2009 CFN Miami University Preview
Miami QB Daniel Raudabaugh
Miami QB Daniel Raudabaugh
Posted May 22, 2009

The CFN 2009 Miami University Preview, Breakdown, and Analysis.

Miami University RedHawks

Preview 2009

By Pete Fiutak

- 2009 CFN Miami Preview | 2009 Miami Offense
- 2009 Miami Defense | 2009 Miami Depth Chart
- 2008 MU Preview | 2007 MU Preview | 2006 MU Preview   

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Head coach: Mike Haywood
1st year
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 19, Def. 22, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 19
Ten Best RedHawk Players
1. LB Caleb Bostic, Sr.
2. WR Chris Givens, Jr.
3. WR Jamal Rogers, Jr.
4. WS Jordan Gafford, Jr.
5. QB Daniel Raudabaugh, Sr.
6. RB Thomas Merriweather, Jr.
7. SS Ben Bennett, Jr.
8. WR Dustin Woods, Sr.
9. RB Andre Bratton, Sr.
10. DT Martin Channels, Sr.

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

2009 Record:

9/5 Kentucky (Cin.)
9/12 at Boise State
9/19 at Western Mich
9/26 at Kent State
10/3 Cincinnati
10/10 at Northwestern
10/17 at Ohio
10/24 Northern Illinois
10/31 Toledo
11/5 at Temple
11/12 Bowling Green
11/18 Buffalo

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 7-5
2008 Record: 2-10

8/28 Vanderbilt L 34-13
9/6 at Michigan L 16-6
9/13 Char Southern W 38-27
9/20 at Cincinnati L 45-20
9/27 OPEN DATE 10/4 Temple L 28-10
10/11 at No Illinois L 17-13
10/18 at Bo Green W 27-20
10/25 Kent State L 54-21
11/4 at Buffalo L 37-17
11/11 Ball State L 31-16
11/21 at Toledo L 42-14
11/28 Ohio L 41-26

Auburn went into the tank, Tennessee came up with a losing season, Michigan was an utter disaster, and Washington and Washington State ended up battling it out to see who could be in the team photo for the worst teams in Pac 10 history. It could still be argued that the 2008 Miami RedHawks were the nation's most disappointing team.

It was a stunning and bizarre season of bad for a team that played for the 2007 MAC title and had almost everyone of note returning. The linebacking corps was supposed to be as productive as any outside of USC's, the receiving corps brought back speed and skill, and all across the board there were athletes, veterans, and a mix of players that were supposed to make MU the sure-thing coming out of the East. Instead, it was a 2-10 season with just one win over a FBS team (Bowling Green).

It wasn't just that Miami was bad, it's that it wasn't even close with just one of the ten losses coming by fewer than ten points. It's almost as if a team that good had to try to be that bad (no, no, no ... I'm not suggesting there was a Toledo-type of situation). The RedHawks simply couldn't get anything positive going and didn't seem to find any answers to right the ship.

In comes Mike Haywood to try to find the right spark and the right chemistry for a team that could quickly get back into the land of the living if the light goes on for QB Daniel Raudabaugh and the passing game, the defensive line, the running game, the corners, the ... you get the point.

Haywood will first and foremost try to get more of a vertical passing game going, and he has the speedy receivers to do it. The pro-style offense he'll employ should suit Raudabaugh's talents, while the running game has speedy backs in Thomas Merriweather, Andre Bratton and Danny Green to start to take advantage of more running room.

The defense suffers three tremendous losses with linebacker Clayton Mullins and Joey Hudson, along with safety Robbie Wilson, taking the top three tacklers and 291 stops away from last year's D, but the overall production should be better. It can't be any worse.

It also helps to be in the East. Forget about this season if MU was in the West, but it's easy to go from worst to first in a hurry in the lesser of the two divisions. That might be too big a jump for this year's team, but it should be far more competitive and far more interesting.

What to watch on offense …
the quarterback situation ... again. Daniel Raudabaugh has had the pieces around him to produce, but it hasn't happened. He has the size, he has the tools, and he has the experience as the starter for the last two years, but he hasn't been able to crank out points or wins. While he looked great at times this spring and he should be better, that's been said for the last few years, too. Clay Belton has a big arm and Zac Dysert is a good prospect, and the new coaching staff won't be afraid to put either one in if the offense struggles.

What to watch on defense … the secondary. There weren't any interceptions, there were too many big plays allowed, and there wasn't any help from the pass rush. Jordan Gafford returns at one safety spot after missing almost all of last year, while safety Ben Bennett and corners Brandon Stephens and Jeff Thompson are veterans who should be better now that they have a year of starting experience. With problems in the front seven, this year, the defensive backfield has to shine.

The team will be far better if … it gets something, anything, out of the defensive line. DT Martin Channels is the only returning starter, and that's not a bad thing. There's a ton of size in the front four, but there isn't a sure-thing pass rusher, and that's a problem for a defense that was 108th in the nation in sacks and 97th in tackles for loss. For all the size that last year's line had, and with all the experience, and with a great linebacking corps to clean things up, MU was last in the MAC and 106th in run D.

The Schedule: There isn't a guaranteed win on the slate and the first half of the season is a nightmare. There's only one home game in the first seven, and it's against defending Big East champion, Cincinnati. The non-conference schedule is extremely interesting, but there isn't a layup to tune up. The Kentucky game will be played in Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium and there will be trips to Boise State and to Northwestern. The RedHawks get Toledo and Northern Illinois from the West at home, but they have to go to Western Michigan to kick off the MAC season. On the plus side, four of the final five games are at home including the regular season finale against defending MAC champion, Buffalo.

Best Offensive Player: Junior WR Chris Givens. There are plenty of solid veteran receivers for the offense to work with, but it's Givens who'll be the gamebreaker. He has 6-2 and 205-pound size and great deep speed, and he was the one big playmaker in the passing game last year catching seven of the team's ten touchdown passes and averaging 14.7 yards per catch.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB Caleb Bostic. The lone holdover from last year's phenomenal (but hurt) linebacking corps, Bostic is coming off a foot problem and should be back to his explosive, disruptive self. When he's right, he's all over the field making plays in the backfield and in the passing game. This year, he'll have to be the steady leader of the young new group of linebackers.

Key player to a successful season: Senior QB Daniel Raudabaugh. There were just ten touchdown throws last year from 12 interceptions. Raudabaugh had his moments, but he only threw for 1,960 yards with eight scoring plays and nine picks. He's the veteran who has to make everyone around him better, and there's hope for an improvement after looking sharp this spring highlighted by an 11-of-14 performance in the spring game. If he's great, the offense should be night-and-day better.

The season will be a success if ... MU wins six games. It's asking too much out of a perennially disappointing team to come up with a shocker and win the MAC, but there's enough returning experience, and a pick up in the enthusiasm with the new coaching staff, to be four games better than last year. It'll be a struggle, but the RedHawks should be at least as good as Kent State, Ohio, Toledo, Temple, Bowling Green and Buffalo. If they can win four of those games and pull off a few upsets, a .500 season is possible.

Key game: Sept. 19 at Western Michigan. The Broncos will be one of the favorites to win the MAC, and if MU can step up and pull off an upset in the league opener, it'll be a huge boost for a program that has had nothing to get excited about for the last year. If MU loses, that will mean the game at Kent State the week after is a must-win or else the MAC season is over.

2008 Fun Stats: 
- Fourth down conversions: Opponents 7-of-13 (54%) - Miami 7-of-25 (28%)
- Offensive touchdowns: Opponents 50 - Miami 20
- Rushing yards per game: Opponents 208.3 - Miami 107.2