Romberg leads inexperienced UM O-line

Center Brett Romberg has always brought a lot of confidence to the football field. Whether Miami is challenging for a national title, or recovering from an embarrassing loss, expect the senior lineman from Windsor, Ontario to be the first to hold his head up high.

For Romberg, this year is no different. Although the Hurricanes enter the tomorrow’s season opener against Florida A&M ranked No. 1 in both polls, many questions remain unanswered about the offensive line, particularly about the three new full-time starters. Romberg shrugs off those questions, instead offering a more hopeful explanation.

“I’m confident in our ability,” Romberg said. “We’ve never worked this hard before and guys are doing whatever it takes to win games.”

Brett Romberg has come a long way from his days playing football in Canada. After scouts ranked him as high as No. 2 among Canadian Junior Football players, Romberg arrived at Miami in 1998 and was used sparingly as a true freshman, primarily at left guard.

After redshirting the following year, Romberg came back with a vengeance in 2000 and 2001, making most of the calls as the ‘Canes starting center. Romberg received two consecutive All Big-East selections, as well as being named a finalist for the Dave Rimington Trophy in 2001.

This season, Romberg has been named a pre-season candidate for the Rimington Trophy. Despite all the accolades, the senior puts his focus on what is important.

“I take it [the award] as an honor, especially growing up thinking that the center was the fat guy position,” Romberg said. “But I’m just trying to win football games with my unit.”

As with many offensive linemen before him, Romberg developed a bond with his position coach, Art Kehoe. The 45-year old Kehoe enters his 24th year with the Miami football program, coaching players like Leon Searcy, K.C. Jones, and Bryant McKinnie during that time span. According to Romberg, Kehoe’s personality has benefited himself and the rest of the team.

“He [Art] developed a friendship with me, instead of a player-coach type dictatorship,” Romberg said. “He wants you to be able to talk to him on a personal level, not just a football coach level.”

Graduating in December 2001 with a business degree, Romberg is now enrolled in graduate school, where he attempts to receive his MBA. Away from the classroom, Romberg spends countless hours playing video games, or in other words, getting embarrassed by his roommate, quarterback Ken Dorsey. One would think rooming with another key player might cause a lot of unneeded strain away from the field, but Romberg says just the opposite.

“The thing that keeps us sane is that we don’t bring football back to the house,” Romberg said. “Once we get back to the house, there is always talk about video games, or stuff going on in our lives.”

“That helps both of us shut out what needs to be shut out.”

Back on the field, the loss of three starting offensive linemen from the 2001 national championship team means that coaches and players count on Romberg to keep the offensive line in shape. Of course, Romberg does not have any problem with that; instead he thrives on being a leader.

“I want to do a little extra this year, whether it’s in the film room, on the field, or off it,” Romberg said. “I just want to be the leader of the team, and me, Kenny, and Jerome McDougle all share the same thought process.”