Previewing The Miami Redhawks

Miami of Ohio is set to fly into town to take on the Broncos Saturday night. Here is a brief preview of the Redhawk team.


New Miami coach Mike Haywood made changes in the Redhawk lineup when they opened the season against Kentucky last week.  After the 42-0 defeat, he has made more, not satisfied with the team's upperclassmen.  Miami could start as many as five sophomores and five freshmen Saturday against Boise State .  

Senior Daniel Raudabaugh leads the Redhawk offense.  He had a tough day in Commonwealth Stadium last week vs. Kentucky .  The Wildcats limited him to 13-of-34 passing for 126 yards and had two interceptions.  He'll try to get untracked against the Bronco defense.  Raudabaugh was 201-343 (58.9%) for 1,960 yards and eight touchdowns vs. nine interceptions last season.  He has good arm strength and is nearing 5,000 career passing yards.  

Miami picked up 62 yards on 22 carries (2.8 avg.) last week but those yards were also limited by having to play catch-up.  Thomas Merriweather (5-10, 205, Jr.) paced the Redhawks with 547 yards on the ground and four touchdowns in 2008.  Merriweather has good vision and is a good pass protector in the backfield. Haywood has inserted Andre Bratton (5-11, 185, Sr.) into the starting role against Boise State . Bratton had seven carries for 37 yards last week against Kentucky .      

One area the Redhawks excelled in last week was the ability to stop penetration into their backfield—the Miami offensive line allowed just three tackles for loss last week.  Like Boise State , Miami allowed two sacks in their season opener.  

Brandon Brooks (6-5, 325, So.) will start at left tackle.  Brooks squats 635 pounds and will try to overpower you with brute strength.  Brooks started all 12 games last season at left guard as a freshman.  Bob Gulley (6-4, 308, Jr.) will start at left guard after starting half of last season.  Gulley benches 440 and has the reputation of a strong pass blocker.  Redshirt freshman Matt Kennedy (6-5, 258) won the starting job last week at right tackle over Ken Staudinger (6-5, 272, So.).  They are both physical and come off the ball well.  Nate Williams (6-5, 308, Jr.) is the right guard.  Williams squats 500.  Grayshirt freshman Brad Bednar (6-4, 273) is the center.  

Miami returned both of their top receivers from last year.  Junior Jamal Rogers (42-359) and Chris Givens (35 for 513 and seven touchdowns) give Raudabaugh familiar targets.  Rogers has great speed after the catch and the Redhawks like to use him in the running game as well on the end-around.  He paced the Miami receiving corps last week with six catches for 56 yards while Givens had four receptions for 37.  Eugene Harris (33-286 and 1 TD) also returns this fall.  Freshman Andy Cruse (6-4, 213) has great potential and will see considerable playing time.  Cruse signed with Miami after a stellar high school career in Cincinnati .  Dustin Woods (5-11, 191, Sr.) has 100 career receptions for Miami and will also be a factor.  

Kendrick Bruton (6-4, 259, So.) is the starting tight end.  

Sophomore linebacker Jerrell Wedge (5-9, 223, So.) had a sensational spring to earn the starting spot and  is second in the nation with 15 tackles while junior safety Jordan Gafford (6-0, 206, Sr.) is ninth in the country with 13 tackles and fellow safety Anthony Kokal (6-0, 203, So.) had 10 last week.  Gafford is athletic and a captain of the team.  

Caleb Bostic (6-3, 232) is an all-league candidate in his senior year who power cleans 310.  Bostic is a physical presence on the Redhawk defense that will make plays all over the field.  Bostic is seeking to rebound this year after seeing his tackles drop from 103 his sophomore year to 40 last season. Bostic had nine stops last week vs. Kentucky .  DeAndre Gilmore (6-1, 224, Jr.) is the starter at WILL linebacker.  True freshmen Wes Williams (6-3, 224) and Evan Harris (6-0, 206) also saw considerable playing time.   

Brandon Stephens (5-10, 197, Jr.) and Jeff Thompson (5-10, 192, Sr.) complete the Redhawk secondary.  Stephens is a good cover corner and has a 35-inch vertical leap.  Thompson is one of the Mid-American Conference's top defensive backs, is a hard worker and will be counted on this fall to provide leadership on the Miami defense.   

Senior Martin Channels (6-0, 319) tied with Brooks for the team lead with 635 pounds in the squat.  He led the team with eight tackles for loss last season in starting 11 of 12 games at nose tackle.  Mike Johns (6-4, 260, Fr.) had a good spring and earned the starting spot at left defensive end.  Jordain Brown (6-0, 289, So.) is the right defensive tackle while Morris Council (6-2, 255, Jr.) will start at right defensive end.  Council had 23 tackles, 5.5 for loss, last season.  Matt Kajmowicz (6-4, 250, So.) earned his second career start last week against Kentucky .   

Senior Chris DiCesare got a workout against Kentucky , having to punt 10 times for a 36.9 average.  Seniors Dustin Woods (5-78) and Rogers will be back for kickoffs.  Rogers needs 273 yards to break the school record in that department.  Harris has a 9.2 punt return average and returned two for touchdowns last year.  Mike Rummler (6-2, 209, Jr.) is the long snapper.  

This is a green Miami team that got thrown to the wolves last week against Kentucky .  It will be tough for them to find themselves this week against the Broncos.  Any time you learn a new system it takes time.  Boise State 's challenge will be to play with the same intensity which they displayed last week.  

Kickoff is set for Saturday night at 6 in Bronco Stadium!

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