OXFORD, OH– Folks in Oxford, Ohio are hoping a new year with a new coach and a new quarterback can turn around the Miami Redhawk football program, one has been steeped in tradition. The program has produced 668 all-time wins, 15 Mid-American Conference Championships and 10 Bowls appearances. It is the all-time leader in wins and championships in the MAC and coaching greats such as Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler have patrolled the sidelines.
But, the Redhawks are on the precipice of a major rebuild. Miami was winless a season ago, the first time that has ever happened in school history. Former Coach Don Tredwell was let go halfway through the 2013 seasons and Notre Dame Offensive Coordinator Chuck Martin was brought with the task of returning this once proud program to the championship form. Doc Holliday knows Martin will have the Redhawks ready to play.
“He’s a heck of a football coach,” Holliday said of Martin. “He was on the defensive side of the ball early on at Notre Dame and then became offensive coordinator and before that was at Grand Valley State, again very successful wherever he’s been.”
Martin has a tall order in front of him. Since 2006 Miami has had losing seasons in 7 of the last 8 and has lost 16 straight contests. Miami defined anemic on offense last season. The Redhawks finished last in the MAC in rushing, passing, and of course, total yards. They averaged a meager 9.8 points per game.
Miami is expected to be better on offense, since it couldn’t be much worse. Notre Dame transfer quarterback Andrew Hendrix immediately improves the Redhawks attack.
“Anytime you add a big time quarterback to your program like Andrew Hendrix it’s a problem for us,” insisted Holliday. “He played significantly last year in critical roles at Notre Dame. He can make all the throws. He’s very athletic and we’ll have our hands full with him.”
Hendrix is making his first start since his high school days in Cincinnati. Hendrix spent four years at Notre Dame where he threw for 360 yards and a touchdown.
Hendrix is also getting help on offense from former Notre Dame teammate Alex Welch at tight end. Welch caught just one pass during his career in South Bend and saw action in 22 games.
Defensively, Miami was not much better than the offense a season ago. The Redhawks allowed 35.7 points per game and ranked 111, 103 and 113 in rushing, passing and total defense.
The good news for the Redhawks is they have a new scheme and some veterans returning on the defensive side of the ball. Seven starters are back on defense and the Redhawks most experienced unit will be the linebackers, led by second-team All-MAC selection Kent Kern. He led the Redhawks in tackles as a sophomore.
Three of four starters return in the secondary, including cornerback Heath Harding and safeties Brison Burris and Jay Mastin. Harding recorded 56 tackles last season as true freshman and picked a team leading three passes.
Miami also added a third Notre Dame transfer in defensive back in Lo Wood. Wood recorded 19 tackles during his career with the Fighting Irish and returned a 57-yard punt for a touchdown against Maryland last season.
The secondary also features the schools fourth all-time leader in assists and second all-time leader in steals. That’s right. Quinten Rollins traded his basketball uniform for shoulder pads and a helmet and has earned a starting job at cornerback. Rollins played in 116 career games for the Miami basketball team.
The bottom line is Miami should be improved this season, but that doesn’t mean it will be a good team. On paper, Miami is overmatched when it lines up with The Herd and it should be a very long debut game for Chuck Martin and his revamped program.