97. Miami’s offense needs most out of OL

There are 97 days until MACtion returns. Until then, we count the days

Last year for the Miami RedHawks did not go according to plan. Breakdowns on special teams started the season out with a loss to Marshall. A late pick six gave away another game to Cincinnati. Divisional play opens with losses to Bowling Green and Kent State. The Battle of the Bricks got out of hand really quickly. Instead of finally putting things together and making a run at the Mid-American Conference East Division crown, the RedHawks went 5-7 overall, 4-4 in MAC play.

Building an offense, putting points on the board — that’s been difficult at Miami. At 24.4, this team was No. 97 nationally in points per game last season. That’s not good, but consider that this was the Miami’s best-scoring offense since 2005.

Year Miami points per game
2004 31.3
2005 33.7
2006 18.5
2007 19.2
2008 18.4
2009 15.6
2010 21.6
2011 21.3
2012 23.3
2013 9.8
2014 22.3
2015 17.9
2016 22.8
2017 24.4

There are plenty of reasons to go around and show what went wrong for the RedHawk offense, but if there’s reason for optimism, it’s worth highlighting the offensive line — especially since the team didn’t lose any starters.

  • LG, Sam McMollum — McMollum played every game of his college career, starting all but two. Now he’s a senior that’s used to the responsibilities at his position that come with blocking for a dual-threat quarterback.
  • LT, Jordan Rigg — Last year, this left tackle made the Third Team All-MAC roster after making 24 straight starts in two years. Now Rigg’s a redshirt-junior, making it 64 total games played from the left side of the line.
  • RG, Jarrett LaRubbio — LaRubbio is a redshirt junior that initially started his college career at Kentucky. Last year, following his redshirt year, started eight games at right guard.
  • RT, Matt Skibinski — Skibinski made eight starts last year at right tackle and played in 14 total games. Most of his playing time came when Tommy Doyle went down with an injury.
  • C, Danny Godlevske — Godlevske played as a true freshman in 2016 and made 11 starts at center. He was named to the Rimington Award Preseason Award Watch List then broke his foot in the season opener. Life comes at you fast, but he still has three years of eligibility to give.
  • C, Mitch Palmer — Palmer is going into his senior season and has had his share of playing time over the years. After being the team’s Offensive Scout Player of the Year in 2014, he’s played in 25 total games with 19 starts. Most recently, he filled in for Godlevske at center where Palmer took over as the starter.
  • RT, Tommy Doyle — Doyle got the opportunity to play as a redshirt-freshman, making four starts at right tackle. Unfortunately, a foot injury sidelined this Edina, Minn. native for the rest of the year, but still has three years to give.

There’s also Ryan Mullen, a senior that’s always a part of the rotations to add to the team’s depth, same with Jack Schroer (played eight games last year) and Ian Leever (23 career games).

Sure, all the excitement of offenses go to the skilled position players like Gus Ragland, Kenny Young and James Gardner. If this group of offensive linemen can let the playmakers make plays, then it would stand to reason that the RedHawks could see serious improvements in the scoring department.

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