Raudabaugh benched in favor of Dysert

September 22, 2009
Haywood sacked Raudabaugh this week and will start his quarterback of the future instead. Is it now officially a rebuilding year for the RedHawks?

Haywood sacked Raudabaugh this week and will start his quarterback of the future instead. Is it now officially a rebuilding year for the RedHawks?

Fifth-year senior Daniel Raudabaugh practiced with the second stringers today. Afterwards, head coach Mike Haywood confirmed that redshirt freshman Zac Dysert will start at quarterback for the RedHawks against Kent State University Saturday.

“We believe that we should be more effective on offense,” Haywood said. “The staff felt it was a great opportunity to put Dysert into the starting lineup so that we could do the things that we do best on offense. Zac’s quick passing game and his ability to run the football will help us succeed.”

Dysert has only attempted 11 passes during his collegiate career, five of which went for completions and two of which went for interceptions. The redshirt freshman threw his first touchdown for Miami Saturday against Westen Michigan University and has never started a game for the RedHawks. Comparatively, Raudabaugh has completed 59 of 111 passes this year with five interceptions and two touchdowns.

Haywood noted that the offense will look different against the Golden Flashes since Dysert brings a different skill set to the table than Raudabaugh and thus the team must adjust accordingly. He believes Dysert is more athletic, more of a runner and the passing game will be quicker under his direction. Since Saturday will be the youngster’s first career start, Haywood plans to reduce the amount of reads he gives him.

Overall, Haywood stated that this is an opportunity for the team to move forward and gives Dysert a chance to develop as a quarterback. Haywood noted vast improvement in Dysert’s performance and confidence from his first game action against Boise State University to his second appearance Saturday against WMU. In Boise he threw a pick on his first career pass and finished the night two of four with one yard and two interceptions. In Kalamazoo he went 3 of 7 with no interceptions and one touchdown. He also ran four times for 32 yards.

In addition to Dysert’s increase in stats from game to game, Haywood also noted a decrease in the size of his eyes.

“He did a nice job when he went into the game (at Western Michigan),” Haywood said. “He showed awareness and scramble-ability, and he showed much more confidence that he did the week before at Boise. His eyes weren’t as big as saucers anymore.”

Haywood hopes his team can rally around a redshirt freshman at quarterback

Haywood hopes his team can rally around a redshirt freshman at quarterback


Merriweather takes back starting job

August 31, 2009


Apparently getting demoted in favor of a freshman was exactly the kick in the butt that Thomas Merriweather needed. After looking up at Danny Green from the two spot for most of fall camp, the junior back reclaimed his spot as starter.

“He just did a better job than the other guys at that position,” Haywood said. “He had great hustle and kept fighting to get his job back. He played a lot better.”

Only speculation can decide if Haywood planned on this all along or not. After the first fall scrimmage he moved Green ahead of Merriweather on the running back depth chart. With hindsight being 20/20, it now may appear that he was simply doing this as a mere motivation tool. Whether coach truly favored the freshman at the time or not, its seems his moved payed off for everyone in the end. After taking a healthy share of snaps with the first unit, Green has developed into a solid second option at back. Meanwhile, Merriweather kicked himself into another gear to become an even better player than before and now Haywood has his true starter back.

Merriweather played in 10 games during 2008. He rushed for three touchdowns against Charleston Southern and totaled 547 yards on the season.

WR Eugene Harris returns to practice

August 31, 2009


Sidelined by a summer surgery on his leg, Eugene Harris found the football field for the first time this season. Haywood remains unsure if he will take the field Saturday but admits this is a huge step in getting Harris back into playing condition. Harris is projected to be the RedHawks’ top punt returner in 2009 after a tremendous 2008 special teams campaign in which he scored twice. He also has grabbed 81 passes over the past two seasons.

Running back Taylor leaves RedHawks

August 31, 2009


Coach Haywood announced on Twitter this evening that sophomore running back JR Taylor left the team. This departure feels much like that of former QB Clay Belton, who also left the team two weeks earlier. Like Belton, Taylor found himself farther down on the depth chart than he envisioned himself. In 2008 he ran for over 100 yards in consecutive games and received the game ball in Miami’s only MAC victory of the season. This year, however, Haywood buried Taylor behind three other running backs on the depth chart. According to Haywood’s twitter post, Taylor will continue attending Miami University.

Michigan FB transfers to Miami

August 31, 2009


Coach Haywood wanted to implement the fullback position into the RedHawk offense and now he may have his man. Vince Helmuth, a 6’1″ 291 lb junior transfer from the University of Michigan, appeared at practice with the Miami football team today. At first glance it is easy to mistake his large frame for that of an offensive lineman. In 2007 scouts.com ranked him the No. 1 player at his position and gave him a four-star position rating. Haywood said Helmuth still has to go through a five-day activation period. Since he is a transfer student, he will not see action beyond the scout team this year.

“He’s big, real big,” junior defensive captain Jordan Gafford said. “He’ll be a good player. He’s a big boy.”

Helmuth played in 14 games for the Wolverines. He is listed as a defensive tackle on the Michigan athletics website but served mostly in roles as fullback and on special teams. When coach Rich Rodriguez took over at Michigan, he eliminated the fullback position, which is why Helmuth decided to transfer.

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Top WR Dustin Woods returns to practice

August 24, 2009

Senior wide out Dustin Woods practiced for the first time today since pulling his hamstring in the opening week of fall camp. He was seen running routes and fielding punts. Woods is projected to be the top receiver and kick returner for Miami, and second string punt returner. His teammates voted him offensive captain for this year, a fact that coach Haywood believes is a true testament to Woods’ character considering all the practice time he missed. Coach said he is expected to start against Kentucky in Miami’s season opener September 5.

dustin woods

QB Clay Belton leaves RedHawks

August 24, 2009

Coach Haywood announced this morning via Twitter that QB Clay Belton asked for his release. I spoke with coach after practice to get the full scoop and there really isn’t much to report. Haywood said Belton left Saturday right after the team scrimmage. Belton’s future plans are unknown to his former coach, who speculated that the quarterback left because he and his parents were unhappy with the depth chart.

Rumors on Hawk Talk reported Belton nearly transferred in the middle of last season. Then head coach Shane Montgomery insisted these to be mere rumors and that the situation was being kept in house. Belton came to Miami in 2007 touted as the next Ben Roethlisberger. He redshirted in his first year and saw limited playing time in the 2008 season.

In high school Belton passed for more than 4,400 yards and 44 touchdowns in 2005 and 2006. He earned first-team conference accolades as a junior, throwing for 2,700 yards and 30 TDs.

With Belton out, Haywood said freshman Austin Boucher slides into the third spot on the RedHawk depth chart. Some speculate that the freshman QB who turned down offers at Ohio State, Cincinnati and Stanford to play at Miami will redshirt this year. Coach said that is not official yet and will depend on the health and play of Raudabaugh and Dysert.