OXFORD, OH—New Miami Redhawks Coach Chuck Martin is hoping to bring a little of the luck of the Irish with him as he begins the monumental task of rebuilding a Redhawks football program that went winless in 2013. Martin is starting the process of rebuilding at the quarterback spot where he announced Monday that Notre Dame transfer Andrew Hendrix would start Saturday’s opener against The Herd.
“Andrew is a big strong kid, he’s athletic, has a big strong arm. You’d like to do things around his strengths but you’ve got to evaluate the pieces around him and make sure you’re giving everybody else a chance at success too,” said Martin.
Hendrix saw limited action during his four years in South Bend, where he threw for just 360 yards and a touchdown during his career with Notre Dame. His last game action came against USC in which he was 0-for-4.
“He only played a little bit at Notre Dame so there’s not a ton of footage on him. I think his last game was the USC game, which I’m sure, was not one of his fondest memories,” said Martin.
Hendrix is one of three players who transferred from Notre Dame to Miami and are eligible to play right away. Martin says having Hendrix with him has helped in Oxford.
“It’s been nice particularly with the quarterback, the familiarity, the trust, and friendship that we have,” said Martin. “He certainly understands the way we think and operate, that is certainly beneficial.”
Even though Hendrix’s presence has helped the offense along, there are still many unknowns for the Redhawks as they try to learn Martin’s system.
“The learning curve is steep. Anytime you have a new coaching staff. Everybody kind of becomes freshmen which is one of the toughest part of transition. It’s still going to take a year or two to get everything up and running the way we want it.
Last season, Miami averaged just 9.8 points per game and finished dead last in the Mid-American Conference in rushing, passing and total yards.
“Unfortunately, five days before the game we’re still trying to sort out what we can do and can’t do to a certain extent,” Martin said.
For Hendrix his debut in a Redhawk uniform could be a rude one. Marshall is deep, talented and possibly more athletic that it was a year ago when it held Miami to 14 points on its way to a 52-14 drubbing at Edwards Stadium.
“They (Marshall) dominated on both sides of the ball and took over with their size and athleticism. We’re interested to see how much, if at all, we closed the gap on the size, strength and speed aspect of it.”
So is Hendrix ready for the challenge of facing Marshall’s defense and being starting quarterback? Martin says there’s only one way to find out.
“How well he’ll handle it? We’ll find out is six days.”
Kickoff between The Herd and the Redhawks is set for 3:30 on Saturday.