2008 Opponent Preview: Miami

Miami Offense:
Last year’s starter, Mike Kokal, was pulled periodically throughout the year, before he was lost for the season with an injury. He was replaced by this year’s starter, Daniel Radabough. Radabough, who will be a redshirt junior this fall, while he wasn’t the better QB, he wasn’t a huge dropoff either, after working through a rough start. Radabough is an effective passer, but is not considered a mobile threat. Backing him up will be redshirt freshman Clay Belton. Belton has very good size, and is a better runner than Radabough. He may be able to overtake Radabough as the starter at some point during the year. Statistics:

Miami Quarterbacks Passing 2007
Name Comp Att % Yds TD Int Yds/Att
Daniel Radabough 209 382 54.71 2431 12 12 6.36
Mike Kokal 55 99 55.56 615 7 1 6.21
Utah Quarterbacks Rushing 2007
Name Att Yds TD Yds/Att
Mike Kokal 38 64 0 1.68
Daniel Radabough 38 27 0 0.71

Neither Radabough nor Belton is a game-changer, though Belton may be able to bring more to the RedHawk offense than his counterpart. He is inexperienced, but his mobility (and ability to throw on the run) can give him an edge. However, he’ll have to become a more complete thrower in order to replace Radabough. RBs:
Last year, Miami’s stable of running backs was plagued by injuries, and most of their leading rushers have graduated. Cory Jones, Austin Sykes, and Brandon Murphy (the top 3) are gone, leaving #4 and #5, Sophomore Thomas Merriweather and redshirt sophomore Jamel Miller. They will split the load (Merriweather being the starter), with redshirt junior Andre Bratton serving as the backup. Freshman Dan Green will be expected to get a few carries. Statistics:
Miami Running Backs Rushing 2007
Name Att Yds TD Yds/Att
Cory Jones 107 483 2 4.51
Austin Sykes 109 466 3 4.28
Brandon Murphy 31 201 2 6.48
Thomas Merriweather 40 143 4 3.58
Jamel Miller 22 95 1 4.32
Andre Bratton 17 72 1 4.24
T.J. Latti more 13 36 0 2.77
Miami Running Backs Receiving 2007
Name Att Yds TD Yds/Rec
Cory Jones 14 115 1 8.21
Austin Sykes 13 88 0 6.77
Brandon Murphy 2 15 0 7.50
Andre Bratton 1 8 0 8.00
Jamel Miller 1 3 0 3.00
TJ Lattimore 1 0 0 0.00

Most of Miami’s backs are cut from the same mold: pretty short, pretty light, and not fast enough to make up for their deficiencies in the other areas. They aren’t game-changers by any stretch of the imagination, and Michigan’s linebackers should be able to gobble them up. This is especially true with the complete lack of depth they return. Receivers:
The starters will be Dustin Woods (junior and returning starter), and Eugene Harris and Armand Robinson (sophomores). This is a very young group, but Harris and Robinson both got quite a bit of experience last year, as did fellow sophomore Chris Givens. Woods missed a couple of games, but still managed to be the team’s leading receiver. As is often the case with lesser-tier teams, they are shorter, but speedy. Woods is hailed as the team’s fastest player, and Givens brings the size at 6-2. Miami has tons of underclassmen WRs returning. Senior Tom Crabtree is the starting tight end, with experienced Jake O’Connell the key backup. They split starts last year, with Crabtree getting more. The two had 29 catches between them last year, and the tight end is not a huge part of the Miami offense. Statistics:
Miami Receivers 2007
Name Rec Yds TD Yds/Rec
Dustin Woods 40 603 1 15.08
Eugene Harris 46 542 2 11.78
Armand Robinson 33 471 3 14.27
Chris Givens 25 430 2 17.20
Jamal Rogers 19 173 1 9.11
Jake O’Connell (TE) 14 152 2 10.86
Tom Crabtree (TE) 15 139 1 9.27
Sean McVay 18 108 0 6.00
Jared Elliott 9 105 0 11.67
Donovan Potter 81 0 8.10
Pat Shepard (TE) 2 8 0 4.00
Pat LaMonica 1 5 0 5.00
Miami Receivers Rushing 2007
Name Att Yds TD Yds/Att
Jamal Rogers 10 75 0 7.50
Eugene Harris 9 26 1 2.89
Sean McVay 3 23 0 7.67
Dustin Woods 1 5 0 5.00

Much like Utah, I don’t expect the short speedy receiver type to be a huge problem for Michigan’s defensive secondary. The top two corners are both 6-0+, and there is plenty of speed available there. Miami returns a lot of experience, despite their youth. This should be a solid, if unexceptional, group. Offensive Line:
The RedHawks return 3 starters from 2007’s offensive line. Steve Sutter moves from right tackle to protecting the QB’s blindside, giving Miami a strong left side along with returning LG and fellow senior Dave DiFranco. Last year’s starting right guard, Josh Satterthwait is also expected to make a move, to center. This means that all three of Miami’s seniors and returning starters are on the left side. Redshirt sophomore Bob gulley got some experience last year, and is expected to start at right guard. At right tackle will be massive Zachary S. Marshall, who transferred from Maryland after redshirting in 2005. He will be a redshirt junior (and probably move over to the left side for the 2009 season). Analysis:
The offensive line will have to excel to pave the way for new running backs. The left side should be solid in run blocking, and with the three experienced players on that side I expect much of Miami’s running to go to that side. In pass protection, they may struggle a bit, but if Belton is able to win the starting job, his mobility will help the O-line. I wonder if there will be continuity problems with two of the three returning starters at new positions.

Offensive Analysis:

With a new set of running backs, as well as a (somewhat) new QB, it will be interesting to see if Miami can get the ball into playmakers’ hands on the outside. The Michigan defense should be able to beat on the RedHawks solely based on their superior talent. Miami Defense:
Defensive Line:

Defensive ends Joe Coniglio and Travis Craven were #1 and #3 on the team in sacks last year. Coniglio, a senior and former running back, was third team All-MAC. Craven, who will be a junior this fall, was a defensive tackle last year, who is now moving to his more natural defensive end position. He is a big player at DE, and is likely to be more of a run-stuffer than a sackmaster (he had 3 sackas last year). At the tackle positions, They have junior Martin Channels back, after starting 5 games last year. He is short and big, at over 330 pounds. Sean Redwine is projected to start next to him. The sophomore is built more like a big DE than a true DT. He will try to get penetration in the passing game, and make stops in the backfield against the run. The depth is provided by junior Mark Paun and sophomore Morris Council. Both played spot roles last year. Statistics:
Miami Defensive Line 2007
Name Tackle TFL Sacks
Joe Coniglio 40 10.5 6.5
Craig Mester 23 3.5 2
Martin Channels 22 5.5 2
Jordan Stevens 22 3.5 2
Travis Craven 21 4.5 3.5
Alex Stewart 21 2 1
Sean Redwine 21 1.5 1
Ben Huddle 14 2 0
Morris Council 10 3.5 2
DJ Svabik 5 0 0
Nick DeBartolo 5 0 0
Mark Paun 3 0 0

Miami has a big defensive line, especially for a lesser-conference school. The defensive ends don’t appear to be quick against the run, and only DT Sean Redwine appears to be particularly speedy for his position. This defensive line appears to be geared to stop a power run game, with a little pressure on the pass game. They didn’t have a lot of tackles as a unit last year (and their rotation was smaller than one might expect). Linebackers:
The linebacking corps is by far the strength of the Miami defense. They return all three starters, and the three led the team in tackles last year. Caleb Bostic, the least heralded of the three, returns on the strong side. Clayton Mullins, the defending conference defensive player of the year, roams the weakside. Joey Hudson is the man in the middle, and he had the least tackles of the three last year. Despite that, he was 2nd team all-conference. Hudson’s backup, Chris Shula, is also a senior, and the outside spots are backed up by true sophomores. Statistics:
Miami Linebackers 2007
Name Tackle TFL Sack Int
Clayton Mullins 143 13.5 4 0
Caleb Bostic 102 11 1 1
Joey Hudson 99 8 2 2
Chris Shula 54 4 2 0
Ryan Kennedy 9 1 1 0
Ben Bennett 9 1 0 0
Mickey Mann 4 0 0 0

With three returning starters, this is by far the strong point of the D. If the defensive line can keep blockers off, they should be able to make a lot of plays for the RedHawks. All have very good size to handle things on the interior. However, I wonder if that size is a blessing and a curse, leaving them vulnerable to the outside run. Mullins is almost 250 pounds on the weakside. If the quickness is there, they will be very good against the run. Still, I will question how well big linebackers can drop into coverage or man up on TEs. Also, with three returning starters (and little depth behind them) an injury could be devestating to the LB corps. Defensive Backs:
The safeties for Miami are very experienced. Senior Robbie Wilson and junior Jordan Gafford both started every game last year. They ranked directly behind the three linebackers in terms of total tackles, but didn’t seem to be big playmakers in terms of picking the ball off or breaking up a ton of passes. Their backups are both sophomores who got very little playing time last year. The corners are both juniors. Jeff Thompson makes it 3/3 for returning DBs who started every game last year. He is short at 5-10, but has good mass to make up for it. At the lower level, however, that will always make you question a guy’s speed. He only broke up 3 passes all of last year. On the other side is new starter Wendell Brunson. The junior was the primary backup last year. Statistics:
Miami Defensive Backs 2007
Name Tackle TFL Sack Int
Jordan Gafford 89 2 0 1
Robbie Wilson 75 1 0 1
Jerrid Gaines 43 2.5 0 2
Jeff Thompson 41 2 1 3
Wendell Brunson 18 0 0 1
Peris Edwards 17 0 0 0
Brandon Stephens 14 3.5 0 0
Brian Palazcak 10 0 0 0
DeAndre Gilmore 7 1 1 0
Bryan Roland 1 0 0 0

With a lot of experience in the secondary, Miami will be the second straight team Michigan faces that should be strong against the pass. However, their returners were solid, not spectaular last year, so it will be interesting to see if they make a leap to better production and playmaking. Going over the middle will be tough with a pair of good safeties, but I wonder if their corners have the quickness to cover the outside, especially with an effective screen game.

Defensive Analysis:

The Michigan run game will require a lot of quickness over brute strength to really take it to Miami. The passing game should be more successful if they are able to avoid the safeties. With the RedHawks using a lot of man coverage, expect to see mismatches used on screens to exploit the weaknesses in depth. Special Teams:
Jacob Richardson is the returning starter at punter. He is entering his fourth year as the starter. He missed spring with an injury to his kicking leg. Fellow senior Nathan Parseghian (who is the great grandnephew of former RedHawk Ara) is the returning kicker. He had Gingell-ian struggles last year, connecting on only 13 of his 20 FG attempts. Statistics:
Miami Kicking 2007
Name FGM Att % Long XPM Att %
Nate Parseghian 13 20 65.00 51 18 18 100.00
Miami Punting 2007
Name Punts Yds Avg
Jacob Richardson 68 3063 45.04

It doesn’t appear as though the Miami special teams with be something to fear, though the punting looks to be stronger than the kicking. If Parseghian can improve, Miami’s special teams should be solid enough to get by. Overall Analysis:
Miami, a year after reaching the MAC championship game, is expected to finish second in the eastern division. They shouldn’t be as strong a team as any others (except maybe Toledo) on Michigan’s schedule. After the Utah game, this should be another opportunity to fine-tune the offense before Notre Dame, and hopefully develop the defense into a dominating unit.]] >

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