On December 3, 2013, Miami (OH) tapped Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin to be the team's 35th head coach. Following Earl Blaik, Sid Gilman, Woody Hayes, George Little, Bo Schembechler, and Ara Parseghian, among others, Martin has big shoes to fill. In 2011 and 2012, the team struggled a pair of 4 - 8 records. Then the shoe dropped off last year as the team lost every single game, going 0 - 12, thus precipitating the change in leadership.
Miami comes to UB 0-4 this year but do not let the record fool you. The Redhawks have so far played Cincinnati, Michigan, Eastern Kentucky, and Marshall, with all games closer than you would think. This past Saturday, Miami lost to cross-city rival Cincinnati 31-24 in the battle for the Victory Bell. The early line for this game was 29. Miami also lost to Eastern Kentucky 17-10 and was respectable vs Michigan 31-10 and Marshall 42-27, though the Wolverines look worse and worse each week.
So what about the team that Buffalo will face this week? Like UB, the coach is a Brian Kelly disciple, but Miami has pulled some of the Notre Dame recruits (3 transfers) and four assistant coaches to Oxford. Martin was a defensive coordinator at Grand Valley State while Jeff Quinn was on the other side of the ball. When Kelly left and Quinn followed, Martin took the GVSU head coaching position. All he did was go 74 - 7 in six years and win two National Titles in 2005 - 2006 (I think it was still called Div. 2 back then?). In his time at Notre Dame, Martin coached both sides of the ball; something you do not see very often at the highest levels of college football. Miami, like Buffalo, has five returning starters from 2013 up front. Miami did lose their best CB in school history, Dayonne Nunley, as well as Wes Williams and Austin Brown up front. Miami is solid at linebacker with junior middle LB Kent Kern (99 Tackles) and junior weakside LB Josh Dooley (87 Tackles)
Behind center for the Redhawks will be Andrew Hendrix, who connected on 13 of 26 attempts for 262 yards with 2 TDs and one interception against Cincinnati. Hendrix can scramble and throw on the run, which will be an issue for the Bulls. Watch out for David Frazier who last week had 162 yards and two touchdowns on five catches. Who is Buffalo going to put on Frazier, a receiver who accounted for 62% of the total air offense. Striggles?
Miami has struggled to run the ball and that will help take the pressure off the secondary. Miami has lost 20 straight games and has not beaten a team since Ohio.
The Bulls will be able to move the ball on the ground and in the air, as they have in all four games this season. The secondary last year for Miami was terrible and lost its best player but against its opponents this year is playing hard and above their skill level. This game *should* be an easier victory for the Bulls. The team needs to get pressure on Hendrix and keep him in the pocket. Miami is still a couple of years away from contention in the MAC but don't sleep on this team. If the Bulls look forward to the game that every fan and player has circled on the schedule - Bowling Green next weekend - it could bite them in the rear. The Bulls need to smash this team early, get up early, and not look back and move their record to 3-2. This is UB's homecoming game and the weather looks to be perfect for September football with a high of 73 and partly cloudy. This game will go a very long way to show the fans who the Bulls really are.