Butler Reflects on the Offense

Rashad Butler

On Saturday the team held a scrimmage in which the defense played well and the offense struggled to get anything going. Senior right tackle Rashad Butler is expected to be an important member of the offensive line which is a key for success this season.

Head coach Larry Coker was not happy with the performance of the offense on Saturday.

"We are still learning how to play the game," Coker said after practice. "We have a lot of players that don't know how to play the game right now. It is combination of some really good defense and some really good defense. The defense really stepped it up today and the offense didn't. The offense wasn't off today, it was just bad."

Coker attributed a lot of the disappointing play on the offensive line.

"A lot of it is the offensive line," Coker said. "We had too many people in the backfield. I don't think we blocked people very well and it is certainly an area of concern when you turn people lose. We have got to get it corrected."

It was tough for the line to handle following the tough practice which featured LT Eric Winston, LG John Rochford, C Anthony Wollschlager, RG Andrew Bain, and RT Rashad Butler on the first unit.

"It is a disappointing because we took a step back," Butler said. "We have to take steps forward at this point in the process. We'll bounce back and guys will step it up."

Consistency is a key for this line to protect in both the running and passing game. With Tony Tella, Derrick Morse, and Tyler McMeans not practicing Saturday there were a number of new players stepping in. According to Butler, it is "not an excuse".

"I am ready to play ball," Butler said. "I am ready to come out here and get better every day. I am just concentrating on getting ready for Florida State."

Butler is a 6-foot-5, 285-pound senior from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. where he played at Dwyer High School. This is his fifth season as a Hurricane and it has hit him that this is his final season in Coral Gables.

"It hit me in the off-season," Butler said. "Now I'm trying not to think about it and I'm just trying to take it one practice at a time. Last year we got a little bit ahead of ourselves, but this year we will be all right."

There are 17 seniors on the team this year including 11 that were a part of the 2001 signing class. With a number of seniors and juniors that have played a lot, there is a lot of leadership going around.

"It has been a big difference this year," said Butler, who prefers to lead by example.

Miami signed four offensive linemen this year and two of them, A.J. Trump and Reggie Youngblood could play this season.

"They are learning pretty fast," Butler said. "They also give good effort, which is the main thing when you are young."

Tyrone Moss, Derron Thomas, and Charlie Jones are expected to handle the carries this year at running back. Last season Miami rushed for just 1,572 yards after rushing for over 2,300 yards in each of the previous three seasons. The biggest key for the offense this season is the running game.

"I think the running game is a lot better this year, so far," Butler said. "We have a great group of backs."

Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman both have been making plays for the offense at the quarterback position in the fall. One of the strongest attributes they have is their mobility, which is an adjustment for the offensive line.

"It is good and bad," Butler said. "It is good when they can just make something happen quickly, but it can be bad when you are on a block for a long time and they scramble into your block. All you have to do is try to worry about blocking your man."

For the offensive line going up against a defenesive line every day in practice only makes them better.

"I think our defensive line is one of the best in the nation," Butler said. "When the games come I think it will be an easy adjustment for us."

Butler and his teammates resume practice today at 6:00 p.m.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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