The Bearcats continue one of the oldest rivlaries in the nation tomorrow night as they take on the Miami University Redhawks. People called them J.Crew U when I went to UC. I don't know if that's actually funny, but it's very memorable because I remember it. If I remember it, that means it's gospel. With the game 30 hours away, let's take a look into Miami with Matt Sledge, one of the administrators from the great Miami Hawk Talk. Follow Miami Hawk Talk on twitter as well. They do a great job. I'm a big fan of their work.
Questions in bold.
Zach Dysert has been incredible to say the least this season. Has his play been the natural evolution of his career, or is he just playing like a mad man?
I'd say it's a natural evolution of his career. He's projected to go in the second to third round of the draft, so he has that going for him. The numbers he put up at Akron were absurd, and that's because Akron decided that defense wasn't going to be necessary.
Dysert is the leading rusher for the Redhawks after his historic performance against Akron. Is he going to be the primary rusher on Saturday, or is there more to look for?
Dysert was the leading rusher but that's an aberration. Miami's still going tailback-by-committee, so it could be any number of rushers that will line up on Saturday.
Have you ever seen a better performance from a Miami quarterback than Dysert put up last week (516 passing yards, 6 TDs, 108 rushing yards) ?
I saw all of Ben Roethlisberger's games at Yager and remember his final year rather well. Ben his last year was just nuts minus the Iowa game, but then Dysert doesn't have all of the talent surrounding him that Ben did. That's not a knock on Zac, but everything came together as a perfect storm for Miami in 2003. To answer the question: I have, and it was Ben.
Dawan Scott just put up 200 yards receiving and has 441 yards on the season. How has he filled the roll of the injured Nick Harwell?
Filling Harwell's role has been ... interesting. You have Scott, and also Andy Cruse (out of Turpin) who has been a highlight and stepped it up in Harwell's absence. So far, we've had guys fill in roles well when one does get injured.
Do you think he can fill the void of Harwell's numbers from last season vs the Bearcats (6 catches, 149 yards)?
I think he can, but I also would like to see the ball spread out to all the receivers and get some play from the tight end in there, too.
Miami has picked off 7 passes, 3 by Pat Hinkel. Do you think they can capitalize on potential mistakes by Munchie Legaux, or do the numbers not tell the whole story?
Of course I can think Miami can capitalize on the mistakes from Munchie (By the way, Best. Name. EVER.), that's why I'm a Miami fan. ;) But seriously, our D hasn't been the best this year - while it held up in the first half against Ohio State and Boise, the second half wasn't very pretty. On the other hand, those were the two toughest
teams we will play this year so that may not be a fair barometer of the D. Also, Akron was another story entirely - I think both teams met before the game and said, "Hey guys, screw the defense. Let's just score a buttload of points". I'm anxious to see how the guys will hold up on Saturday.
Most UC fans probably only saw Miami go up against Ohio State. How has the team looked since that game?
Miami looked good for the first quarter and change against the Buckeyes, then Urban decided to get the boys roaring. The second game against Div. II Illinois State, some would say we looked "reserved" but won that. Boise State? See OSU. As for the UMass game... that was another game we should have won handily according to some fans, but it was a league win. And Akron? Covered that one already. It's my belief that Treadwell has been using the non-conference games to get the team
ready to go for the league slate and this game. My main concerns are the defense, and having a solid running game. Taking the Akron game out of the equation, we haven't had a consistent rusher. Hopefully all cylinders will be firing on Saturday so that we can really see how Miami stacks up. As long as the coaches let Zach rip, it will be
exciting to watch - they've seemed to reign him in a bit this year so far minus the Akron game. Overall, I'd say it's it's been a bit underwhelming - but the Akron game showed some fun sparks simply because of the offensive battle. Hopefully we'll see some of that on Saturday.
Miami played Cincinnati pretty close until the second half lastseason. Do you think they can keep it close this season?
Ooooh, boy. I hope so. As long as the D holds up, anything is possible. I just hope there isn't another first-half meltdown like there was two years ago. That was embarrassing and a major low-light in what was a special season for that team.
UC has won 6 in a row over the Redhawks. How long do you think the streak will last before Miami can rebuild?
Man, you're making it sound like we don't have a chance on Saturday (kidding). Playing at Nippert is tough. This six years is the longest stretch in the history of the series that one team has held the Victory Bell. Treadwell knows the history and rivalry of the series so hopefully he gets it in the heads of the team that this is a must win. Miami's had an interesting stretch over the last six years - three different head coaches (Montgomery, Haywood, and Treadwell), so consistency there has been an issue. Some of the fifth year seniors on the team will have played for all three coaches. I think we have the talent to win it this year, but it's going to be a fierce battle and UC is no pushover. If we don't win, the sun will still come up tomorrow. I have all the confidence in the world with Treadwell - he doesn't seem to be wanting to use Miami as a stepping stone (yet), loves the school since he is an alum, and should be around a while to get things back to where they should be ... like the Victory Bell in
Oxford on a yearly basis.
On a more personal note, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Greg Ruehlmann - aka gruehls - at the beginning of the year. He always came over to our forums during game week and gave us all absolute hell, but he also respected Miami and was a great person to interact with. It feels a little 'off' this week without him here, but he's been in my thoughts this week as I know he was a huge supporter of UC.
Also, I have a ton of respect for UC and what you guys have accomplished. I am glad that this game - and rivalry - continues. Here's hoping it sticks around for a long time.
Tons of thanks to Matt from Miami Hawk Talk. I've always thought of Miami as the Ohio university that no one hated, except Xavier fans but who cares what Xavier fans say, stop losing to them in basketball, jerks. Be sure to visit Miami Hawk Talk and check them out on twitter.