Preview 2009 - Offense
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2009 Miami Defense
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2008 MU Preview
2007 MU Preview
What you need to know:
coordinator Peter Vaas, after coaching David
Cutcliffe's attack at Duke, has his work cut out
for him, but he has some good pieces to work
with from an attack that was 12th in the MAC in
total offense, last in scoring, and 101st in the
nation in rushing and 101st in pass efficiency.
Last year's attack was a mega-disappointment,
and for good and bad all the key skill players
are back. Vaas wants to push the ball down the
field more with a vertical passing attack, and
he has the speedsters to do it led by Chris
Givens and Jamal Rogers. Three good backs will
rotate to help out last year's poor running
game, but they need room to move. The line
wasn't bad last year, but it has to do some
major revamping. And then there's the
quarterback situation. Daniel Raudabaugh is back
as his third year as the starter, but he has
struggled to put points on the board. He'll be
pushed by Zac Dysert and Clay Belton, and all
can throw. There will be mistakes, but there
will also be more big plays.
Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh
201-343, 1,960 yds, 8 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: Thomas Merriweather
140 carries, 547 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Jamal Rogers
42 catches, 359 yds, 0 TD
Star of the offense: Junior WR Chris
Player who has to step up and become a star: Sophomore OT
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Ken Staudinger
Best pro prospect: Givens
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Givens, 2) WR Jamal
Rogers, 3) Brooks
Strength of the offense: Receivers, Big-arm passers
Weakness of the offense: Proven production, Turnovers,
Raudabaugh has had a rocky career throwing 21 touchdown
passes and 24 interceptions in his 27 games, but he also thrown
for 4,682 yards and has shown flashes of greatness from time to
time. However, the 6-4, 229-pound veteran always seems to offset
a good moment with an interception or two to ruin things.
Consistency is a problem, throwing for 1,960 yards and eight
touchdowns with nine interceptions last year, but he was sharp
this offseason highlighted by an 11-of-14 spring game
performance. He's not going to run, but that's not a big deal in
the new passing attack.
Projected Top Reserves:
6-5, 232-pound sophomore Clay
Belton was just on the cusp of taking over the starting
job, but he didn't come through when he had his chances. He saw
significant action in the middle of last year, but he struggled
in the win over Bowling Green and he finished the year throwing
for 639 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions. Very
big and very strong, with all the next-level measurables, he's
also good around the goal line with three rushing scores in his
Redshirt freshman Zac Dysert
made a nice push this offseason for the No. 2 job and
could see more chances with the ones in practices. The 6-4,
216-pounder is the best rushing option of the three quarterbacks
and has a bomber's mentality. He finished second in Ohio high
school history in passing yards with 11,174 even though he
missed a few games with a broken thumb. He's a spread offense
quarterback, but he has quickly adapted to the new style.
Watch Out For ... Raudabaugh to finally start to
produce at a big-time level. He hasn't been quite able to put it
all together, but this year he has the downfield passing attack
that should suit him far better. He'll make his share of
mistakes, but he should also come up with more big plays.
Strength: Arms. Raudabuagh and Belton have cannons
while Dysert is a fantastic passer on the move. Pushing the ball
down the field won't be a problem.
Weakness: Efficiency. After finishing 102nd in the nation and
12th in the MAC in passing efficiency, the RedHawk quarterbacks
followed it up by finishing 101st in the nation and last in the
MAC. That might change with more deep balls, but keeping the
interceptions to a minimum will be a must.
Outlook: The talent is there, the arms are there,
and there's more than enough experience. Now there has to be far
more production after the MU quarterbacks combined to throw a
mere ten touchdown passes with 12 interceptions. This could be
one of the team's biggest areas of improvement under the new
The most talented option in a
deep stable of backs, junior Thomas Merriweather
led the team with a mere 547 yards with four touchdowns
last season, highlighted by a 133-yard day against Temple. He
fell out of favor with the coaching staff over the second half
of last year, and was suspended for a time, but he's being given
a fresh start by the new regime. The 5-10, 203-pounder is
powerful and quick, but it remains to be seen what he can do for
a full season.
Projected Top Reserves:
Senior Andre Bratton
is one of the team's fastest players, but he hasn't been able to
show off his speed all that much. He suffered a bad knee injury
two years ago and ran for just 366 yards with a touchdown last
year. At 5-11 and 181 pounds, he's built like a receiver, which
he was for most of last year catching 33 passes for 246 yards,
but he didn't break off many big plays. The team's most
versatile weapon, he's too fast to not hit a few home runs.
5-10, 198-pound redshirt freshman Danny Green
was the team's top recruit last year, but he was kept
on the shelf for a season. That turned out to be a huge break
for the new coaching staff that'll get four years of production.
The 5-10, 198-pounder doesn't have much in the way of power, but
that's not his game. He's about making one cut and getting
loose, and with his elusiveness, he could be used more as a
receiver out of the backfield.
Watch Out For ... more big plays. The RedHawk backs
averaged a paltry 3.4 yards per carry with the longest run just
38 yards. There's too much flash and too much speed to not crank
out a few big game-changing plays.
Strength: Speed. Merriweather is quick enough to
make things happen if he gets room to move, while Bratton and
Green can fly. They can all be used in a variety of ways.
Weakness: Proven production. For all the experience and all the
games logged by Merriweather and Bratton, they haven't done a
whole bunch yet to show they can actually play. They have the
tools, but they need to produce.
MU hasn't had a good running game in years. Injuries, bad line
play, and a poor offense were the problem, all in a combination,
since 2005, but there's hope for an improvement with good speed,
experience, and an offense that'll open it up a bit more in the
6-2, 205-pound junior Chris Givens
was the team's most dangerous and productive target,
following up a nice sophomore year, when he averaged 17.1 yards
per catch, but tying for second on the team with 35 catches for
a team-leading 513 yards and seven scores averaging 14.7 yards
per catch. He stepped up in a big way over the second half of
last year and should do even more in the new offense. With
tremendous leaping ability, he should be more dangerous around
the goal line while posing a matchup nightmare in single
coverage at the outside X position.
Junior Jamal Rogers was
supposed to be a big-impact player last year, but it happened
differently than anyone thought. The 5-11, 168-pound speedster
led the team with 40 catches despite being a backup at the Z
position, but he only came up with 350 yards and didn't score.
Used as a kickoff returner early on and given a few carries here
and there, he struggled to stay healthy over the second half of
the season and his production fell off. Now he'll be a key
target in a starting role.
Working in an H-Back role will
be Andy Cruse, a 6-4, 214-pound redshirt
freshman with excellent receiving skills and great athleticism.
He's a big, pure pass catcher who should be used as an inside
presence and to create mismatches down the field when lined up
against linebackers. He could quickly become a go-to target.
While Miami doesn't technically employ a tight end,
Kendrick Bruton will be a tight end. Called a Y in the
MU attack, the 6-4, 258-pound sophomore is a good blocker, and
while he only caught one pass for five yards, he'll be used more
as a receiver.
Projected Top Reserves:
Senior Dustin Woods
has been fine, but he has never quite been able to put it all
together and be a star. He averaged 17 yards per catch going
into last year, and while he tied for second on the team with 35
catches, he only cranked out 377 yards and didn't score. He has
the speed and he has the experience, but the 5-11, 197-pounder
is a back up going into the fall after starting every game last
year. To get back in the mix, he has to prove he can crank out
big plays and he has to get into the end zone. In 37 games he
has just five touchdown grabs and hasn't found the end zone in
Junior Eugene Harris was the team's leading receiver
in 2007 and he came up with a decent 33-catch, 286-yard, one
score season last year. Now he'll be a spot starter in three and
four wide sets. Along with his experience, the 5-10, 183-pounder
is a phenomenal athlete who can jump out of the stadium and is a
top punt returner with two scores last year. While he's not
listed as a starter going into the fall, that will likely
6-1, 202-pound Armand Robinson
has been a solid spot-starter for the last few seasons, but his
production dipped last year catching 16 passes for 229 yards and
two scores after catching 33 balls for 471 yards and three
touchdowns in 2007.
While he doesn't have
tremendous speed, he make things happen when he gets the ball in
his hands and he doesn't drop a thing. He's as consistent as
Watch Out For ... a good
rotation. Woods and Harris were listed as backups coming out of
spring ball, but they're starters who'll be part of the mix in
some combination. There are plenty of options to choose from.
Strength: Experience. This was a veteran receiving
corps going into last year, and now it's really experienced with
the team's top four wide receivers back, not including Robinson.
There's depth, starting experience, and speed.
Weakness: Consistency. Blame the offense as a whole, but the
corps that should've broken out last year struggled to do
anything big last year. Givens caught seven of the team's ten
touchdown passes, and Robinson caught two more. There's too much
speed and experience to not do more.
Outlook: A huge disappointment, this had the
potential to be the MAC's best receiving corps going into last
year and it didn't happen. The talent is still there and there's
speed and experience to burn, so with the adjustment in
offensive philosophies, this could be the MAC's breakout unit.
The receivers will get plenty of opportunities to make things
Step one to rebuilding the line will be
to find a center to replace the steady Josh Satterthwait. Brad
Bednar is a 6-4, 265-pound redshirt freshman who might be
undersized, but he's a battler. He needs to get bigger and stronger, but
he's a tough blocker with the skills to move out to tackle if he beefs
The one returning starter assured of a spot is
Brandon Brooks, a 6-5, 315-pound sophomore who spent last year
at right guard, starting every game, and will now move outside to play
left tackle. Extremely strong and very physical, he'll have to prove
early on that he has the feet to be a consistent pass protector.
Junior Sean Redwine will have to work to get the
left guard job from veteran Bob Gulley. The 6-4, 278-pounder has been a
solid career backup defensive tackle, making 11 tackles and a sack last
year after making 21 as a redshirt freshman. Now he'll give it a try on
the offensive side where he might be raw, but he's athletic and tough.
6-5, 307-pound junior Nate Williams is one of
the team's biggest lineman and he's one of the most versatile. Good
enough to play either tackle spot if needed, he'll started out at right
guard after spending last season as a spot starter in a rotation. Now
the job is his and he'll be expected to be one of the team's top run
Ken Staudinger will take over the
right tackle job from Steve Sutter, who came up with a strong second
half of last year. The 6-5, 273-pound sophomore is a fantastic athlete,
and although he's not that big, he's tough for his size. He can do it
all with great run blocking ability and good potential as a pass
protector against speed rushers.
Projected Top Reserves: Junior Bob Gulley
started the first two games at right tackle but was quickly
moved to guard where he started on the left side in five of the final
seven games. While he'll have to fight to get his job back, he'll at the
very least be one of the team's top backups and will bring more size
than Sean Redwine at left guard. The 6-4, 305-pound junior is big enough
to play anywhere on the offensive front.
6-3, 274-pound redshirt
freshman Nick Kemper was one of the team's top recruits
last season and was considered a possible instant starter at center. A
mauler who's polished enough to start if needed, he lost out to Brad
Bednar this spring and will have to work to potentially be used at
Watch Out For ... the centers. Kemper was a great get
for the program and was all but certain to be the starting center coming
into this season but Bednar stepped up and showed that he could handle
the job. The RedHawks are set at the position for the next four years
with either one of them.
Strength: Versatility. The MU line has several
players like Brooks and Redwine who can play just about anywhere. The
coaching staff has preached from day one the desire to get the best
players on the field at all times, and the versatility of this group
Weakness: Overall experience. There are some good options
who saw time last year and are ready to step up into bigger roles, but
the team will be relying on four redshirt freshmen and three sophomores
to be a big part of the rotation.
Outlook: The line improved by leaps and bounds,
especially in pass protection, and now it has to start from
near-scratch. Finding all the right pieces to fit the puzzle will be a
problem, and it's going to be a trial by fire to find the right starting
five, but this will be a far better line over the second half of the
season and it will be special next year. There are no seniors and the
best players are underclassmen.