Nick Linder‘s shoulder injury will put senior Alex Gall in the starting lineup for the first time this season, a source told The Post on Monday.
When the Hurricanes visit Virginia on Saturday, Gall, a senior, will start at center. That will break Linder’s streak of 22 consecutive starts in the middle.
It’s unclear how long Linder may be out. The source indicated he could miss several weeks, but UM’s doctors were assessing the severity of the injury on Monday.
Linder, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas grad, started the first nine games at center this year, and was one of four Hurricanes to start all 13 games last year. He played last season despite a shoulder injury he needed surgery to fix after the season, and a midseason case of whiplash. He missed the spring recovering from surgery. As a true freshman in 2014, he started four games at left guard.
Gall, a 6-foot-5, 305-pound Cincinnati native, started seven games last year, all at left guard. Coach Mark Richt was pleased with how he played last week, after he entered the game at halftime.
“When you don’t notice any fumbled snaps or you don’t notice any sacks and you run the ball well,” Richt said, “you have to imagine that he played well.”
Miami rushed for 102 yards (5.7 yards per carry) in the second half of a 51-28 win, its best half of rushing since Sept. 17 at Appalachian State. It did help UM’s interior linemen that Pitt starting defensive tackles Tyrique Jarrett and Shakir Soto were hurt midway through the second quarter. Jarrett did not return.
Richt said Linder “was hurt all week in practice, or at least he was hurting” leading up to the Pitt game. “He was sucking it up. When you’re blocking a 350-pounder there down after down, I’d imagine it kind of started to wear on him a little bit. … By halftime, he was shot.”