2009 Miami RedHawks Football Preview
2008 Record: (2-10, 1-7)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Michael Haywood (First year at Miami, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Peter Vaas
Defensive Coordinator: Carl Reese
Other Key Returnees: DT Martin Channels, G Bob Gulley, LB Ryan Kennedy, OT Zachary Marshall, CB Brandon Stephens, CB Jeff Thompson, CB Cornelius Ward
Key Losses: DE Joe Coniglio, TE Tom Crabtree, DE Travis Craven, G Dave DiFranco, LB Joey Hudson, LB Clayton Mullins, K Nate Parseghian, P Jake Richardson, LB Chris Shula, OT Steve Sutter, S Robbie Wilson
Miami knew they would have some rebuilding to do after winning the MAC East in 2007, but nobody expected that the RedHawks would be this bad. They only managed to win two games all year long and the result was the dismissal of Coach Shane Montgomery. New coach Michael Haywood spent the last four years leading Notre Dame’s offense and, if you remember back four years ago, the unit was pretty good.
Under Coach Haywood’s guidance, the offense is full of potential. Running back Thomas Merriweather did not put up big numbers during his sophomore campaign, and the team as a whole ranked 12 th in the conference in rushing yards, but Merriweather could be in for a huge season. With Andre Bratton backing him up, there is no excuse for the ground game to be that bad again. Quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh is also back. He threw more interceptions than touchdowns last season, but he is an experienced senior. Chris Givens, Dustin Woods and Eugene Harris will give Raudabaugh plenty of targets to work with. The offense might not garner 400 yards per game, but they should certainly be more efficient and more dynamic than they were in 2008.
If the RedHawks had a strength last year, it was the defense. However, Joey Hudson, Clayton Mullins, Robbie Wilson and Chris Shula, the team’s top four tacklers in 2008, are all gone. That practically leaves the linebacker corps empty and Caleb Bostic better turn into a senior leader or the defense will be in big trouble. The secondary is in better shape than the linebackers with the return of safety Ben Bennett and a host of serviceable cornerbacks, but the difference between a decent year and another horrible year will be the play of the front four. This was not a team that got into the backfield very often and that has to change if the defense is going to improve by leaps and bounds. Ends Joe Coniglio and Travis Craven are gone and that means younger players like Morris Council have to find a way to get into the backfield and they need some help from tackle Martin Channels.
The Bottom Line for the RedHawks:
This is a relatively experienced team, but they failed to prove their worth last year. Is there any reason to believe that they can do much better this time around? Making matters even worse is the fact that kicker Nate Parseghian is gone and so is punter Jake Richardson. Those two were both honored by the conference for their outstanding senior seasons and while it may not sound like a big deal, Miami will miss their kicker and punter.
By Joel Welser
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