Opponent Spotlight: Miami (OH)

Until recently, Mike Bath was known as the very good Miami (OH) quarterback who preceded Ben Roethlisberger.

Miami (OH) interim head coach Mike Bath/MURedhawks.com

Bath was everything the Redhawks needed him to be. During his career, Bath led Miami to a 23-10 record and had 6,524 passing yards to go along with 49 touchdowns. He wasn't destined for the NFL, but there was little doubt that Bath would stay in football. After two seasons in the lower levels of the arena leagues, he returned to his alma mater as a graduate assistant in 2004.

Now, less than 10 years later, Bath is Miami's interim head coach in the wake of Don Treadwell's mid-season firing. He doesn't have much to work with, and there isn't a lot of time for him to put a personalized stamp on Treadwell's product. Pair that with the fact that offensive coordinator John Klacik was also shown the door, and it appears that Bath has a tough row to hoe in Oxford.

Treadwell seemed like the perfect coach for the Redhawks. He played for Miami and worked his way through the ranks – from offensive coordinator at Youngstown State to the same position at Michigan State. After Mark Dantonio, the Spartan's head coach, had a heart attack, Treadwell stepped in and led MSU to a win over Wisconsin. Everything lined up the right way, and Treadwell came home to be the next toddler in the Cradle of Coaches.

It just never clicked.

Despite having Zac Dysert, one of the school's all-time best quarterbacks, and a list of quality receivers, Miami stumbled all over itself. In Treadwell's first two seasons at the helm, the Redhawks went a combined 8-16. He never established a running game, his offensive lines frequently provided little to no protection, and Miami's defense was porous – to say the least. After going 0-5 this year, and really never showing any signs of competitiveness, David Sayler, the school's first-year athletic director, had just about enough and pulled the plug.

It's unlikely things will get any better this year. The Redhawks are still rotating two quarterbacks – Austin Boucher and Austin Gearing – and neither has been particularly impressive. Also, the Miami offense has a glaring tell based on who is under center: Boucher is a pass-first quarterback, while Gearing has thrown the ball six times and leads the team in rushing (248 yards).

The Redhawks are desperately trying to fill the void left behind by Nick Harwell, a game-breaking receiver who was dismissed from the program and settled in at Kansas. Many thought Dawan Scott was destined to have a breakout year, but so far he's been dealing with an injury and has six catches for a little more than 100 yards. Other than that, the receiving position has been ... bad. Miami doesn't have a single receiver with 10 catches.

At running back, Miami is still at a loss. Gearing is the leading rusher, and the only pure runner with more than 20 carries is Spencer Treadwell – Don's son. There really is no way to sugarcoat how bad the Redhawks are on the ground. They are averaging just over 90 yards per game this year.

Part of the problem is the offensive line, which has allowed 15 sacks for 120 yards.

Miami's defense has been adequate, considering the circumstances. The Redhawks frequently lose the time-of-possession battle, which leaves the defense out there to tire and eventually fall apart.

Kent Kern continues to impress at linebacker, and by the end of his career may be pushing for some school records. He's a tough Ohio kid and is worth watching. Kern works well with Chris Wade, a senior who can do a little of everything.

Miami's greatest strength is at cornerback where Dayonne Nunley leads the pack. Nunley has defended nine passes, grabbed an interception and has 30 tackles. He's a quality, ball-hawking athlete and can shut things down.

The defensive line was supposed to be better, but the big boys up front have had their share of problems. The Redhawks have gotten a decent push from Bryson Albright, a sophomore defensive end, but some of the older guys – like junior Mwanza Wamulumba – haven't hit their stride, yet.

On special teams, sophomore Kaleb Patterson hasn't had many opportunities to kick field goals and has gone one-for-three on the year. Punter Zac Murphy has an incredibly powerful leg and is a good weapon for a team that frequently goes three-and-out.

Miami has some good youth, but it will need a lot to go right in order to salvage the 2013 season. Bath is being asked to lead the Redhawks again, but this time he doesn't have the weapons.

Already have an account? Sign In