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Kolby Borders is the ‘center’ of Miami football’s success

<p>Kolby Borders (number 64) has been a galvanizing force for Miami&#x27;s offensive line this season.</p>

Kolby Borders (number 64) has been a galvanizing force for Miami's offensive line this season.

Despite a heartbreaking loss to the University of Toledo last week, Miami University football is still off to its best start since 2003 with a 6-2 record so far this year. Part of that success has been Miami’s offensive line, allowing just 2.1 sacks per game so far compared to 2.9 sacks per game last season.

Miami’s “Big Uglies,” otherwise known as the offensive line or “O-line” have really come together to be particularly effective this season. With 12 of the 18 linemen on Miami’s roster listed at 6-foot-6 or taller, size alone has helped the O-line accomplish so much together this season. However, the secret to the RedHawks’ success stems from so much more than that.

When it comes to success on the field, many will point to quarterbacks, wide receivers or running backs, but the center of the offensive line tends to be underappreciated. This very valuable position is the foundation of a very solid offensive line. Miami’s center is Kolby Borders — a 6-foot-6, 315-pound junior from LaFayette, Indiana. 

Borders attributes Miami’s success this season in part to the connection shared among the team. He said bonding experiences like the Bahamas Bowl last winter have helped bring the team closer together.

“Like, obviously we didn't win the game but we had to spend a lot more personal time with people we probably want to get to spend with normally,” Borders said. “Like the receivers and stuff. They're just laying by the pool. We're laying by the pool. You just get to talk together, you know, stuff like that.”

For three years, Borders has been a stronghold for the RedHawks, supporting the team and encouraging a lot of that bonding.

Miami football hasn’t had a record like this in two decades. Borders said that winning is one thing that usually keeps everyone on the same page. 

He went on to talk about how the chemistry on the team, especially the offensive line, has never been better. In fact, they are all basically best friends. 

“And so we all hang out — I mean all the time, we’re always together,” Borders said. “Every game, after every game, we all hang out together.”  

From post-game dinners and weekly trips to Wendy’s, to spending summers together training and traveling as a team, the offensive linemen have all grown very close. That’s part of what makes this team so special. A couple of days after starting junior quarterback Brett Gabbert went down for the year with a leg injury, most of the offensive linemen went together to visit him at the hospital.

That closeness translates to success on the field and the desire to keep getting better. 

Offensive line coach James Patton has instilled a strong mindset in his unit. That’s another part of what’s helped the Miami offense to such success this season.

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“Every week you're trying to get better, no matter what your record is,” Patton said, “It’s just a matter of having the mindset to get better every week.”

As the center, Borders serves as the bridge between sides of the offensive line, its de facto captain. He’s one of the team’s leaders and best-liked players, and he tries to connect people that way too.

“I just help us bond a little more and be closer than some other groups out here,” Borders said. “… We understand what each other is going to do. We come out here to practice and we all know what we're here to do. And we’re just trying to each be one-eleventh of our offense every single day.” 

Patton noted the traits that Borders has that makes him such a great center and even just a great leader overall.

“He thinks fast, he’s got smarts, can make calls to get things quickly when the defense changes, and then the athleticism and footwork,” Patton said. “He snaps the ball every play, you know, he is trusted to get the guys blocking schemes, make the calls, get everyone moving to the right area.”

Miami football plays next at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, on Saturday, Oct. 28. The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m.