The RedHawks have improved in every offensive category over the last two seasons: total yardage, points per game, first downs — the list goes on. But according to head coach Chuck Martin, Miami fans shouldn’t get ahead of themselves.
“We’re maybe a 1.5 on a scale of one to 10 as a football team,” Martin said Monday.
His disappointment came after Miami’s 37-33 loss to Cincinnati Saturday, in which the RedHawks blew their three-point lead in the fourth quarter with about four minutes left in the game.
After the game, Martin said he would “vomit” when looking at the game tape.
In the fourth quarter, Miami had three three-and-outs and a turnover. Miami scored once on a field goal, but that was a less-than-satisfactory result, considering the drive began at Cincinnati’s 7-yard line.
“Now everybody’s gonna tell [the players] ‘boy, you’re so close,’ ‘boy, you’ve come so far’ which is good … but it’s also bad, because we have to get over the hump at some point.”
Martin’s response to this year’s improvement is no different than his response to last year’s, when MU’s average point differential improved to -9.5 from -25.9 in 2013.
“All our close games got everybody excited a year ago, but we were not a very good outfit,” Martin said after Saturday’s loss.
He said it was “by the grace of God” they were able to stay in those games.
However, Martin said Saturday’s game was the best football the RedHawks have played since his arrival here.
The players were more physical, and there were several contributors on both sides of the ball. Seven players recorded at least one catch, and three running backs carried the ball at least six times.
The weak areas, Martin said, are execution of plays, understanding game situations and taking care of the ball.
Martin said the team has a long way to go, but he’s excited to see their growth in the next few years.
And that growth will come -— 19 freshmen competed in Saturday’s game, and they put up 308 of Miami’s 448 total offensive yards.
Despite the promise the team shows, Martin’s focus is on the present.
Afterall, University of Wisconsin routed MU 58-0 two weeks ago. The ’Hawks also have the fourth-most yards lost to penalties in the nation, which is usually a product of the overexcited younger players.
“We’re not close,” he said.
“Some people understand how bad we are, but we have to understand how bad we are … If we want to start winning games, we gotta start doing a better job.”