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Miami (OH) Football Preview
by Matt Fargo - 08/20/2008
No. 83 Miami Ohio RedHawks
2007 Record ~ 6-7 SU ~ 6-6-1 ATS
Starters Returning ~ Offense (7) Defense (9)
Miami bounced back after a 2-10 season in 2006 but the RedHawks failed to make it to a bowl game for the third straight season. They did make it back to the MAC Championship but were humbled against Central Michigan. Head coach Shane Montgomery is now in his fourth season so things need to take a turn for the better. They should as he has a lot of returning talent as well as six games at home for the first time in program history. A bowl game may be a must for Montgomery to stick around.
The offense, one that normally was an annual right to flourish, did not have a good year for the second straight season, averaging only 19.2 ppg. It comes down to the play at quarterback where Mike Kokal and Daniel Raudabaugh were both very inconsistent. Raudabaugh is back as the likely starter but in his shadows is redshirt freshman Clay Belton, who is a Ben Roethlisberger look-alike but from the left side. In fairness, the RedHawks had no running game as injuries hit for a second straight season.
Defensively, Miami should be one of the best in the conference after finishing 54th in the nation in total defense and first in ppg allowed in MAC games a season ago. The RedHawks get nine starters back including MAC Defensive Player of the Year linebacker Clayton Mullins. The linebacking corps is best in the league and if Miami can stiffen up its run defense, the unit can win games with little help from the offense. They allowed 14 or fewer points five times last year and will top that this season.
As mentioned, the schedule is definitely in Miamiâ€™s favor with six home games. The RedHawks start out with four straight non-conference games but three of those are tough. They visit Michigan and Cincinnati while Charleston Southern and Vanderbilt come to Oxford, the Commodores being the first ever SEC team to visit. The conference schedule is very doable with the only problem being a trip to Bowling Green. With a solid defense, Miami will be a good team to back and Vanderbilt had better be careful in the opener.