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The big 2014 Miami (Ohio) football preview: RedHawks looking for a little hope

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Cradle of Coaches hasn't had much hiring success of late. Former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin will look to turn around this once-successful program, but it might take him a little while.

SB Nation 2014 College Football Countdown

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1. The M stands for "malaise"

You know the story by now. Between 1949 and 1968, Miami (Ohio) was coached by Woody Hayes, Ara Parseghian, John Pont, Bo Schembechler, Bill Mallory, and Dick Crum. Perhaps the MAC's most historically successful program, both in terms of wins and in hiring good coaches, Miami went 32-1-1 from 1973-75 and finished in the AP top 15 three times.

After a downturn in 1988-89 (2-18-2), Miami hired Randy Walker, who restored the program's vitality (18-4 in 1997-98) and moved on to Northwestern. Terry Hoeppner followed him and coached Ben Roethlisberger and company to a 13-1 record and top-10 finish in 2003. He moved on to Indiana, and ... things got a little messy. The Cradle of Coaches stopped hiring future stars.

Shane Montgomery took over and, after a 7-4 first season, went 10-27 from 2006-08 and was canned. Michael Haywood took over and went 1-11 in his first season; he engineered an incredibly unlikely turnaround in 2010, in which Miami went 10-4 and won the MAC in a title game upset. He left for Pittsburgh, and Michigan State assistant Don Treadwell took over.

On paper, the Treadwell hire looked just fine. He was a successful, longtime assistant, and the Cradle seemed like a pretty good place for the 51-year-old to take on his first head-coaching job. Miami has gone 8-28 in the last three years.

So has Miami forgotten how to make good hires, or is the support system in place failing the coaches the school hires? Arkansas State has had four coaches in four years but just won a share of its third-straight Sun Belt title. NIU pulled off a similar trick. It's a chicken-or-egg situation, but regardless, Miami has been to one bowl game in nine years and has finished 2-10 or worse four times in that span. The Redhawks had the worst offense in the country in 2013 -- worse than UMass, worse than FIU, worse than South Florida. It might take a while to figure out how to get this team pointed in the right direction again.

2. Notre Dame lite

Now it's Chuck Martin's turn to try to add positive things to the Cradle's legacy. Like Treadwell, Martin was recently the offensive coordinator at a local school (Notre Dame), but Martin's résumé is actually one of the most interesting you'll find.

He was a defensive coach for most of the early part of his career. He was Brian Kelly's defensive coordinator at Grand Valley State a decade ago, then took the GVSU head coaching job when Kelly left for Central Michigan. He experienced extraordinary success at the D2 powerhouse -- 74-7 in six years, with two national titles (2005-06) -- and then left to become Kelly's defensive backs coach at Notre Dame. His first offensive coaching job didn't come until 2012, when Kelly moved him to OC.

Rarely do you see a coach so dramatically shift from one side of the ball to another, but it worked just fine. Notre Dame's offense ranked 37th and 22nd in Off. F/+ in Kelly's first two years in South Bend, then ranked ninth and 24th with Martin pulling strings.

Miami is hoping that Martin's unique experience -- top defensive assistant, successful head coach, top offensive assistant -- is a winning combination. All we know for sure at the moment is that Martin is bringing a little bit of Notre Dame with him in the form of three transfers and four assistants with Irish ties (running backs coach Autry Denson, receivers coach Bill Brechin, tight ends coach Pat Welsh, and defensive line coach Corey Brown). Can't hurt, right?

2013 Schedule & Results

Record: 0-12 | Adj. Record: 0-12 | Final F/+ Rk: 123
Date Opponent Opp. F/+ Rk Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L 5-gm Adj. Avg.
31-Aug Marshall 52 14-52 L 13.8 - 29.9 L
7-Sep Kentucky 97 7-41 L (-1.7) - 57.9 L
21-Sep Cincinnati 64 0-14 L 0.1 - 18.1 L
28-Sep Illinois 71 14-50 L 18.5 - 45.7 L
5-Oct Central Michigan 111 9-21 L 17.3 - 27.8 L -26.3
12-Oct Massachusetts 118 10-17 L 13.0 - 37.3 L -28.0
19-Oct Akron 108 17-24 L 20.8 - 40.1 L -19.9
26-Oct Ohio 104 16-41 L 10.4 - 43.6 L -22.9
5-Nov Bowling Green 47 3-45 L 20.8 - 32.0 L -19.7
13-Nov Kent State 106 6-24 L 14.1 - 38.2 L -22.4
19-Nov Buffalo 80 7-44 L 12.2 - 35.7 L -22.2
29-Nov Ball State 57 14-55 L 16.9 - 44.6 L -23.9
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk Spec. Tms. Rk
F/+ -25.9% 125 -11.6% 108 +1.1% 44
Points Per Game 9.8 124 35.7 107
Adj. Points Per Game 13.0 124 37.6 118

3. Hopeless

Technically, Miami's defense did improve after the first three games of the season, but that's only because it almost literally couldn't have gotten worse. Miami was held under 14 points (which is almost exactly half of the national scoring average) in seven of 12 games and gained more than 300 yards just once (the RedHawks gained all of 303 against Akron). They never averaged better than 4.5 yards per play, and on seven occasions were held under 3.8.

This was a historically bad offense in just about every way. The running game was the third-worst in the country, the passing game was the very worst, and while Miami was awful at creating scoring opportunities, the RedHawks were also almost the worst in the country at converting said opportunities into points. There were almost no redeeming qualities here, and punter Zac Murphy was easily the offense's MVP.

The offense was so bad that it made a defense that ranked 108th in the country look like strong unit.

Offense

FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE
Raw Category Rk Opp. Adj. Category Rk
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 0.85 125 IsoPPP+ 74.4 125
EFFICIENCY Succ. Rt. 33.3% 123 Succ. Rt. + 73.7 124
FIELD POSITION Def. Avg. FP 33.6 118 Def. FP+ 95.4 103
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 3.1 121 Redzone S&P+ 63.7 124
TURNOVERS EXPECTED 24.4 ACTUAL 21 -3.4
Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 124 126 125 126
RUSHING 116 124 116 123
PASSING 121 126 126 122
Standard Downs 126 122 126
Passing Downs 126 126 103
Q1 Rk 122 1st Down Rk 119
Q2 Rk 124 2nd Down Rk 126
Q3 Rk 125 3rd Down Rk 125
Q4 Rk 126

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2014 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards Comp
Rate
TD INT Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Austin Boucher 89 184 1036 7 8 48.4% 25 12.0% 4.1
Austin Gearing 6'5, 220 So. 2 stars (5.2) 24 54 188 0 3 44.4% 16 22.9% 1.2
Drew Kummer 6'3, 198 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 18 48 267 1 0 37.5% 6 11.1% 4.0
Tom Tupa 6'4, 215 RSFr. 3 stars (5.5)








Andrew Hendrix
(Notre Dame)
6'2, 226 Sr. 4 stars (5.8) 2 14 56 14.3% 0 0 0 0.0% 4.0

4. 1.2

Austin Boucher's career began when, as a freshman, he had to fill in for the injured starter and threw for 333 yards in the 2010 MAC title game. It ended with him in the role of injured senior starter. He finally won the full-time job in 2013, but with a shaky line and no go-to skill position players, he struggled. Roethlisberger would have probably struggled to do much in this offense. But when he was lost to injury in late-October, things almost got even worse.

Freshman Austin Gearing took over, and while he showed decent potential as a runner, he completed just 44 percent of his passes. Worse yet, those passes averaged only 7.8 yards per completion. Even worse, he was sacked almost one-quarter of the time. Factoring in sack yards, Gearing averaged an incredible (for all the wrong reasons) 1.2 yards per pass attempt.

Let's put that another way: on average, it would have taken Gearing 8.3 pass attempts to gain first-down yardage.

Against Buffalo, Gearing was five-for-19 for 65 yards and a pick and was sacked seven times for a loss of 39 yards. That's an average of 1.0 yards per attempt ... and that's only barely worse than his season average. And another backup, Drew Kummer, was barely better.

Needless to say, Gearing has some work to do if he wants to start for Miami in 2014. Never mind that Kummer also returns, or that redshirt freshman Tom Tupa was relatively well-touted in high school. These three also have to deal with the transfer of Notre Dame backup Andrew Hendrix.

Granted, Hendrix was basically the Notre Dame version of Gearing -- interesting runner, entirely unsuccessful passer -- in 2013. He shouldn't be considered a guaranteed starter anywhere either. But he's athletic, he's familiar with Chuck Martin's system, and at the very least, he's another option. When you don't have an obvious starter, you at least want as many choices as possible.

Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards TD Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
Opp.
Rate
Austin Gearing QB 6'5, 220 So. 2 stars (5.2) 129 583 1 4.5 3.6 36.4%
Austin Boucher QB 82 245 0 3.0 2.5 32.9%
Spencer Treadwell RB 5'10, 205 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 56 171 1 3.1 1.9 26.8%
Dawan Scott WR 6'1, 191 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 37 231 0 6.2 4.3 59.5%
Grant Niemiec RB 6'0, 214 So. 2 stars (5.2) 35 114 1 3.3 2.9 17.1%
Drew Kummer QB 6'3, 198 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 23 90 2 3.9 4.7 30.4%
Spencer McInnis RB 5'9, 189 So. 2 stars (5.2) 13 29 0 2.2 1.3 15.4%
Rokeem Williams WR 6'1, 204 So. 2 stars (5.4) 9 77 0 8.6 11.9 44.4%
Jamire Westbrook RB


7 17 0 2.4 2.4 14.3%
Paul Moses RB 5'11, 200 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)




Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Target
Rate
%SD Yds/
Target
NEY Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Dawan Scott WR 6'1, 191 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 52 28 425 53.8% 20.8% 53.3% 8.2 52 7.0 44.4
David Frazier WR 6'0, 175 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 50 28 302 56.0% 20.0% 42.9% 6.0 -63 6.3 31.6
Alvonta Jenkins WR 6'0, 204 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 26 12 141 46.2% 10.4% 38.9% 5.4 -33 4.2 14.7
Steve Marck TE 22 12 133 54.5% 8.8% 50.0% 6.0 -26 5.8 13.9
Rokeem Williams WR 6'1, 204 So. 2 stars (5.4) 20 7 104 35.0% 8.0% 54.5% 5.2 -17 9.0 10.9
Jared Murphy WR 5'10, 170 So. 2 stars (5.4) 16 6 62 37.5% 6.4% 66.7% 3.9 -37 3.7 6.5
Dustin White TE 14 9 84 64.3% 5.6% 54.5% 6.0 -25 6.3 8.8
Fred McRae WR 5'9, 179 So. 2 stars (5.4) 12 6 75 50.0% 4.8% 62.5% 6.3 -8 3.5 7.8
Spencer Treadwell RB 5'10, 205 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 10 8 38 80.0% 4.0% 57.1% 3.8 -49 4.6 4.0
Airion Kosak WR 5'11, 182 So. 2 stars (5.2) 8 3 31 37.5% 3.2% 50.0% 3.9 -18 4.1 3.2
Austin Green WR 6'0, 195 Sr. NR 6 1 17 16.7% 2.4% N/A 2.8 -13 0.0 1.8
Spencer McInnis RB 5'9, 189 So. 2 stars (5.2) 5 4 28 80.0% 2.0% 50.0% 5.6 -16 4.8 2.9
Sam Shisso WR 6'5, 200 So. 2 stars (5.2) 3 1 2 33.3% 1.2% 100.0% 0.7 -16 1.1 0.2
Kelvin Cook WR 5'11, 170 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)









Zach Hovey TE 6'5, 230 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)









Jordan Rigg TE 6'5, 230 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)









Sam Martin WR 6'3, 180 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)









Alex Welch
(Notre Dame)
TE 6'4, 251 Sr. 4 stars (5.8)









5. Dawan Scott is a keeper

In my UMass preview, I mentioned the degree of difficulty receiver Tajae Sharpe faced in averaging even a mediocre 6.7 yards per target for a passing offense devoid of other weapons. But at least UMass ranked 110th in Passing S&P+. Miami ranked 126th, but Dawan Scott was even better, on average, than Sharpe. Scott only saw four or five targets per game, but he averaged 15.2 yards per catch with a 54 percent catch rate that was, sadly, one of the highest on the team. If the quarterback situation is even marginally stable, Scott could see 75 to 100 targets and 600 to 900 yards this year.

Of course, Scott isn't a running back. Miami will need one of those, too, and between Spencer Treadwell, Grant Niemiec, and Spencer McInnis, the RedHawks don't return one who proved much of anything in 2013. Miami can only hope for a rising-tide situation, where better coaching, better experience, and a little bit more talent improves everybody's averages.

Newcomers could play a major role at the skill positions. Scott is the only proven entity, and receiver David Frazier isn't awful, but plenty of opportunities will be made available. Freshmen like running back Paul Moses and receivers Kelvin Cook and Sam Martin will have every chance in the world to get touches from Day 1, and another Notre Dame transfer, reserve tight end Alex Welch, will have one last chance to make good on his four-star recruiting status.

Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 82.6 2.63 2.99 33.2% 58.3% 20.6% 37.3 10.8% 20.0%
Rank 119 107 91 118 107 80 126 123 126
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Career Starts Honors/Notes
Zach Lewis RT 6'6, 281 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 28
Marcus Matthews C 6'3, 307 Sr. 2 stars (5.3) 21
Trevan Brown LG 6'4, 287 Jr. 2 stars (5.3) 19
John Anevski C 16
Jeff Tanner LT 6'3, 293 Sr. 2 stars (5.4) 11
Wesley Scott RG 6'3, 264 Jr. 3 stars (5.5) 11
Brandyn Cook RG 6'2, 305 Jr. 3 stars (5.6) 7
Terry Davis LT 6'4, 318 So. 2 stars (5.4) 1
Julian Green RG 6'4, 303 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 1
Ryan Callen LG 6'5, 260 So. 3 stars (5.5) 0
Collin Buchanan RT 6'5, 313 So. 2 stars (5.4) 0
Randy Heideman OL 6'6, 305 RSFr. 3 stars (5.5)

6. An awful line is experienced

Miami quarterbacks were sacked once for every 10 pass attempts on standard downs and once for every five on passing downs. Gearing's inability to get the ball out of his hands certainly played into that, and the running backs' own lack of explosiveness almost certainly played into Miami's poor run-blocking rankings. Still, this was a pretty bad line.

The silver lining is that constant shuffling can be blamed for at least part of the struggles. Miami used six different starting line combinations in the first nine games, and while injuries and tinkering can hurt you in the present tense, the result is a pretty good array of experience for a new coaching staff. In all, Miami returns eight linemen with starting experience and enters 2014 with 99 career starts, one of the higher totals in the land.

Experience only matters if talent is involved, but there's hope here. First, the run-blocking numbers were still slightly better than other offensive numbers; second, there are quite a few former three-star or high-two-star recruits in the mix. Maybe Hendrix (or whoever wins the quarterback job) will have a decent five in front of him.

Defense

FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE
Raw Category Rk Opp. Adj. Category Rk
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 1.06 27 IsoPPP+ 107.3 31
EFFICIENCY Succ. Rt. 53.6% 124 Succ. Rt. + 76.4 124
FIELD POSITION Off. Avg. FP 27.3 109 Off. FP+ 95.5 101
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 4.2 70 Redzone S&P+ 85.6 101
TURNOVERS EXPECTED 16.7 ACTUAL 19.0 +2.3
Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 115 116 125 115
RUSHING 113 124 126 125
PASSING 105 107 114 74
Standard Downs 121 126 54
Passing Downs 92 107 36
Q1 Rk 116 1st Down Rk 120
Q2 Rk 117 2nd Down Rk 88
Q3 Rk 114 3rd Down Rk 103
Q4 Rk 76

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 78.7 3.30 3.90 51.0% 65.4% 18.8% 62 2.0% 5.1%
Rank 126 104 115 125 55 69 116 120 101
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Bryson Albright DE 6'5, 226 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 12 39.5 5.3% 11.5 4.0 0 1 0 0
Wes Williams DE 11 30.0 4.0% 6.5 3.0 0 0 1 0
Austin Brown DT 10 25.0 3.4% 4.0 1.0 0 1 0 0
J'Terius Brown DE 6'3, 239 So. 2 stars (5.2) 9 18.5 2.5% 6.0 3.0 0 0 0 0
Mwanza Wamulumba DT 6'3, 281 Sr. 2 stars (5.4) 9 16.5 2.2% 0.5 0.0 0 0 0 0
Jimmy Rousher DT 6'3, 273 So. 2 stars (5.2) 9 14.5 1.9% 3.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Mitchell Winters DT 6'5, 271 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 6 8.5 1.1% 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Ben Krieger DL 6'3, 200 Jr. NR 2 2.0 0.3% 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Albert Phillips DE 6'2, 239 Jr. NR 2 1.5 0.2% 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Tim Johnson DE 6'2, 229 Jr. 3 stars (5.5)
Mack Duffin DE 6'4, 260 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)
Zach Swarts DT 6'5, 270 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)






7. Wanted: girth

As you see above, Miami was actually very good at minimizing the impact of big plays. The RedHawks flowed to the ball pretty well, and it seems the linebackers and defensive backs tackled well enough to limit damage.

The problem, of course, was that opponents were still allowed to gain six yards anytime they wanted to. Despite six RedHawks racking up at least four tackles for loss each, Miami still had some of the worst success rates in the country, and a majority of the damage was done up front. Miami ranked dead last in Adj. Line Yards and second-to-last in Opportunity Rate.

Returning ends Bryson Albright and J'Terius Brown combined for a rock-solid 17.5 tackles for loss but were the size of outside linebackers, averaging 233 pounds. The top three returning tackles, meanwhile, average 275. Size isn't everything, but there is still a minimum threshold, and Miami didn't meet it in 2013. And unless the RedHawks are doing some serious eating and weight work in the offseason, the problem isn't going to be rectified in 2014. Miami will have to hope that quickness plus extra experience is an equation for improvement.

Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Kent Kern MLB 6'1, 231 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 11 76.0 10.2% 5.0 0.0 0 1 0 0
Josh Dooley WILL 6'0, 212 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 12 63.5 8.5% 2.0 0.0 0 3 1 0
Chris Wade MIKE 12 60.0 8.0% 9.0 1.0 1 2 1 1
Tyler Tucker SAM 6'2, 218 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 12 36.0 4.8% 2.5 0.0 0 2 0 0
Nate Gerbus MIKE 6'1, 223 So. 2 stars (5.4) 11 24.0 3.2% 0.5 0.0 0 0 0 0
TJ Williams WILL 6'1, 210 So. 2 stars (5.4) 4 7.0 0.9% 0.5 0.0 1 0 1 0
Collin Boucher LB 4 4.5 0.6% 0.0 0.0 0 0 1 0
Tre Clifton LB 6'2, 222 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 4 3.0 0.4% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Joe Donlan LB 6'1, 227 Jr. NR 3 2.5 0.3% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Zach Smierciak LB 6'2, 219 RSFr. 3 stars (5.5)
Sam Connolly LB 6'2, 225 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)
Trey Knes LB 6'5, 225 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)






Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Dayonne Nunley CB 12 73.0 9.8% 2.5 0 1 13 0 0
Brison Burris S 5'10, 183 Sr. 2 stars (5.4) 11 55.0 7.4% 0.5 0 1 4 0 0
Jay Mastin S 6'1, 214 So. 2 stars (5.3) 8 49.5 6.6% 1 0 1 3 1 0
Heath Harding CB 5'10, 175 So. 2 stars (5.4) 11 47.0 6.3% 3 0 3 4 2 0
Marshall Taylor (2012) S 6'4, 185 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 11 33.0 4.6% 0 0 0 1 0 0
Chrishawn Dupuy CB 5'9, 175 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 11 23.0 3.1% 1 0 2 0 0 0
Randy Anderson S 6'2, 190 So. 2 stars (5.2) 4 18.0 2.4% 0 0 0 2 0 0
Jarrell Jones S 5'10, 184 Sr. 2 stars (5.3) 7 8.0 1.1% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Buchi Okafor CB 6'2, 185 So. 2 stars (5.4) 4 7.0 0.9% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Dante Taylor DB 5 4.5 0.6% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Orne Bey DB 5'8, 181 Sr. 3 stars (5.5) 2 1.5 0.2% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Bert Birdsall DB 6'0, 146 RSFr. 2 stars (5.4)
Xavier Swinton DB 6'1, 191 RSFr. 2 stars (5.3)
Lo Wood (Notre Dame) CB 5'11, 194 Sr. 3 stars (5.7) 11 8.0 1.1% 1 0 0 0 0 0

8. Building off of big-play prevention

If the line can improve its resistance at least a little bit, the back of the defense could still be strong in the explosiveness field. Four of the top five linebackers return, as do six of the top seven defensive backs. Marshall Taylor, who barely played in 2013, could play a role, as could some well-touted freshmen and redshirt freshmen. And a third Notre Dame transfer, cornerback Lo Wood, is eligible immediately.

These are all good things, and the overall level of experience (and Wood's presence) could offset the costly loss of a solid aggressive cornerback in Dayonne Nunley. Nunley was a mainstay and play-maker in Miami's secondary for years, earning defensive MVP honors in the GoDaddy.com Bowl as a freshman and trying his damnedest to make plays for a defense that needed them later in his career. He'll be missed, but he's almost the only player of consequence who's gone.

Front line holds up, back line thrives. That's the goal.

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Zac Murphy 79 46.6 7 18 25 54.4%
Drew Kummer 6'3, 198 Jr. 3 27.3 0 0 1 33.3%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB OOB TB%
Mason Krysinski 30 54.3 6 0 20.0%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2014
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Kaleb Patterson 5'9, 175 Jr. 12-12 2-3 66.7% 5-8 62.5%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Returns Avg. TD
J.J. Greenwood KR 5'10, 178 Sr. 15 18.3 0
Fred McRae KR 5'9, 179 So. 11 20.5 0
Fred McRae PR 5'9, 179 So. 12 9.2 0
David Frazier PR 6'0, 175 Sr. 2 12.0 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 44
Field Goal Efficiency 44
Punt Return Efficiency 17
Kick Return Efficiency 121
Punt Efficiency 36
Kickoff Efficiency 53
Opponents' Field Goal Efficiency 6

9. Just imagine where the RedHawks would have been without special teams

Miami went winless for just the second time in its FBS history last season, losing games by an average of almost 26 points and losing just twice by single digits. They did this despite a downright solid special teams unit that featured a great punter, a good place-kicker, a strong punt returner, and decent kickoff coverage. Miami was a top-50 team in the special teams department, which just seems like a total waste of time and effort.

Punter Zac Murphy is gone, which hurts, but Kaleb Patterson is still a decent kicker, and Fred McRae still has lots of potential as a return man. This might not be a top-50 unit again, but it won't be a weakness.

2014 Schedule & Projection Factors

2014 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
30-Aug Marshall 59
6-Sep Eastern Kentucky NR
13-Sep at Michigan 23
20-Sep at Cincinnati 54
TBD Kent State 102
TBD Massachusetts 123
TBD Ohio 108
TBD Western Michigan 113
TBD at Akron 118
TBD at Buffalo 107
TBD at Central Michigan 106
TBD at Northern Illinois 51
Five-Year F/+ Rk -20.4% (116)
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 116
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* -2 / -7.8
TO Luck/Game +2.4
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 15 (8, 7)

10. Just win a couple of games

The MAC isn't exactly loaded with great teams, so if you improve by 20 spots or so in the rankings, you pass a lot of traffic along the way. Miami fell so far, so fast, however, that I have to figure they're not ready to pass many teams just yet. New energy will help immensely, as will a little bit of new blood from down the road (okay, across a state) in South Bend.

And hey, if the new pieces stick quickly, then going undefeated at home in conference play isn't exactly out of reach. (Nor is stealing a road win.) But a year of minimal expectations probably isn't a bad thing. Just stabilize, get out of the 120s, win a couple of home games, and claim victory.

If Chuck Martin turns out to be a solid hire, and Miami gives him the support a good hire needs, then the RedHawks could quickly reassert themselves a bit in the MAC hierarchy. But aside from the random title run of 2010, there hasn't been much assertion of late. This might take a little while.

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