Holy Toledo Live!

October 31, 2009

toledovsMU

During the 1830s, war broke loose between Michigan and Ohio. Each state claimed ownership over a precious piece of land on their border. After 15 years of simmering, a 19-year old Michigan governor grew restless and sent militia south to settle the dispute once and for all.

What was this promised land that both states so dearly valued? Toledo. Clearly people back in the 1830s weren’t so bright. Want proof? Not only were they fighting over (eh hem) Toledo, but they never actually fought because each army got lost in the swamps and thus failed to find each other.

Eventually Michigan came to its senses and succeeded the land. In exchange, congress awarded the state possession of the Upper Peninsula. Copper and iron deposits have since been discovered in this region along with the plentiful source of timber. Ohio, on the other hand, remains stuck with… Toledo (just a stone’s throw away from Bowling Green, the STD capital of Midwest America). I’ll let you decide for yourself who won the war.

As for today’s football game, expect plenty of fireworks, and by that I mean exploding rockets. With exception of a 0-38 loss to Ohio State, Toledo has scored at least 20 points in every game and at least 30 points in four of its games. This includes a 54-38 bombing of Colorado, a game Miami gave up in exchange for its Tumble at the River.

For Miami to stay competitive today, the RedHawks will need Zac Dysert to run a highly efficient and productive offense. This actually seems reasonable, and even though its Halloween I don’t mean that as a joke. While the Rockets score plenty of points, they give up plenty of points as well. Dysert did not throw a pick on Homecoming, a sign that he is making strides in the turnover department. As long as the players carrying the ball for Miami can at least dress up and pretend to be real running backs I think the RedHawk offense can hang with Toledo.

DK Kountry Key Matchups:

  • Toledo vs Halloween ticks: On paper, the Rockets should easily blast off to their fifth win of the season, but today is October 31st and crazy things are known to happen on Halloween. Oxford is known for its stray cat population, and who knows, maybe a black one will make its way down to Yager for the game. I think this contest will have its fair share of quirks which could end up deciding the victor.
  • Toledo vs Haywood tricks: Haywood has shown thus far that he is not afraid to call a trick play or two… or three or four. Watch out for the fake punt, onside kick and some crazy combination of reverses today, especially if the RedHawks get down. This should make for some great eye candy.
  • RedHawk ring and run vs Rocket powered D: Miami finished with -11 net rushing yards last week. That is a fantastic way to lose games. Dysert has the talent to keep this thing close through the passing attack, but he just hafta has help from his ball carriers.

Prediction: I foresee lots of tricks and lots of treats. The first team to 30 wins. Miami shows improvement each week but they also seem to find new creative ways to lose each week as well. At first they couldn’t play past the first quarter. Then they couldn’t stop turning the ball over. Now they can’t even finish a game with positive rushing yards. This season has been flat out spooky. Somehow, on Halloween of all days, I don’t expect that to change. Rest assured, the RedHawks will find a frightening way to not win. RedHawks 21, Holy Toledo 34.

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3:30

There are roughly 120 people on the student section side of Yager right now. I counted. That’s how few people there are. I looked across the stadium and in no way felt overwhelmed by the idea of counting fans. Awesome.

3:42

Miami gets the ball first. Dysert misses two open receivers down field but two dump off passes to Merriweather each go for first downs. Can Miami just not attempt a run play ever again and use screen passes as its ground game instead? Can’t be worse than the actual run game, right?

3:47

Miami’s first drive ended with out a single rushing attempt (by a running back) in nine plays. I think Haywood and I are on the same page. This is great news. Inside Toledo territory I really expected a fake punt but some guy named Broadway was making his first career punt attempt so I guess you gotta give him he dignity of actually kicking it. On the return, two Rockets each tried to catch the ball and ran into each other. Miami did not recover the fumble.

3:50

HOLY TOLEDO! A penalty pushes Toledo back to its own nine yard line. Two play later… PICK 6!!! TOUCHDOWN MIAMI!!! Extra point is goooooood! Miami 7, Rockets 0.

3:55

Toledo’s drive began with a big run helped by poor (as in, lack of) Miami tackling. After that the D locked down to force a punt. Miami’s drive starts on its own 12.

3:58

On its 11th play from scrimmage, Miami finally runs a running play. Five yard pick up aint bad, especially coming off a big pick up from a pass interference penalty.

4:04

Dysert fumbles to give Toledo the ball inside the 40. Regardless of the fumble I must say Dysert has not looked as sharp as usual today. Very inconsistent in terms of accuracy. This could be a huge problem if Toledo starts scoring with any regularity (which it definitely can).

4:09

One of the Toledo coaches keeps holding up a HUGE sign. The back side (the side facing me) is all white and I really want to know what it says on the other side. In other news, Toledo just picked up a fourth and one inside the 15. They got there on a big pick up from a sweep play to the right. This was the second of two big gains for them today, both pretty much on the same play.

4:14

Looks like Haywood isn’t the only coach in Yager willing to be risky. Toledo just went for it on fourth and one from the four yard line to pick up their second fourth down conversion of the drive. Two plays later they pick up the TD. RedHawks 7, Toledo 7.

4:19

The first quarter end all tied up. Miami has the ball second and two from the Toledo 46. Dysert just ran a really nice fake hand off quarterback sneak play. He still is off on his deep throws but is hitting the short slants pretty well.

4:22

Miami isn’t running the ball much, but when they do it seems to actually work. Not only does the rush attack look quzi competent but it seems to be functioning in a very healthy manner. And whatdayaknow, the pass game opens up for a few nice gains down field. Its almost like that’s how its supposed to work.

4:27

TOUCHDOWN MIAMI!!! In a very Roethlisberger-esq move, Dysert steps up in the pocket to avoid what looked to be a sure sack and then nailed a receiver in the back of the endzone for the score. Side note, this is the first time all season Miami has led in the second quarter. Now THAT’s scary. RedHawks 14, Rockets 7.

4:29

So while Miami seems to have at least temporarily solved its problem of rushing the ball, the inability to stop the other team’s rushing attack is still quite prevalent. Toledo just ripped off a looooong run play all the way down to the Miami 20.

4:31

Miami D holds with the help of a punishing sack by Jerrell Wedge, who just flew into the backfield on third down and drilled the Toledo QB. Ouch.

4:35

Dysert is really clicking this drive with the short slant routes. Miami ball on the Toledo 27… first down!

4:36

Make that the Toledo 3… now five completions in a row.

4:41

TOUCHDOWN MIAMI!!! Dysert hit Robinson on yet another slant for what woulda been his 6th consecutive completion in a row this drive (and 8th counting passes before the drive) but Robinson got hit and dropped the pass. Dysert ran it in himself on the next play. What really caught my eye was the way Dysesert danced into the endzone and then did a double fist pump while looking up to the sky. So nice to see some emotion and enthusiasm from this RedHawk team. Miami 21, Toledo 7.

4:46

So I completely over estimated the power of the rocket offense. That or Miami is playing ridiculous defense. Maybe both. Either way Toledo only has seven points with just over five minutes left in the first half. And Miami has the ball inside their territory… again.

4:48

Dysert’s pass got tipped straight up in the air. A rocket lineman went up for the pick only to have Zac come over, leap up and swat it away. RE-JECTED!

4:53

An absolute bomb of a pass took Toledo from their own 15 to Miami’s 40. If the receiver is hit in stride its an easy TD but instead he had to make a really nice diving catch. The rocket offense only went backwards from there tho and now Miami has the ball on its own 3 after a great punt.

5:01

A long run by Merriweather, a questionable call by the refs and another big pass by Dysert has Miami inside the Toldeo 35. 50 seconds left in the half. Could the RedHawks really take a three score lead into halftime?

5:04

WOW! Trevor Cook just blasted a 55 yard field goal. Un freaking believable. This crap could only happen on Halloween. The kick set Miami’s all time record for longest field goal by a Miami kicker. RedHawks 24, Toledo 7.

HALFTIME

Forget about the score. Miami looks like a real football team. Now that is both a trick and a treat! Obviously there is still a whole half of football to play but the Hawks really do look like they have it all figured out on offense and mostly figured out on defense. Toledo has been able to get off a concerning amount of deep passes and long runs. So far the MU D has always limited it to just that and shut down the drive right away. Even so, the big play ability scares me and could prove instrumental in a comeback effort. On offense, Miami has somehow managed to establish a legitimate (and at times, even dangerous) ground attack and it is doing wonders for Dysert. Since the first quarter he’s look much better down field but the quick hits are whats really working. The Rockets better find away to get pressure on ZD and stop the run or it won’t matter how many points they score in the second half.

5:28

Some first half stats for ya. Dysert went 21-37 and threw for 215 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT. Merriweather ran for 29 yards on only four carries. Dysert ran for 28 yards on five carries.

5:34

touchdown toledo. Wow, that didn’t take long. The drive was largely aided by a questionable late hit out of bounds call, but the fact still remains that the Rocket powered offense just shredded the Miami D. This is what I expected from the beginning but not even close to what we saw in the first half. Let’s hope it was just a one-time trick. RedHawks 24, Toledo 14.

5:40

Oh wow. Dysert looked to have miss cued once again on a deep ball down field but a ridiculous one-handed diving catch completed the pass. We’re talking sportscenter top 10 worthy here. Side note, Merriweather still looks strong running the ball.

5:42

So Miami’s drive (i.e. one big play) stalled and Cooked barely missed his field goal attempt. Toledo is now busy ripping off more big runs. No, I’m not nervous, are you?

5:44

Add big pass plays to the list of things Toledo is busy ripping off. I knew Miami couldn’t keep letting the Rockets do this. Eventually they will start finishing drives. They are now inside the 10.

5:46

Well, the MU D held em to 3. RedHawks 24, Rockets 17.

5:54

TOUCHDOWN MIAMI!!! With no one to throw to, Dysert opted for a 25 yard TD run. Looks like they made it to 30 first so lets hope that ensures the win like I said it would. RedHawks 31, Rockets 17.

5:59

And the shootout is on! Toledo is driving down field with concerning ease once again. I don’t think either defense plans on playing this half, at least not until their opponents get into the red zone.

6:03

A potential Toledo TD run is under review, while we wait, I will amuse myself by watching Swoop and Rocket chase each other behind the Toledo bench… so great!

6:05

After review, mascots chasing each other are awesome… oh and the TD stands. Maybe its actually first to 40 wins. I don’t see this stopping anytime soon. RedHawks 31, Rockets 24.

6:11

Uh oh. Those of you who read this blog regularly know I have a knack for jinxing Miami. Well, their drive just stalled, right on cue. MU needs a stop.

6:15

Toledo is punting. I wish I could say its because Miami played great D but the truth is that the Rockets stopped themselves. A receiver ran the wrong route on second down and another pass was dropped on third down. Both woulda been firsts. Miami gets the ball on their 10.

6:19

ZD just does not like to throw the ball away. He holds on to it as long as he possibly can. Often it results in a sac but he pulled off a nice pass for a first down here. Still, its definitely an area he could use some maturing in.

6:25

Miami punts but at least showed signs of life this time before doing so. The special teams unit downed the ball on the one yard line, but not before falling down in the process. Oh, Swoop and Rocket are back at the whole chasing thing, and this time they even pretended to fight. Swoop tackled Rocket, sat on him and the began ‘punching’ him in the face over and over. This needs to happen more often. A lot more often!

6:30

Toledo was 0-8 on third down coming into this drive but now has converted their last two. Very frustrating considering the drive started on the one. If Toledo doesn’t score on this drive time will become a very important factor in the rest of the game. Only 4:45 left right now.

6:33

Toledo now 3-11 on third down and at the Miami 33. This is getting scary.

6:36

1st and 10 from the 13 with 1:22 left… I can’t watch I’m so spooked. I’m definitely sleeping with the lights on tonight.

6:38

touchdown toledo. under review. this sucks.

6:42

AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Toledo ball carrier fumbled the ball into the endzone right before he crossed. By rule, this is a touch back and MIAMI BALL!!! How’s that for a trick and a treat! Toldya crazy things happen on Halloween!

6:49

Its official. MIAMI UNIVERSITY WON A FOOTBALL GAME!

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E(nemy)-Mail

October 23, 2009
Come on, just look at that cute doggie face. You would done the same thing.

Come on, just look at that cute doggie face. You woulda done the same thing.

Like a thief in the night, the “Red and Black Attack” (NIU blog) struck swiftly and without invitation. There was nothing I could do. Either I spilled my guts or they would spill them for me. So I did what any coward would do in this situation… I talked. I told them everything. This is not something I’m proud of, but its the truth and I just want to be honest with all of you. Below is the transcript of the interrogation.

(PS so maybe that’s over dramatized just a tad. Mike Breese was actually a really nice guy and a total class act. But honestly, isn’t the whole thief in the night thing way more cool?)

1. First of all, what are the major differences in offensive and defensive schemes now that Mike Haywood is your coach? How has the transition been so with implementing everything and has team turnover been limited?

I think there is a lot of tension between the type of football
Haywood wants to play and the type of football his players are capable
of playing. Haywood really wants to run a tough, disciplined team that
can run the football and stop the run. He wants a team that will wear
down opponents for all 60 minutes with intense, physical play.
Unfortunately he didn’t get to Oxford until December, which is mid way
through the recruiting season. As a result, he is stuck mostly with
players recruited to play Shane Montgomery football. The last four
years are often referred to by fans as the country club era for its
lack of just about everything Haywood has preached so far. So far
Miami hasn’t come close to establishing a ground game so the offense
looks a lot like it did the last few years. It still a quarterback
driven offense that relies heavily on short to mid range passes. It
often substitutes bubble screens and swing passes in for a run game.
There are still a lot of draw plays when they do run. One significant
difference, however, is that Haywood is much more aggressive in his
play calling. He takes a lot more shots down field and he doesn’t ever
hesitate to go for it on fourth and short, even in Miami territory.
There have even been a fair share of trick plays, fake punts and
onside kicks. These things never even crossed Montgemery’s mind as an
option.

2. You’ve played one of the toughest schedules in the nation so far playing tough teams and only 2 out of 7 at home. How has your team responded to this brutal gauntlet?

Well obviously the 0-7 record says the team hasn’t responded very
well to the brutal schedule, but I would argue that the schedule has a
much less significant role in that then people may think. Sure it
didn’t help playing Boise and UC but lets keep in mind that Miami lost
to Kent State as well. I certainly think all the away games wears on a
team; the RedHawks definitely showed more life and energy against UC
in their one game in Oxford so far then they have on the road. Mostly
though the 0-7 records speaks to the fact that this is a very young
and inexperienced team that is still trying to buy into a whole new
system under a new coach.

3. Freshman Zac Dysert has showed spurts of talent here and there, but has fallen to the turnover bug. Where do the problems lie on the offensive side of things?

Turnovers have been a killer. Its not just Dysert although the
frequency of fumbles has dropped in recent weeks. What really hurts is
when the turnover come. Dysert especially has thrown picks in the most
crucial of moments. Another big problem is injuries. Miami top three
wide outs coming into the season are all hurt. Andre Bratton, the only
back to show any signs of consistency out of the backfield is hurt as
well. Its been hard for this offense to figure itself out with a new
set of guys on the field each week. The four skill players mentioned
are also talented upperclassmen so their playmaking and leadership is
dearly missed. The third big problem, as mentioned before, is a less
that futile ground attack.

4. On defense it’s kind of the same thing as they tend to keep Miami in games, especially against Northwestern. What are some playmakers on that side of the ball and do you see them improving?

Jordan Gafford is a big playmaker for the Hawks on defense. It
seems like he is in on every tackle. He flies to the ball and is
extremely dynamic when blitzing the quarterback. Jerrell Wedge has
also really impressed me. He has really developed as a redshirt
sophomore and has been one of the few defenders to create turnovers. I
definitely see this group getting better. They are so young and
inexperienced that this year has just been mostly about finding their
identity as a unit and developing both their skill and schemes. Being
coached by Carl “Bull” Reese doesn’t hurt their chances of improvement
either.

5. Prediction time. I don’t need an exact score, but where do you see the game going on Saturday. Do you see any wins on the rest of your schedule?

There should be a ton of energy around this team Saturday. They are
finally through that brutal stretch of six road games in seven
contests and quite appropriately this is also homecoming weekend. That
being said, NIU is clearly the more talented and developed team in
this match up and a home crowd can only carry a team so far. After
watching Miami play OU last weekend, NIU’s dual attack at running back
is a huge cause for concern in my mind. The combination of that
rushing attack with the fact that eight Husky receivers average over
10 yards per catch leads me to believe the NIU offense will be very
hard to stop for Miami. Just like the OU game, the RedHawks will
probably be caught guessing whether to load up the box or drop extra
help deep. I’m thinking it will be close at halftime but NIU pulls
away for an easy win after the break.

If Miami wins a game this season it will probably come in one of its
last two games against BG or Buffalo. Both of those are home week
night games (no fans lost to hockey or OSU). I’m thinking they get it
against against Buffalo. James Starks who absolutely burned Miami last
year won’t be around which is a huge plus for the Hawks. By that point
in the season I don’t expect the Bulls to have anything left to play
for and Miami will desperately be trying to avoid a winless season.

(I’m out of town this weekend and thus will not be covering the game. This means no live blog and no game recap. Don’t worry, we’re not breaking up. I just need some time alone to figure some stuff out for myself. I hope you understand.)


Haywood angry… Haywood smash!

October 21, 2009
Haywood says his team lacks toughness. Maybe they could learn how to play smash mouth football from these guys.

Haywood says his team lacks toughness. Maybe they could learn how to play smash mouth football from these guys.

Homecoming holds extra meaning this year for a RedHawk football team returning to Oxford after playing six of seven games on the road. The Miami University gridders now enter the final stretch of their season featuring four of five contests inside the friendly confines of Yager Stadium.

“We’ve got Northern Illinois and that’s our homecoming game,” linebacker Jerrell Wedge said. “We’re really amped up to try to get our first win.”

At 0-7 the RedHawks are battered and bruised, another phrase that holds both figurative and literal interpretations for Miami. Team confidence continues to run low, as noted by head coach Mike Haywood, and team’s injury list continues to grow with every passing game.

Wide receiver Eugene Harris III reinjured his hamstring against Ohio University. His status remains uncertain for Saturday as he joins wide out Dustin Woods and running back Andre Bratton on the list of ailing ’Hawks at the skill positions. This is all in addition to the season-ending surgery suffered by Chris Givens and doesn’t even mention the many injuries riddled all throughout the rest of the roster.

Amidst the depleted wide receiver corps, junior Armand Robinson has risen as the most reliable target down field. He leads the team with 39 catches 442 yards. Andrew Curse has been thrown into the proverbial fire, being expected to produce right away as a freshman.

“It’s an opportunity for another young man to have success,” Haywood said of the many injuries to his wide receivers. “Cruse is getting better, but he’s going to have to step it up. He’s being counted on more now than he has since he left high school and he’s going to have to answer the call.”

Hey now (Miami football player), you're an all star, get your game on, go play!

Hey now (Miami football player), you're an all star, get your game on, go play!

In past weeks the RedHawk practices focused on eliminating turnovers. This week Haywood looks to tackle a new problem: physicality. When the first-year head coach arrived in Oxford he promised the implementation of smash-mouth football. So far, however, the only mouths being smashed are their own, as noted by a futile run game and the goose egg in the win column.

“We’re not a physical ballclub and that’s just disappointing,” Haywood said. “We have to become more physical to run the football. Our running backs are running with their legs and not running with their eyes. There are seams inside that they’re supposed to hit and they misread the play.”

The running backs are not the only players on the team responsible for the grounded rushing attack. Physicality is lacking up front on the offensive line as well.

“The thing we don’t like to do as an offensive line is to run block,” Haywood said. “That’s a mind-set that ‘We’re going to come off and hit you in the mouth, and we’re going to hit you in the mouth for 60 minutes.’ It’s not in their makeup.”

To address this problem that Haywood views as team wide, the coach redesigned practices this week. Offense versus defense drills will be nine players against seven. The team scrimmaged on Tuesday and wore pads on Thursday. Haywood wants opponents driven back instead of falling forward. He is also bringing back the old Oklahoma drill in which three offensive lineman and a running back go head to head with three defensive linemen – missing a block will be hard to hide.

“Guys are going to learn that they’re going to have to play the game physical, or that they’re in the wrong organization,” Haywood said.

Haywood's promised team of tough, disciplined football players has turned out to just be a bunch of summergirls.

Haywood's promised team of tough, disciplined football players has turned out to just be a bunch of summergirls.

Regardless of what happened in practice, Northern Illinois won’t easily be pushed around Saturday. At 3-3 the Huskies boast quality victories over Western Michigan University, Purdue University and Western Illinois University. NIU lost by just one point to the University of Toledo and gave Big Ten opponent University of Wisconsin more than it bargained for in a close 28-20 season opening defeat.
Northern Illinois averages 358 yards per game, the bulk of which is produced by a husky ground game. Running backs Me’co Brown and Chad Spann compose a two-headed attack from the backfield, averaging 93 and 52 yards per game respectively. Of NIU’s 22 touchdowns, Spann has scored 10.

The Huskies are dangerous through the air as well. Eight different receivers average more than 10 yards per catch. Quarterback Chandler Harnish has completed 64.3 percent of his passes for 967 yards and six TDs.

Win or lose, Haywood wants to see his team play hard, smash-mouth football for all 60 minutes.

“You want your team to be known as a disciplined, physical football team that will be in the game until the end because of their physicality and execution,” Haywood said.

Kickoff comes at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Yager Stadium. Fans are encouraged to celebrate homecoming by wearing red to the game.


Montana football team refuses to speak with student newspaper

October 19, 2009
When the Grizzlies stopped speaking to the Montana student newspaper for doing its job too well, the journalists responded by covering the opposing team in its homecoming issue. I guess even Grizzlies can be catty.

When the Grizzlies stopped speaking to the Montana student newspaper for doing its job too well, the journalists responded by covering the opposing team in its homecoming issue. I guess even Grizzlies can be catty.

(The following story was written by CHELSI MOY of the Missoulian)

Following a scathing story published by the University of Montana student newspaper about an alleged assault by two Grizzly football players, the UM football team has proved it’s good at another game – the silent treatment.

In recent weeks, head coach Bobby Hauck has publicly belittled Kaimin reporters at weekly news conferences, and followed through with an earlier threat of shutting the students out of interviews. Now, the football athletes are no longer speaking to the student reporters either – a silence the Kaimin believes Hauck ordered.

UM officials strongly deny that claim, saying the athletes decided among themselves not to talk.

What brought this spat into public view, however, was last Saturday when fans and alumni crowding into Washington-Grizzly Stadium stopped to grab a GameDay – a free Kaimin-produced publication highlighting a member of the Griz football team – only to find the cover story featuring a coach for Cal Poly, the opposing team.

For many fans, that was a slap in the face, especially on Homecoming weekend.

“This arrangement is not what the Kaimin would prefer, and it’s probably not what the students and community members who seek out GameDay prefer either,” wrote Kaimin editor Allison Maier in an explanation published in the same issue. “But it will remain this way unless head coach Bobby Hauck and his football players decide to talk to the Kaimin reporters again.

The question that has the community and local sports blogosphere abuzz is whether this is appropriate behavior for one of UM’s highest-paid public officials – a person who not only represents UM, but is a role model for his players and those in the community. Opinions fall on both sides of the issue.

At a recent weekly news conference, a Kaimin reporter asked Hauck whether he was going to continue rotating quarterbacks.

“You want something from me now?” replied Hauck. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

A Missoulian sportswriter immediately followed up with the same question, to which Hauck provided an answer.

At the following week’s news conference, the Kaimin reporter again asked a question – this one on how the Grizzly defense would defend against the speed of an opposing running back.

Hauck’s reply: “I’ll give you this, you’re persistent. Who’s next?”

After a recent practice, a student reporter asked a question of a player, who replied that he “wasn’t allowed to talk to the Kaimin,” the school newspaper reported.

Roman Stubbs, sports editor of the Montana Kaimin, and Kaimin editor Allison Maier aren't appologizing for good journalism

Roman Stubbs, sports editor of the Montana Kaimin, and Kaimin editor Allison Maier aren't appologizing for good journalism

Never in 25 years as the Kaimin’s faculty adviser has journalism professor Carol Van Valkenburg seen a coach shut out the student newspaper for this long, and then muzzle those around them, she said.

Athletic director Jim O’Day said he asked the athletes why they’ve chosen to stonewall the student newspaper.

“This is not the first time that has ever happened,” he said. “They’ve rallied around their coach before. It’s distrust of what is going to be reported. And that’s their perception. Is that the reality? No. Is it possible? Sure.”

Chris Jones is a feature writer for Esquire and ESPN Magazine and a UM visiting journalism professor who has been advising the Kaimin this semester. Jones began his career covering professional sports for the National Post in Toronto, and says that Hauck’s attitude toward the press would not be tolerated in a larger market.

Sure, reporters and sources get in disputes, Jones said. What’s different is when a person of authority begins telling others not to talk, too.

“There is definitely a code of silence over the team,” he said. “Bobby Hauck is mad because of good reporting and the Kaimin should not apologize for good reporting.”

The school newspaper published a news story a month ago about an alleged assault outside a fraternity earlier this year by two Griz football players on a UM student, who required medical attention. While the incident went unreported to local authorities, some UM officials were made aware of the situation, including Hauck, who punished the athletes internally and contacted the victim’s father.

When asking Hauck questions about the alleged incident, the student journalist was met with harsh words from the coach, who swore and attempted to cover up the tape recorder. Hauck later apologized for cursing at the student, but that hardly proved the end of things.

“Hauck can do what he wants, but the players won’t talk to us and that’s my main concern,” said Maier, who has been berated this week for the recent GameDay cover. She hopes Saturday’s GameDay featuring the Grizzly Marching Band will cause fewer tempers to flare.

Hauck refused to be interviewed for this story when contacted by the Missoulian.

It’s the student’s choice whether to talk to the media, said UM executive vice president Jim Foley. The athletes’ decision not to talk to the student newspaper is their own, he said. The university cannot force them.

When asked repeatedly whether Hauck’s conduct toward the students in recent weeks has been appropriate, Foley replied the same each time: “As public officials, we have to treat people with civility and be respectful.”

As far as moving forward, neither UM administrators nor the students know exactly how best to proceed.

Foley says all sides need to come together to find an understanding and common ground.

“I think the only thing that will heal it is time,” O’Day said. “That’s what happens in a case like this. New people. New situations. A time to reflect on everything. And that might take a little while.”

The Kaimin is not going to apologize for its reporting, Jones said. No one has disputed the facts in the story. The students, however, say in an attempt to move on, they will continue attending news conferences and asking football-related questions of both Hauck and the athletes.


RedHawks grounded in Athens

October 19, 2009
The Bobcats, not the RedHawks, flew high Saturday in Athens

The Bobcats, not the RedHawks, flew high Saturday in Athens

Playing in a small Ohio town named after the finish site of the fabled first marathon, the Bobcats ran all over their visiting conference rivals. The RedHawks, on the other hand, struggled to run anywhere.

Ohio University ripped off 226 rushing yards while only allowing 52 en route to a 28-7 victory over Miami University and their first 3-0 start in MAC play since 1997. The win gave OU its fourth consecutive triumph against the RedHawks and its largest margin of victory over MU since 1960.

“It was a total team loss,” head coach Mike Haywood said. “We didn’t play very well on offense, defense or special teams.”

Miami silenced Ohio’s homecoming crowd early with a 10-play opening drive for a touchdown. Redshirt freshman quarterback Zac Dysert orchestrated the attack with 71 yards on four completed passed, then carried the ball into the end zone himself on a one-yard touchdown run.

The score gave Miami a lead for only the second time all season. Against Kent State University the RedHawks held their margin for a fleeting 11 seconds. This time it took nine minutes for the lead to evaporate.

“I think we kind of lost our intensity a little bit,” Dysert said. “We came out real fired up and real energetic. We went down and scored and believed we could do that stuff all day. Then we got stopped and it took something out of us, I don’t know why.”

This sophomore back, who didn't even appear on OUs pregame two-deep depthc hard, gave Miami Donte's inferno with his Harden running

This sophomore back, who didn't even appear on OUs pregame two-deep depthc hard, gave Miami Donte's inferno with his Harden running

After Ohio’s initial drive of the game failed with pass-heavy play calling, Bobcat running back Donte Harden broke off consecutive rushes of 41 and 33 yards to jump start his team’s second possession. Two Miami penalties and two more Harden runs carried OU to its first of four scores.

Harden finished the game with 121 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. He split carries with L.J. Flintall who racked up 54 yards of his own and thus out gained Miami’s entire ground game by himself as Ohio’s secondary rusher.

“I was definitely surprised how well they were able to run the football,” Haywood said. “It really caught me off guard. We tried to do a few things at halftime to slow down the run but we are going to have to go back and look at the film to re-evaluate some of the things we are doing on defense.”

Haywood may also need to re-evaluate some of the things they are doing on offense. In particular, the run game continues to be grounded. Miami ranks 110 in the country with 88.3 rushing yards gained per game and 112 in the country with 2.8 yards per carry. These stats are actually inflated, as they include scrambles by Dysert.

Without and effective rushing attack, Miami’s offense becomes one-dimensional and extremely predictable. The RedHawk passing game faces many problems of its own, however, especially in the form of injuries. Miami lost wide out Eugene Harris III to a hamstring ailment and the timetable for his return is unknown. This leaves the RedHawks without three of its top receivers as Chris Givens sits out for the season and Dustin Woods continues to miss time with a hamstring injury of his own.

“It’s a makeshift group (of wide receivers) out there,” Haywood said. “You never know who’s going to be out there. I have to look up sometimes when the substitutions are going in.”

Saturday’s loss closed out a seven game stretch in which the RedHawks played six road games. The team now enters the home stretch of the season and will play four of its last five games in Oxford. Miami’s homecoming begins Saturday against Northern Illinois University. While linebacker Jerrell Wedge says the team is amped up for its return home, Haywood does not believe location alone affects performance on the field.

“We’re excited about playing at home but playing at home has nothing to do with the way we’ve played on the road,” Haywood said. “We have to become a better football team and that’s individual from the head coach down to the assistant coaches down to each individual player.”


Battle of the Bricks Live!

October 16, 2009

MUvOU

Hide your women and children. Miami’s siege of Athens commences at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon. For the faint at heart (and those who generally care about their personal hygiene) its best if you stay clear of Ohio University this weekend. Don’t worry though, I will be traveling into enemy territory to relay the carnage live right here on this blog.

Speaking of enemy territory, is this schedule for real? Who signed off on this? Six road games out of seven to start the season. Flat out ridiculous. If there is any consolation from this mess its that Miami gets to finish with four of five home games late in the season when the team might actually be capable of winning. It’s taking much longer than anyone ever hoped for or expected but I think slowly yet surely this football team is starting to figure itself out and buy into Haywood’s system. The youngsters are getting better. Sure there is still a ton of rust to dust off and kinks to untangle, but I legitimately think they can be playing winning football by the time those final two Thursday night home TV games roll around.

As for the Bobcats, however, let me be the bearer of bad news. They are playing winning football right now. OU’s only two losses are a 11-point loss at Tennessee and a seven-point loss to UConn. And for anyone hoping Miami kills the turnover bug once and for all this weekend, you should know that the Bobcats forced five last week against Akron.

The last line for the game I saw gave Miami 14 points. Lets hope its that close.

DK Kountry keys match ups:

Miami vs Rivalry?: When the RedHawks take on UC, there is no questioning the hate. The freaking urinals even say beat UC. A huge bell is a stake. How much more motivation could there possibly be? When the OU game rolls around, however, I always notice a distinct lack of said hate. Sure Follets and DuBois make those cute t-shirts with the little boy embracing the Miami girl and ignoring the one from OU. But other than that, does anyone really care? It sure didn’t help playing OU over Thanksgiving break the last few years (yet another scheduling blunder by the wonderful people who do such things). This so called rivalry just seems to have much more umph on the hardcourt than on the gridiron. I can say with certainty that most of the students on campus don’t care about this weekend’s game (I’m not sure they even know who we are playing); their extra day off for fall break is obviously more important ::roll eyes:: It remains to be seen if the Miami players (and coaches… especially those new to Oxford) hold the same attitude or not.

Zac Dysert vs Being a freshman: My man ZD has looked great in his first three starts under center for the RedHawks. Unfortunately, my boy has also look very much like the freshman he is as well. If Miami wants to win, he MUST stop turning the ball over and making such huge mental mistakes. He is loaded with athletic talent and one day will be a dynomite signal caller. Lets just hope that day comes sooner than later.

Miami vs Athens: In Greece, Athens was a center for knowledge and power. In Ohio, Athens is… well… not. That’s just about all I can say here without getting sued for libel or other such things journalists get in trouble for. I know libel only counts if it’s false, but my momma always told me if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. So… I really hope the Miami football team stays healthy and clean this weekend and doesn’t contract any dirty diseases. There, that’s nice, right?

Prediction: Between the Rams and RedHawks this season I have become one of the most depressed, cynical and pessimistic football fans in the history of the sport. I tried to stay positive at the beginning of the year, I really did. Just check all my early game predictions when I thought the RedHawks would score and what not. But yeah, losing takes its toll on even the strongest of fans, me included. I think OU wins everything Saturday, from the coin toss to the game to the spread. Hopefully my prediction success (or lack there of) will continue. Don’t count on it. RedHawks 10, Kittycats 27.

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1:45

Every die hard Miami fan seems to have a story about why they hate OU. After four full years in Oxford this was something I still lacked. I mean, sure I hated the Bobcats. They were OU and hate them is what Miami fans do. But I never really had a reason why. Well, now I do.

My drive to Athens started at 9:30 this morning. I was a nice, sunshiny day – cool and crisp but not cold. It didn’t take long, however, for me to run into trouble. Just past the intersection with OH-127, route 73 was closed. No detour signs anywhere, just closed. For out of towners like me who are not from the area, don’t carry a map of Ohio on hand and don’t own a GPS or magic phone, this poses quite the predicament.

I broke man law and stopped at a gas station for directions. The man was friendly and already had a map drawn to reroute me around the construction. It seemed simple enough. Too simple actually. So I made it harder and added a few wrong turns of my own.

Eventually I found my way. As I drove I noticed the sky growing increasingly darker, becoming more and more ominous as I approached the home of Miami’s arch nemesis. Twice more my hand written directions failed me. Only by a sequence of legitimate miracles did I stumble my way into Athens. At the stadium, no one seemed to know how to get to the press box. After a not-so-brief self-guided tour of Peden Stadium, I treated myself to an overdue, sub-par lunch.

This trip convinced me of three things: There is a God, I need either a magic phone or GPS for Christmas and I hate OU.

Now, lets play some football!

2:10

Miami lost the toss. Yup, I told you so. Ohio defers to give MU the ball. Dysert opens with a nice pass to Robinson then converts a third down three plays later. Its only two plays but he has a ton of time to throw. I’ve never seen him complete passes just standing in the pocket like that.

2:14

TOUCHDOWN MIAMI!!! That looked way too easy. Dysert isn’t even being breathed on by OU defenders much less touched. As a result he completed several passes down field from inside the pocket, including a strike to Robinson (from now on referred to as AR) on the one. Haywood tried the super power I formation (three RBs) again and got stuffed. Wow our run game sucks. Then he got smart and called a bootleg run with our most athletic (and beloved) player… Dysert. Mmmm, tasty.

2:19

OU just called a nice trick play. Some sort of fake but not fake reverse in the back field involving multiple players. Miami totally had it covered but the defender got juked out of his shoes which led to a huge gain for the Bobcats.

2:21

Nice man-to-man coverage by Jeff Thompson in the endzone. Saved a touchdown with no help anywhere to be found. Great route, great throw, great defense. We need more of that.

2:25

Ugh our run game looks awful. I think it is actually getting worse each week. I’ll take another round of Dysert please.

2:30

HAHAHAHA they just referred to Eugene as “Eugene Harris the third” over the PA. That made me smile inside (and smirk on the inside). Can we make this the official way of referring to him at all times from now on? If no one else does, I will.

Haywood just went for it on 4th and 1 from our own 40. I am actually getting used to this now. At least it doesn’t surprise me anymore. Thankfully he called a QB sneak and not a run. That’s another Miami… FIRST DOWN!

Woops, Dysert just launched the ball deep down field for a pick which served as a pretty good punt actually. I guess its a wash.

2:32

A few thoughts about the turnover. Yes, its another turnover. Yes these need to stop. But… for once this did not happen at a killer moment in the game. For once it did not give the ball to the other team in our territory. Mostly harmless all around. Bad decision, yes. Worst decision, no.

2:33

Well, I guess it doesn’t matter. OU just ripped off two HUGE runs in a row. They are now at the MU 5 yard line.

2:37

Ok I really have no idea what just happened. I’ll do my best here. Miami had the OU QB in the backfield. He basically was just grabbing on to his arms and pushing him backwards. Looked like a huge and important sack. Maybe he thought it was stopped forward progress maybe he just let him go, but for whatever reason the QB got away. He then rolled out to the left and threw an incomplete pass. Somewhere in all of this there was a roughing the QB penalty on Miami for an OU first down inside the 5. If any of that is factually incorrect I apologize.

2:39

touchdown ou. All tied up now. That entire drive makes me incredibly frustrated.

ps They have a cannon that shoots off after OU scores. I’ll admit that this is pretty cool… but not cool enough for me to want more OU scores.

2:48

Rain is starting to pick up. So is the defense from both teams. That’s all there really is to say right now.

2:49

I really need to stop saying anything positive about Miami… ever. Whenever I do the opposite immediately happens. You know, like a big third down conversion from OU right as I am complimenting the D.

OU’s back is averaging 17.2 yards per carry by the way.

2:51

OH NO! Ohio is punting but Eugene Harris III is not back to catch it. Some Miami player with a way less cool name is instead. Very disappointing.

2:54

Miami just gained yards on the ground and it wasn’t Dysert. Yes, that… just… happened!

2:57

Yikes, OU just got pressure on Dysert for the first time. Instead of taking off like he always does, however, he stood in to take the hit after his throw. Considering the result, it remains to be seen if that ever happens again.

3:04

touchdown ou. Another huge ground gain followed by a very nice pass and catch. After the score, the OU receiver proceeded to run all around his sideline, took a stop by the students to flex his muscles, then continued to run around. The funny part was that all his teammates were constantly running behind him hoping to help celebrate. Oblivious, he just ignored them and continued to prance. How prideful do you have to be to pull something like that?

Side note: if the respective running games continue as they have so far, Miami will end up getting crushed in this game.

3:07

Hehe (nervous laugh because I know I’m right). Dysert seems to think the same thing I do about the Miami ground game. He keeps taking more risks down field knowing that this game rests on his shoulders to produce. OU just dropped its second shoulda-been pick. This came right after a five yard loss on a run. Just sayin.

3:15

Whew. So Miami looked good on defense but knowing my record I wanted to wait until they got the ball back before saying anything. They force the three and out so I begin to type. What do ya know, its a roughing the kicker penalty. Of course. Luckily it was only a 5-yarder and not the 15-yard, automatic first down type. So Miami did play good defense and they did get the ball back, despite my jinxing efforts.

3:22

Here comes the rain… both literally and figuratively. Just as it starts to pour, Miami goes for another 4th and 1 near midfield. Zac gets caught in the back field, and, just like last week, refuses to throw the ball away. It looks like a massive sack. Then he somehow escapes and finds his RB for a dump off. It goes for a loss of 5 but coulda been a loss of 15. Either way Miami turns the ball over on downs and OU follows with a 13 yard pass.

Interesting side note. The guys behind me (somehow OU affiliated) were convinced there was no way Miami was actually going for it there, even after watching them do the same earlier in the game in a worse scenario and even watching the offense come out on the field. I informed them that Haywood is crazy and that they are actually going for it. They said “I guess when you’re 0-6 you go crazy.”

What they don’t know is that Haywood was crazy at 0-0. I still love the call but will love it less and less if we can’t run it. Usually those are simple pick ups on the ground, not crazy adventures for the QB everytime.

3:24

touchdown ou. That seems about right. How come I can acurately predict bad things happening to Miami but jinx them when I predict good stuff? Don’t tell me its cuz Miami always plays bad. That’s too easy of an explanation and I really don’t want to hear or admit that. Halftime score: Miami 7, OU 21.

HALFTIME

Minus the coin toss, this game started great for the RedHawks. They just played increasingly worse and the game progressed. There really isn’t much to add to my in-game commentary above. Basically Miami needs to run the ball better and stop the run better. I know that is like uber basic football strategy but that’s the story here. All of OUs big pass plays have come as a result of Miami bringing more guys up to the box for run support. Funny how that works. Its almost like I learned that from pee-wee football (which I didn’t play) or from listening to a John Madden broadcast (no wait, that’s too complicated of a concept for him… lets just stick with the made up pee-wee coaching anecdote).

In other news, OSU sucks. When it was 26-7 I tweeted “HAHA OSU. The last few years they couldn’t win the big game against the SEC. Now they can’t even beat a less than mediocre Big 10 team.” Then OSU made it 26-18 and I remembered I’m not allowed to say stuff like that before it happens. Luckily Purdue held true to its name and finished the upset. I got worried that they would blow it and have to be renamed Pur-don’t.

3:53

OU’s opening drive looks quite similar to the other three it scored on. A big ground game, followed by Miami brining more guys up, followed by a big pass play. This could get out of hand quickly.

Spoke too soon once again. I am freakishly good at that. Miami holds, but mostly on luck. On third and long, the OU QB make a nice move in the back field to escape a Miami defender. He had tons of room to run but chose to pass instead. Almost threw a pick. They then tried a fake field goal. Miami mostly had it covered but OU dropped a very good pass that would have put them inside the 10. Instead, Miami ball at the 28.

(The internet is on the fritz here… please excuse the delayed updates of the already delayed updates)

4:03

Some halftime stats. This is fact, not opinion by the way. OU RB Donte Harden gained 100 yards on 8 carries for a TD and a 12.4 avg. Two other OU ball carriers each had one rush, one for 19 and the other for 25. Miami RBs Merriweather and Green combined for 18 yards on 12 carries for no touchdowns and a just under 1.5 avg. Just sayin.

PS If Haywood tells me college stats are skewed because they count sacks as rushing yards (what he said last time I brought up the ground game futility) I might actually speak up this time.

4:10

Ok let me try to get you up to speed as I battle this terrible internet connection.

Miami muffed OUs punt. I think Eugene Harris III is injured because I haven’t seen him since the first drive of the game. This looked like a knockout punch for the Hawks as it gave OU the ball deep in MU territory. Jerrell Wedge came to the rescue and picked off a pass. This freshman has looked super good all year. Miami did nothing with the turnover. They actually lost yards on the drive. Then OU blocked the punt to take over on the 8 yard line. Knock out punch – take two.

4:15

HUGE defensive stand for Miami. Then OU fumbles the snap on a FG try to give the ball back without scoring at all. Big bullet dodged… for now.

4:18

Miami’s lack of a running game continues to haunt the Hawks. Backed up against their own endzone they fail to get anything going once again. Then again, a punt past midfield isn’t that bad of wash from the mess they were in.

4:22

I was told at halftime that OSU serves McFlurries in its press box. Can we please make this an industry standard.

4:29

Knockout punch – take three. OU finds a WIDE OPEN receiver deep down field on the sideline. He manages to step on the sideline before scoring but still takes it to the 3ish.

4:32

Ding, ding… there’s the bell. OU scores on a one yard TD run up the middle. This game is so over now. Time to look up a new way to get back to Oxford on mapquest for the ride home. Miami 7, Ohio 28.

4:36

Miami’s offense looks lost. They need Jesus.

4:42

OU backup QB = defensive stop for MU

4:48

Another not-so-fake 4th down attempt called by Haywood. Dysert gets all day to throw but still finds a green jersey on an overthrown ball. Its another throwing punt for Miami. I still agree with the call and still hate the execution.

4:56

Sorry I kinda just stopped posting there at the end. I started caring a lot more about my drive home than the football game. Actually, that’s a pretty good summary of how the game went for the last few drives. Relatively uneventful. Now its official. Miami 7, Ohio 28. Self-administered pat on the back for my pre-game prediction (see above… its my first good one all season!). Thanks for tuning in. Pray for my ride back.


OU again… this is awkward

October 13, 2009
No caption needed here

No caption needed here

Its Halloween all year long in Athens... and on a college campus (if you can call OU college) you know what that means

Its Halloween all year long in Athens... and on a college campus (if you can call OU college) you know what that means