2014 Miami U. Preview: What You Need To Know
Miami WR Dawan Scott
Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Miami University (Getty Images)
Miami Univ. Preview
What You Need To Know...
Miami University Preview
2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer
What You Need To Know About The Offense: There was supposed to be hope coming into last year with a good starting 11 and several promising young players. Instead, the RedHawks failed to score more than 17 in any game, went six games scoring fewer than ten points, and finishing second-to-last in the nation in total offense, scoring and passing efficiency. New offensive coordinators George Barnett and Eric Koehler will put in an up-tempo attack designed to speed up the play and get into a rhythm. There's experience back with eight starters returning, but the big key needs to be former Notre Dame quarterback Andrew Hendrix. There's talent at receiver, and four starters are back on the line, but there's a long way to go to be merely decent.
What You Need To Know About The Defense: New defensive coordinator Matt Pawlowski has to figure out a pass rush. The secondary has some decent young options and talents in corner Heath Harding and safety Randy Anderson, and the linebackers should be the team's biggest strength early on, but the back seven needs help from the line that gets back top pass rusher Bryson Albright. He needs the focus taken off of him with the tackles needing to hold up against someone's running game. The combination of Kent Kern and Josh Dooley at linebacker should put up big stats behind the leaky line.
Players You Need To Know
1. QB Andrew Hendrix, Sr.
The 6-2, 224-pound baller was part of a big class of great prospects at Notre Dame in 2010, but he wasn't able to move up the depth chart to become the main man. He got a few chances, shining against Stanford in 2010 throwing for 192 yards and a touchdown with a pick, and rushing for 20 yards and a score trying to save the game, but it wasn't enough in the loss. He's an all-around playmaker who all but secured the MU starting spot this offseason after transferring over by completing 16-of-23 passes for 243 yards and a score in the spring game. Perfect for the fast, fast, fast new offense the staff is putting in, he should be one of the team's leading rushers as well as a smart option who can push the passing attack.
2. LB Kent Kern, Jr.
While he's not big at 6-1 and 229 pounds, he's a smart, tough hitter who led the team with 98 stops and five tackles for loss despite missing a game hurt. A part of the mix since his true freshman season, he's strong and versatile, able to play on the strongisde or the middle with good range and decent ability in pass coverage. The Second Team All-MAC performer came up with double-digit stops in four games and should be the team's leading tackler if all goes according to form.
3. S Brison Burris, Sr.
The veteran starter over the last two seasons came up with 75 tackles and a pick at his safety spot, able to play just about anywhere in the secondary. He didn't come up with the season like he did in 2012 when he made 81 stops with three picks, but he did what he could for a bad year for the defense. Bulked up a bit to get to 190 pounds on his 5-11 frame, he should be more physical than he was a few years ago.
4. LB Josh Dooley, Jr.
A good all-around option with the quickness to become a pass rusher and the experience to hold down the weakside, the 6-0, 227-pound veteran finished third on the team with 87 tackles with 25 in the final two games against Buffalo and Ball State. He didn't get into the backfield enough with only two tackles for loss, but he has the upside to do more if he's turned loose on the outside.
5. DE Bryson Albright, Jr.
While the team doesn't have a sure-thing superstar pass rusher, Albright is the best returning option after coming up with 55 tackles with five sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. The 6-5, 224-pounder is a bit rangy, but he has a nice burst, ripping up Bowling Green for three sacks and improving as the season went on. The rest of the line has to produce to give him room to run – he'll be erased when keyed on.
6. CB Heath Harding, Soph.
The team needed help in the secondary right away, and while Harding took his lumps as a true freshman, he still led the team with three picks to go along with 56 stops and two forced fumbles. He's not huge at 5-10 and 178 pounds, but he's extremely quick, athletic, and he isn't afraid to make the big stop when needed. He might be built to shine as a free safety, but he's too athletic and has too much potential to not stay at corner.
7. WR Dawan Scott, Sr.
What would happen if he had a great quarterback throwing his way? The 6-1, 198-pounder finished second on the team in rushing getting the ball in a variety of ways, averaging 6.24 yards per try with 231 yards. His day job is as the team's best receiver, making 28 catches for 425 yards and two scores. He didn't get the ball his way enough with a season-high five grabs against Ohio, but he's good enough and athletic enough to do more as a home-run hitter.
8. PK Kaleb Patterson, Jr.
For a team that struggles to put up points, Patterson is a key part and one of the team's most consistent performers. With a good leg, he came up with a huge first season hitting 15-of-18 field goals including five of six from beyond 40 yards. Last season he connected on 7-of-11 field goals including a 52-yarder against Akron, and while he missed a 39-yarder, his other three misses weren't bad from 41, 46 and 56 yards away.
9. WR David Frazier, Sr.
The 6-0, 179-pound veteran caught 28 passes for 302 yards and two scores, tying for the team lead in catches, despite missing the first four games. Quick, he can be used as a kick and punt returner if needed, but this year he needs to breakout as a better option for the passing game. He'll be a threat to come up with 40 catches is Andrew Hendrix is as good as advertised.
10. OT Jeff Tanner, Sr.
The line might have been a nightmare last year, and it was even worse two years ago, but there's potential to better in a hurry with four starters back led by Tanner, a 6-4, 296-pound versatile option who might be better at guard but will likely get the call again at left tackle. He has the strength and a great frame, but he has to be better in pass protection.
2014 Miami University Preview