With summer camp behind it, the Miami University RedHawks are ready to get back on the gridiron.
Coming off back-to-back 4-8 seasons, Miami has a lot on the line this year, and no one knows more than head coach Don Treadwell. Treadwell’s focus is not on the past, but rather only on the future.
“There’s no question, every season is a new beginning,” the third year head coach said. “The enthusiasm is always going to be high. From that standpoint, we know we have a job to do.”
That excitement and positive attitude is reflected in Treadwell’s team, from the practice squad right on up to group of four captains, to which redshirt senior defensive lineman Austin Brown was just named. Brown was injured in the second game last year and sat out the rest of the year as a medical redshirt, but remains a vocal leader on defense entering the first week of play. According to Brown, the mood of the team is determined, but hopeful.
“It’s very intense,” Brown said. “Offense and defense both, we’re getting after each other on the field, and we’re really anxious to get out there for our first game against Marshall, and we’re ready to go.”
Brown also says the defensive line has been working extra hard this off-season, as they intend to up the ante around the line of scrimmage and improve their conditioning.
“As a unit, the whole D-line has stepped up their game,” Brown said. “We’re doing some ‘overtime,’ trying to work on mechanics and keep our conditioning up, and try to make some good plays out there.”
With the loss of wide receiver Nick Harwell over the off-season, Miami has been forced to recalibrate their offense. This starts with leadership up front from the likes of redshirt seniors Austin Boucher and Steve Marck, the latter of which caught 27 passes for a total of 299 yards in 2012. Marck says that over the summer, the players have grown closer together, both as friends and teammates, strengthening their resolve for the upcoming season.
“Coming together and bonding and getting that team feel is really what you want to come out of camp with,” Marck said. “You stay in the dorms together, and you’re bunking with three other dudes, so you become pretty close. I think this year we did a great job of coming together as a team, and I feel good with where we are coming out of camp.”
As the final week of practice comes to a close, Treadwell says he knows he has to have his team in top shape for their first evaluation – a road game against pass-heavy Marshall University, a team that averaged the most passing yards per game in the NCAA last season. Fundamentals, Treadwell said, are where Miami is keeping its focus.
“You can never get away from fundamentals and technique,” Treadwell said. “We’ll spend a lot of time in that regard. And the hope is that that will carry over into full-time performance, as we typically graduate into individual drills, unit drills, and just flat-out conditioning.”
With their opening test Saturday, Sept. 1 at Marshall’s Edwards Stadium, the RedHawks fully expect this hard work to pay dividends.