JM Rieger, Staff Writer

Quarterback Zac Dysert rockets a pass during practice on August 18. (MICHAEL GRIGGS | The Miami Student)

After a breakout season last year, redshirt sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert is looking to lead the Miami University football team to their first winning record since 2005. He and the offense will need to put up big numbers once again this year if the Red and White expects to overcome one of the toughest schedules in college football that includes games at Florida, Central Michigan, Missouri and Cincinnati.

Dysert has stepped up as one of the leaders for the RedHawks and has continued to develop during the offseason.

“The preparation begins in the offseason and we prepare for one game at a time, which becomes more specific when we face certain opponents,” offensive coordinator Morris Watts said. “Ultimately when it comes down to it though, we need to do things on offense that can beat the defense and that means we cannot become a one-dimensional football team. We need to be able to run the football.”

That is something the Red and White struggled with last season and is something that must improve if Miami expects to compete for the Mid-American Conference title.

“We have to run the football,” Dysert said. “Guys are getting tough and they are improving each day in practice.”

In addition to the running game, Miami will also be counting on a much stronger offensive line with players like redshirt junior Brandon Brooks and redshirt senior Bob Gulley coming off of injuries last season. The ‘Hawks will look to move away from the pass-heavy offense of last season and move toward a more balanced offensive attack this season.

Meanwhile, there are many skills Dysert brings to Miami’s offense that should be a major advantage this season.

“Zac is a very level-headed young man and is not the kind of person that will let things influence him,” Watts said. “His number one goal is to win football games and he is a very tough football player.”

On the other hand, one thing Dysert will need to overcome this season will be avoiding turnovers as well as reading the various routes better. Last season he threw for 2,611 yards for 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

“I need to make better decisions with the football this season,” Dysert said. “Taking care of the football and avoiding turnovers are two big focuses for me this season. We just need to take everything one week and one game at a time in order to keep our focus.”

However, Dysert’s competitive spirit will be a huge advantage for the Red and White when they start the season.

“He is very competitive and his passing skills are one of his biggest strengths,” Watts said. “A lot of the players respect him because he is such a level-headed player and he doesn’t let anything get to him, which makes him a great leader on this team.”

Dysert and the RedHawks take the field for their first game Sept. 4 at Florida, which will be broadcast on ESPN at noon Eastern Time.

In addition, Miami University male student-athletes who have aspirations of playing football for Coach Michael Haywood’s 2010 RedHawks will have their chance to display their athletic talent at Yager Stadium Sept. 1. All individuals who are planning to try out should report to the Miami Football Office at Yager to fill out some paperwork and a medical waiver prior to 4:30 p.m. that day. The tryouts begin at 5 p.m. and will consist of four stations and approximately 20 to 30 minutes of position-specific work. Players should bring their own football cleats. For more information about the football tryouts, call (513) 529-3319.