Miami University Preview 2006
Posted Aug 7, 2006

After what could only be described as a tremendously disappointing season, now Miami has to rebuild and reload to keep pace in the improving MAC.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

The 2005 RedHawks were the MAC's most experienced, most talented team showing enough firepower to obliterate eventual league champion Akron 51-23, but they couldn't seem to get any respect. It wasn't like the team tanked winning seven of the final nine games, but a 42-14 home loss to Bowling Green ended any conference title hopes and soured any potential bowl suitors. Now the program has to hope it doesn't slip in the second year under head coach Shane Montgomery.

Miami hasn't just been a MAC power over the last few years, it's been the league's second most consistent program behind Toledo with the last losing season coming in 1993. But being consistent isn't enough for the RedHawks. They want to be winning MAC titles, and despite a ton of issues on both sides of the ball, there's no reason they can't be back in the championship game representing the East.

Head coach: Shane Montgomery
2nd year (7-4)
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 17, Def. 13, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 23
Ten Best RedHawk Players
1. WR/PR Ryne Robinson, Sr.
2. RB Brandon Murphy, Jr.
3. FS Joey Card, Sr.
4. OT Charlie Norden, Jr.
5. DE Craig Mester, Jr.
6. WR Josh Williams, Sr.
7. OT Dave DiFranco, Soph.
8. DT Otto Linwood, Jr.
9. CB Frank Wiwo, Sr.
10. LB Dontae Wright, Sr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

8/31 Northwestern
9/9 at Purdue
9/16 Kent State
9/23 at Syracuse
9/30 at Cincinnati
10/7 Northern Illinois
10/14 at Buffalo
10/21 at Akron
10/28 Ball State
11/4 at Western Michigan
11/15 at Bowling Green
11/24 Ohio

2005 Schedule
CFN Predicton:
2005 Record: 7-4

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 at Ohio State L 34-14
9/10 Central Michigan L 38-37
9/17 at Kent State W 27-10
9/28 Cincinnati W 44-16
10/5 at No Illinois L 38-27
10/15 Akron W 51-23
10/22 at Eastern Mich W 24-23
10/29 at Temple W 41-14
11/5 Buffalo W 54-13
11/15 Bowling Green L 42-14
11/21 at Ohio W 38-7

Only five starters return, but it's not like the cupboard is completely bare with good prospects returning to fill most of the holes with the biggest question at quarterback, where Mike Kokal, Jared Elliott and Daniel Raudabaugh will try to be next in line after Josh Betts and Ben Roethlisberger. Yes, the talent level will be there to be competitive, but can Miami get the momentum back after tremendous seasons in 2003 and 2004? Absolutely.

No, this isn't going to be anywhere near the 13-1 monster of 2003, and it's not going to be nearly as good as last year, but the East is the far weaker of the two divisions. If the linebacking corps can come together in a hurry and a steady starting quarterback can be found, there's no reason this can't be a more rewarding year even if the final record isn't any better.

The Schedule: It isn't all that bad considering the only road game against a bowl team from last year is at Akron. The first two MAC games are at home highlighted by a potential MAC title game preview against Northern Illinois. And then comes the nasty part with four road games in five dates with the only oasis coming against Ball State. Road trips to Western Michigan and Bowling Green will make or break the season.

Best Offensive Player: Senior WR Ryne Robinson. One of the best punt returners in college football history, Robinson has grown into a reliable, explosive receiver. With Martin Nance gone, Robinson not only needs to be the deep threat in the big receiving corps, he needs to be a steady target for the new starting quarterback. That won't be a problem if he plays like he did last year.

Best Defensive Player: Senior FS Joey Card. With only two returning starters on defense, the speedy veteran is the leader of the defense by default. He's a good hitter with great range, and he's rarely out of position. The RedHawks need him to be an All-MAC performer.

Key player to a successful season: Junior QB Mike Kokal. It'll be a battle for the starting job, but Kokal will likely be the number one man when the Northwestern game comes around. He's not as big or as good a passer as Josh Betts and Ben Roethlisberger were, but he's a better runner.

The season will be a success if ... Miami wins the East. Even with all the new starters this will still be among the league's most talented teams. Anything less than playing for the MAC title will be a disappointment, but that's setting the bar way too high if the injury bug strikes early on.

Key game: Nov. 15 at Bowling Green. Akron might be the defending champs, but the real test for East title will likely come late in the year on a nationally televised Wednesday night game against Bowling Green. The RedHawks will likely be playing in the MAC championship if they can beat the Zips and the Falcons.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Fumbles: Opponents 27 (lost 15) - Miami Univ. 14 (lost 8)
- Fourth quarter scoring: Miami Univ. 114 - Opponents 69
- Passing yards: Miami Univ. 3,208 - Opponents 2,286

The Last Time Miami University…
…played in a bowl game…2004 (Independence Bowl vs. Iowa State)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2004 (Indiana State)
…was shutout…1993 (Ball State)
…scored 50 points…2005 (Buffalo)
…went undefeated…1974
…won a conference title…2003 (MAC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2005 (Josh Betts)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Brandon Murphy)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2005 (Ryne Robinson and Martin Nance)
…had a first-round draft choice…2004 (QB Ben Roethlisberger)

Related Stories
Miami University Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by  Aug 7, 2006
Miami Univ. Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by  Aug 7, 2006
Miami University Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Aug 7, 2006

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