speculation that redshirt freshman Samson Okunlola or junior college transfer Markel Bell could start at LT, allowing Miami to get their five best OL on the field. Keeping Rivers at LT provides Miami stability on the OL entering the 2024 season.

In addition to Rivers, Miami returns right guard Anez Cooper and right tackle Francis Mauigoa as starters on the OL. Cooper tied for the most snaps on Miami in 2023 per David Lake of Inside the U. Lake also stated PFF gave Rivers a "74.5 pass blocking grade and a 69.9 run blocking grade. Rivers allowed 14 pressures and two sacks" in 2023.

The experience that Rivers provides Miami in what is widely regarded as the second most important position on offense is critical. If Cooper, Mauigoa and Rivers stay at their positions, the only position likely to be open for competition entering the 2024 season is left guard. Miami added Indiana transfer Zach Carpenter at center.

"“I don’t know why. Unless someone is significantly better than him at left tackle, you don’t want to waste all those reps at left tackle...Our plan is to play him at left tackle...We’re not going to mess with him. He’s so intelligent and mentally flexible that it’s so easy for him [to change positions]. But at some point, you have to say it’s not fair to the kid. Let him grow with a spot. That’s what we’ve decided to do with Jalen...for that to change, somebody is going to have him beat him out of tackle...“Someone is always trying to move Rivers.”"

Miami OL Coach Alex Mirabal

Mirabal discussed what position Okunlola will eventually play. Miami signed Okunlola as a tackle. After playing three games in 2023, Okunlola suffered a season-ending injury. Okunlola could compete at left guard in 2024. If Okunlola earns a starting spot at guard or tackle, it would be another way for Miami to start the five most talented OL.

"“I see him playing tackle, but he has the versatility to be able to play guard...Everyone talks about five-star stuff. He’s got a five-star work ethic...Samson is doing really well. He’s been the best example of how someone should deal with it when they’re coming back from being injured.” "

Miami OL Coach Alex Mirabal

Miami could add an interior OL as a transfer during the spring portal window that players can enter from April 16 through 30. Redshirt freshman Tommy Kinsler and redshirt sophomore Matthew McCoy are other OL in the mix to become the starter at LG. Miami will almost definitely lose players to the transfer portal next month.

Next. Mario Cristobal discusses Miami plan getting down to 85 scholarship players. Mario Cristobal discusses Miami plan getting down to 85 scholarship players. dark

Miami currently has 92 scholarship players on its roster. That is seven above the NCAA limit. Offensive line will be a position to watch for players to transfer out of Miami. Several Hurricanes veteran OL have been on the roster for a few years without earning much playing time.