Who: Mike Story
Education: 1985 Hamilton High School
Lettered: Football & Baseball (Junior & Senior Years)
1990 University Of Cincinnati
Mechanical Engineering Technology, B.S.
Brother: Bryan Story
Education: 1993 Miami University Graduate
Great Uncle: Bill McCormick (Miami Football Hall Of Fame)
Education: 1950 Miami University Graduate
2nd Cousin: Kent McCormick (Miami Football Hall Of Fame)
Education: 1981 Miami University Graduate
As you can see my family has heavy Miami ties, but I bleed red and black. Being the eldest of two children, I quickly converted my parents to UC fans before my brother, Bryan, had an opportunity get a Miami foothold. Anyway, I may not be the expert Tim or Dave are, but here is my take on the keys to the game.
Blocking: The Cats have to make and sustain blocks. This is includes the backfield. This may seem a bit cliché, but it will be crucial in this contest. Miami has some injuries on the defensive front and this would be a great game to get the Bearcat offensive front back on track.
Clock Management: Blocking? Why? Control the clock by establishing the run. The Cats need to run, run, and run some more. Miami has big offensive play potential (See Nance, Robinson, Murphy) and the best way too slow them down is too keep them off the field.
Passing: Even though the running game is UC's main aspect, the offense must keep Miami's D honest. Pass protection has been minimal at best this season (See Blocking), so find the tight ends early on quick slants over the middle. This may bode well considering the side lining injuries to Miami line backer's Nande and Rehage.
Play it straight-up: The defensive front needs to apply straight-up pressure. Josh Betts does not operate well under extreme pressure, but anything less can lead to the big play. Use caution when blitzing. This may be a tall order for our young D, but consider the alternative.
Pass Coverage: Avoid one-on-one coverage. Miami has quick, top twenty caliber (Nance & Robinson), veteran receivers. Again, use caution when blitzing. Quick hitting slants off the blitz, in single coverage, can be devastating with receivers of this caliber.
3. Special Teams
Kick Placement: One obvious statement: Keep the ball away from Ryne Robinson.
Punt Speed: If the Cats effectively keep the ball away from Mr. Robinson, expect Miami to bring the house for punt blocks. The Cats kick away time is still slow and could be exploited. Key: Decrease punt, kick away time.
Control: This is a rivalry game unlike many young Cats have seen. There needs to be intensity, but our young players need to also keep their heads in the game.
Intimidation: Not a factor. If anything these Bearcats have shown they have grit.
Confidence: Miami has been having difficulty adjusting to the coaching changes. A solid start out of the gate could play on the confidence of Miami; both in its players and coaching staff.