JM Rieger, Staff Writer

Miami RedHawks had a chance to for some friendly competition during the annual Red and White game, or the spring game, which took place at Yager Stadium on April 10. The red team are starters while the white team are backups. (SCOTT ALLISON | The Miami Student)

After beginning summer workouts in early June, the Miami University football team has made major strides this offseason toward improving in the upcoming 2010-11 season.
The experience this year’s team has should prove to be very important when the regular season rolls around.

“The major difference is that we have a year under our belt as a staff and a team,” Offensive Line Coach Bill Mottola said. “The players know what to expect from each other and the coaching staff. The coaches have worked within the offense, defense and special teams systems that have been in place for over a year now and are more familiar with each other.”

Besides the standard strength and conditioning drills that players have been working on, the coaching staff has also been busy preparing preliminary scouting reports and game plans for the first four opponents that the RedHawks will face: Florida, Eastern Michigan, Colorado State and Missouri.

Some key players that have performed well this summer for Miami include redshirt senior offensive lineman Bob Gulley and redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Matt Kennedy.

“Gulley has battled back from numerous knee injuries showing both physical and mental toughness and has shown leadership skills off the field,” Mottola said. “Kennedy has completely changed his physique by adding 20 to 25 pounds of muscle this offseason.”

In addition, redshirt senior defensive back Jordan Gafford, who returns as one of the captains for the Red and White this season, as well as redshirt sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert, who had a breakthrough season last year, have continued to improve during summer workouts.

“The best leader on our team is Jordan Gafford,” Gulley said. “He was our captain last year and is naturally a great leader. Zac Dysert (also) stands out in my mind as being the teammate that has physically and mentally taken a step in the right direction and has impressed my teammates and myself.”

The RedHawks have been putting in a lot more time into their offseason workouts this year and are looking to improve off of last season’s 1-11 record. Plus, the Mid-American Conference (MAC) announced back in April that it would have five bowl relationships through the 2013 season, but the Red and White are still taking things one step at a time and are focusing on getting better each day.

“My mentality about the season has not changed,” Gulley said. “We have a number of goals that are closer and more important at this time and once we have attacked and achieved the immediate goals then the other goals we have will take care of themselves.”

In addition to the offseason workouts, Miami has also held numerous youth football camps called satellite camps in various communities in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

“The satellite camps were an awesome experience,” Mottola said. “Coach Bill Elias, our recruiting coordinator, and (Head) Coach (Michael) Haywood came up with the idea and set the locations. The turnout was good and it proved easier for campers to make it to camp when it was only one day and close to home.”

The final youth football camp is set for Sunday, August 1 at Yager Stadium.