2007 MU Preview
2007 MU Defense Preview
2007 MU Depth Chart
2006 CFN Miami
What you need to know: It's
all about the offensive line. The front five was hit by injuries
last season and the whole machine broke down with no running
game, an obscene amount of sacks allowed, and not enough of a passing
game. Now the line is experienced with decent depth, the running
backs should be solid as long as Brandon Murphy is over his
ankle problems, and Mike Kokal has the potential to be the MAC's
most effective all-around quarterback. And then there's the
receiving corps. With Ryne Robinson gone, there's no proven
number one receiver, but there's a boatload of speed on the
outside in Dustin Woods and Armand Robinson. While they'll make
big plays, someone has to become a go-to guy.
Passing: Mike Kokal
208-355, 2,419 yds, 14 TD, 8 INT
Rushing: Andre Bratton
63 carries, 285 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Dustin Woods
25 catches, 506 yds, 4 TD
Star of the offense: Senior QB Mike Kokal
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore
WR Dustin Woods
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman WR Armand
Best pro prospect: Kokal
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Kokal, 2) RB Brandon
Murphy, 3) Woods
Strength of the offense: Running backs, quarterbacks
Weakness of the offense: Wide receivers
Projected Starter: It's hard to tell how good
senior Mike Kokal really is considering he never had any
time to operate behind a porous offensive line. Even though he
was beaten to a pulp, he completed 59% of his passes for 2,419
yards and 14 touchdown with eight interceptions. He has enough
mobility to take off when he gets an opening to go along with a
strong arm and a good command of the offense. It'll be
interesting to see what he can do after a year as the starter
and with a veteran line to work behind.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Daniel
Raudabaugh doesn't have the mobility of Kokal, or the
experience with only one start throwing for 190 yards and two
interceptions against Cincinnati, but he's a good backup option.
At 6-4 and 216 pounds, he has a good size to go along with a
If Raudabaugh has any hope of being the main man going
into next year, or if Kokal goes down, he has to shine when
given the opportunity with star-of-the-future Clay Belton
pushing for the number two job. The true freshman might need a
year of seasoning after missing most of his senior year of high
school hurt, but when he figures out what he's doing, the 6-6,
220-pounder has the arm and talent to become a star.
Watch Out For ... Kokal to come up with a fantastic
year with a few really, really big performances. With the speed
at outside receiver, he'll bomb away early and often to stretch
the field. As long as he gets just a little bit of time, he
should have a few 300+ yard games.
Strength: Arms. All three quarterbacks can chuck
the ball all over the field with Kokal having the weakest gun of
the three. His mobility and experience make him a great leader
for the offense, but when all is said and done a few years from
now, he might be looked back on as the worst of the three.
Weakness: The receiving corps. Last year Kokal didn't have a
line in front of him and this year he doesn't have any
experienced receivers to throw to. He has to make everyone
around him better and has to spread the ball around to get
Outlook: The situation is solid with a good
starter and talented backups. All things considered, Kokal had a
phenomenal first season getting pressured on nearly every play
and with no running game to help out. Now that he shouldn't have
to be a one-man show, he should be more relaxed and more
productive. Most MAC teams would love to have Raudabaugh or
Belton under center.
Projected Starter: All set to be a be a star after
rushing for 1,070 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore,
senior Brandon Murphy couldn't shake an ankle problem,
and never had any room to run behind an awful offensive line,
only rushing for 280 yards and a touchdown carrying the ball ten
times or more just five times after rushing for ten or more
carries ten times in a row, with five straight 100-yard games,
in 2005. When healthy, he's a pounding runner who can carry the
offense working inside and out. He can also be an effective
receiver when needed.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Andre Bratton
filled in when needed for Murphy coming up with a nice stretch
of five games over the second half of the season finishing with
285 yards and four touchdowns. He's the fastest runner in the
backfield and should be tremendous now that he'll have more
holes to run through behind a better line.
A good receiver, he
could find a role as a third-down back. 245-pound senior
Austin Sykes is the pounder of the trio coming off a
224-yard, three touchdown season. While not a fullback, he could
serve as one if the team needs him to and will get the tough
short yards. He can be used as a tailback if he has to.
this fall is Thomas Merriweather, a star prospect out of
St. Louis who could've gone to a much bigger program. Quick,
productive and very talented, he could become the team's main
man early on.
Watch Out For ... almost double the production of
last season when the RedHawks netted 1,040 yards and 11
touchdowns. Of course, the stats are a bit skewed after allowing
49 sacks, but the running backs didn't do much of anything. As
long as Murphy is running like he did in 2005, that'll change.
Strength: Potential depth. MU has three good backs
who could carry the workload for most MAC teams. As long as
their getting good blocking, they should produce big numbers.
Weakness: Proven depth. As good as Bratton and Sykes are, the
running game went into the tank went Murphy was hurt. A rotation
to get everyone involved, and keep Murphy healthy, would help.
After last year's disaster, things should be much, much
better as long as injuries don't strike. With Murphy's ankle
healthy, MU has a trio of backs to carry the load with speed
(Bratton), power (Sykes) and everything in between (Murphy).
Expect this group to run for 2,000 yards and over 20 touchdowns.
Projected Starters: Sophomore Dustin Woods
returns after finishing second on the team in catches making 25
for 506 yards and four touchdowns with a team-leading 20.2 yards
per grab. While he wasn't a regular target, he occasionally blew
up as a tremendous deep threat creaming out 178 yards and an
80-yard touchdown against Northern Illinois and 78 yards on
three catches against Western Michigan. However, he only had
more than three catches in two games and now has to be a number
one receiver with Ryne Robinson gone. He has decent size and
tremendous speed able to shine as a kickoff returner as well as
Junior Sean McVay is a true possession
receiver who runs good routes and finds the openings underneath.
He only averaged 9.9 yards per catch last season finishing third
on the team with 20 grabs for 198 yards, and now he has to at
least double his production.
Redshirt freshman Armand
Robinson is a big, very fast prospect who needs to quickly
grow into a threat on the outside. He's still raw and will make
several mistakes, but he has too much upside to keep off the
Junior Tom Crabtree started every game last season
making 14 catches for 124 yards and a score. A decent blocker,
the 6-5, 235-pound is an excellent athlete he needs to be
involved more in the passing game.
Projected Top Reserves: 6-2, 180-pound redshirt
freshman Donovan Potter is one of the team's tallest
receivers with good hands and leaping ability. He'll play behind
McVay to start the season, but he could quickly find his way
into the starting lineup if he produces a few big plays early.
Redshirt freshman Eugene Harris is a quick outside option
starting out behind Woods. With his quickness and burst in the
open field, he could eventually grow into a top kick or punt
returner as well as a dangerous receiver when he gets the ball
on the move.
Junior Pat Lamoncia is a former walk-on
who's mainly a special teamer and will push for time behind
Robinson. Junior Jake O'Connell is a former wide receiver
who bulked up into an interesting 252-pound target.
only caught seven passes for 43 yards, he made two touchdown
grabs. 6-3, 235-pound Kendrick Bruton
and 6-3, 225-pound Rob Reiland are two of the MAC's top
tight end recruits and could quickly find their way into key
roles in the passing game. Their blocking will be the question
Watch Out For ... the tight ends to play a bigger
role. With so little experience at wide receiver, Crabtree,
O'Connell, and the two star freshmen should shine until the wide
receivers start to get comfortable.
Strength: Speed on the outside. If Woods and
Robinson aren't the fastest receiving tandem in the MAC, they're
number two. They'll stretch the field and should hit several
Weakness: Experience. Only two receivers who have a catch are
back and there's absolutely no developed depth whatsoever.
That's not to say there isn't good potential, but there's no
sure thing going into the season.
Outlook: This group will be the main concern going
into the season. Two years ago, Miami had to replace 81 catches
and 14 touchdowns of production from star Martin Nance. This
season, the RedHawks lose 91 catches, 1,178 yards and eight
touchdowns from Ryne Robinson. Losing him is bad enough, but the
passing game also loses five other receivers. The tight ends
will eventually be excellent, and Woods and Robinson have the
potential to be special. Now a number one target has to emerge.
Projected Starters: All five starters return to a
line that was decimated by injuries last season, had no depth, and was
absolutely awful in all phases. Senior Charlie Norden could
potentially be the best of the bunch starting the last four years seeing
time at both guard and tackle. The 6-6 300-pound left tackle has gotten
in better shape and should instantly upgrade the overall pass protection
after missing the last eight games with a foot injury.
junior Steve Sutter struggled after being thrown into the fire
when linemen started going down. The former defensive end now has a year
of offensive experience and should use his athleticism to be better at
Senior Steve Meister started for three straight
years seeing most of his time at guard. One of only two linemen who
survived the whole year, Meister will start at center where his
experience will make him a good quarterback up front, even though he's
not dominant in any one area.
Sophomore Dave DiFranco started
almost every game at tackle moving from the left to right side where
needed, and now he'll move inside to a more natural guard position.
While he has the feet to eventually grow into a decent pass protector,
the former tight end should shine at left guard.
Junior Matt McKeown
is a slightly undersized 271-pound guard who was never healthy all
through last season. A high motor and a physical hitting style makes up
for a lack of size.
Projected Top Reserves: Josh Satterthwait
got pushed into time last season to try to fill in the gaps. Now the
6-4, 302-pound junior will play behind McKeown at right guard after
starting the final three games. He's a former tight end who can also
play tackle or center if needed.
Sophomore Zachary Marshall is a
massive 6-7, 323-pound transfer from Maryland who's one of the team's
strongest linemen. He'll start out as a bigger option than Sutter at
right tackle, but he could quickly work his way into a starting job.
Redshirt freshman Bob Gulley is one of the team's most versatile
reserves able to play anywhere up front and will start out behind
DiFranco at left guard.
Junior Kyle Lovas is purely a reserve
playing behind Meister at center, and the coaching staff might make some
moves and do some shuffling if something happens to the starter.
Watch Out For ... a massive improvement in overall
production. With several returning starters who got their feet wet last
year, the experience will mean better over all play as long as the top
players stay healthy. The team's biggest weakness, and one of the MAC's
biggest disappointments, might quickly become a positive.
Strength: Experience, and lots of it. All the
problems from last year mean the line returns with more depth and
promise than the program has had in a long time. Now there are options
to play around with at several spots after a year when any live body was
thrown into the mix.
Weakness: There's not any one superstar. While the line will be
better, this isn't necessarily going to be a phenomenal line that'll
dominate. It'll be good, but there isn't a sure-thing All-MAC star to
rely on for the one big block when needed.
Outlook: Last year, the one thing that couldn't
happen was a string of injuries, and that's what happened as the front
five allowed 49 sacks and did nothing for the running game. Fortunately,
this is a versatile bunch with most of the top players able to be moved
around if disaster strikes again. The coaching staff will take its
best five players and find spots for them meaning there could be big
changes as some of the new options emerge.