Everything College Football from Scott Bilo, National Football Foundation and Football Writers Association Member. CFB Hall of Fame voter. Contributor on ESPN Las Vegas, ESPN Jackson, MS, and VSiN on Sirius. Keith Harding Lead Statistician Co-Editor, Dina Bilo Social Networking Director, Co-Editor. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Mike Haywood brought the Redhawks all the way back from the brink of oblivion in 2010, and it culminated with a divisional title and a conference title before he bailed for Pittsburgh. Haywood was eventually fired before ever coaching a game for the Panthers because of off field issues, and so Miami start again. They have plenty to build off of for next fall, and it all starts with young Zac Dysert at QB.
Dysert had a very solid 2010 season as a sophomore, as he passed for 2406 yards and 13 TDs. What he has to be careful of is his INT ratio that was only at 13/12 for the season, almost an even ratio of TDs to picks. That should come with experience.Dysert did pass for an average of 218.7 yards per game, and Miami rode that number to a great deal of success.
Thomas Merriweather have the Redhawks a solid primary back to rely on, which is something that they have not had for awhile. Merriweather rushed for 921 yards and 12 TDs on the season, but he graduated, and the work load will now shift to Tracy Woods, who was just a freshman last fall. Woods put together a line of 94-376-1, and he may get pushed by some youngsters, but overall, experience will be very thin at RB for Miami next fall.
Armand Robinson was huge last season for Miami, as he posted a line of 94-1062-6. Robinson has moved on as well, but freshman Nick Harwell proved that he is more than capable of being a top receiver in the MAC, as he busted out with 64-871-6. Chris Givens (26-385-1), Andrew Cruse (25-342-2), and DeMarco Paine (32-270-0) all contributed last fall, and all return for 2011.
Miami had some quality moments on defense last fall, having only given up 121.4 yards rushing per game. Jerrell Wedge led the team with 15 TFLs, while Jason Semmes and Austin Brown also hit double figures with 10.5 and 10. Semmes led the team with 6 sacks, but the Hawks must do a better job of applying pressure in the passing game, as Miami gave up an average of 214.4 yards per game through the air.
The Hawks had some serious playmaking going on in the secondary, as they had two players hit doube digits in passes defended. DJ Brown led the team with 13 as a sophomore, and he becomes the leader in the secondary as Brandon Stephens, who had 11, graduated. Evan Harris picked off 6 passes on the season, while Dayonne Nunleypicked off 5. They were both freshmen last fall.
Miami returns their top 8 tacklers from last season, led by Wedge, who collected 101, Harris, with 94, and Pat Hinkel, who collected 72 tackles on the season.
Trevor Cook and Seth Phillip both kicked last season, and neither was spectacular. Both have moved on leaving Mason Krysinski, who missed his only attempt as a freshman, to take the job. Zach Murphy should be back starting as the punter, but he only averaged 39.07 yards per punt last fall as a freshman, so he has some growing to do.
Miami closed by winning 6 straight football games after starting slow with ugly losses to Florida and Missouri. They are on a hot streak, but it will be interesting to see how the team responds with the departure of Haywood, and the arrival of well thought of Don Treadwell from Michigan State. Treadwell will still keep on emphasis on a high tempo offense with a stout defense, and the Hawks are built for success there. As long as Dysert improves on his turnovers, and Miami finds a competent RB, more success could be right ahead.