Saturday, July 1, 2017

Bilo's 2017 college Football Previews: Miami (Oh) RedHawks

Miami (Ohio) RedHawks
The RedHawks finally turned a major corner last fall after an 0-6 start, as they won their final six regular season game and got to a bowl game where they took Mississippi State to the brink. There is no reason to believe that Miami will not turn yet another corner, and they have enough returning talent to maybe push Ohio for the MAC West title. The only thing left to do is to prove that they can.
What To Be Excited About: Offense
The QB position should be in decent shape this fall with the return of Gus Ragland , who will be a junior this fall. Ragland returned against Kent State from a major knee injury, and his return helped to turn the tide, and the team took off under him. He passed for 1537 yards in seven games, and tossed 17 TD passes to just one INT, and completed 64.2% of his passes. He averaged 219 yards passing per game during the run that turned the season around. Billy Bahl, who started five games last fall, returns, as does Jordan Martin, who was in competition for the starting job last fall before an injury ended his year early.
The line should be a major strength this fall, as four starters return. Jordan Rigg (LT), Jordan diamond (LG), Danny Godleveke (C), and Sam McCollum (RG) all return. Sophomore Jarrett LaRubbio will get first shot at the open RT job in fall camp.
James Gardner and Jared Murphy both return at WR, which should give Ragland plenty of opportunities to complete passes this season. Gardner caught 45 passes last year, and Murohy caught another 43. They combined for 1302 yards and 11 scores. Senior Sam Martin has the first shot at taking the open third receiver spot, but caught just seven passes last fall.
Nick Dowd is back at PK after hitting 10/13 FGs last fall.
What To Be Concerned About: Offense
If there is one area where Miami is lacking, it is in the run game. Alonzo Smith is back as the returning starter, but rushed for just 54.54 yards per game on just over 12 carries on average. Kenny Young averaged just 10 carries per game last season, so one of the two will need to step up and give the RedHawks a reliable run game in order for them to move up to the next level.
What To Be Excited About: Defense
DT will be a strength for Miami, who finished 37th nationall against the run last fall. Ikeem Harris and Nate Trawick both return to the middle of the line, and should do a great deal when it comes to controlling the line of scrimmage.
Junior McMullen and De'Andre Montgomery both return at LB as well. They combined for 11 TFLs last fall. McMullen finished with 90 tackles last fall (second on the team), while Montgomery finished with 65 tackles.
The entire secondary returns intact this fall, which is a huge bonus. Heath Harding and Deandre Daniels both return at CB, while Tony Reid and Joshua Allen are both back at Safety. Harding finished with 11 PBUs to lead the team last fall, and tied with Montgomery for the team lead in INTs with four. Daniels finished with six PBUs last season. Reid led the team in tackles with 98, and also finished with four PBUs. Allen finished with 39 tackles.
Kyle Kramer did a solid job as Punter last fall, as he averaged 41.07 yards per punt.
What To Be Concerned About: Defense
There are few concerns on defense, but the team does need to replace both starters at DE. Quinn Calcagno will likely start at one spot, but a freshman will likely start at the other spot in Ben Kimpler.They will have to step up big for the RedHawks to continue on their upward trends against both the pass and the run.
2017 Schedule: 9/2 at Marshall, 9/9 Austin Peay, 9/16 Cincinnati, 9/23 at Central Michigan, 9/30 at Notre Dame, 10/7 Bowling Green, 10/14 at Kent State, 10/21 Buffalo, 10/31 at Ohio, 11/7 Akron, 11/15 Eastern Michigan, 11/21 at Ball State
Final Overview
It looks a great deal like the dark days of Miami football have passed on by now that the team turned the corner last fall. They simply cannot afford to lose their way and backtrack, but there is no way I believe this will happen. The talent has finally taken a big leap forward, and this is a team moving up. Tough dates in the schedule make me think that Miami will be behind Ohio in the West for just one more season, as they have to travel to play the Bobcats, and Central Michigan, and there a few trap games on the slate as well. That said, if there is one team in the league that can pull off a stunner, it could be this one.

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