NCF Nation: Miami-Ohio RedHawks

Video: Miami (OH) upsets No. 24 Ohio

October, 27, 2012

Zac Dysert threw for 311 yards and a touchdown to lead Miami (OH) over No. 24 Ohio 23-20.
Cincinnati got off to a slow start in its game against Miami (Ohio) but finished with an emphatic statement, winning 52-14 for its seventh consecutive victory in the second-oldest FBS rivalry.

The RedHawks took a quick 6-0 lead and quarterback Zac Dysert had early success finding some holes in the Cincinnati defense. But that all changed when Camerron Cheatham returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter. That play seemed to wake up the Bearcats, who ended up cruising to the victory.

After taking a 24-14 lead into halftime, Cincinnati played a dominant second half, outscoring Miami 28-0. Cincinnati ended up tying the record for most points scored by any one team in the 117-year history of the Victory Bell rivalry.

George Winn had 16 carries for 128 yards and two touchdowns, while Munchie Legaux scored three total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). The Bearcats had terrific success on the ground, racking up 272 total yards. Coach Butch Jones pulled his starters in the fourth quarter, and Brendon Kay finished out the game at quarterback.

The Bearcats are now 4-0 and almost assured of a ranking in the AP top 25. They did what they had to do against an overmatched opponent: They won decisively. Next up: FCS Fordham.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

November, 7, 2011
Here are the non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each conference.


Offense: Nick Fanuzzi, QB, Rice. Fanuzzi had career highs with 405 yards passing, 30 completions and 439 yards of total offense, while throwing three touchdowns and leading Rice to a 41-37 win over UTEP. Fanuzzi helped lead the Owls to the third-highest offensive output in school history with 671 yards.

Defense: Curnelius Arnick, LB, Tulsa. Arnick had a career-best 19 tackles, including 12 solos and one tackle for loss, as well as one pass breakup in a 24-17 road victory over UCF.

Special teams: Tracey Lampley, PR, Southern Miss. Lampley returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown in a win at East Carolina. It was his first punt return for a touchdown since his freshman year in 2009.


East Division

Offense: Donte’ Harden, RB, Ohio. Harden had a school-record 322 all-purpose yards (184 rushing, 75 receiving and 63 return yards) and scored a pair of touchdowns in a 35-31 win over Temple.

Defense: Jerrell Wedge, LB, Miami (Ohio). Wedge had nine tackles and a fumble recovery in a 35-3 victory over Akron.

Special teams: Rob Hollomon, KR, Kent State. Hollomon averaged 35.7 yards on three kick returns in a 24-21 win over Central Michigan.

West Division

Offense: Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois. Harnish threw six touchdown passes, the second-most in MAC history, to lead Northern Illinois to a 63-60 shootout victory at Toledo. Harnish also rushed 16 times for 133 yards to account for 398 yards of total offense.

Defense: Dan Molls, LB, Toledo. Molls had 17 tackles and one tackle for loss in a 63-60 loss to Northern Illinois

Special teams: Tommylee Lewis, KR, Northern Illinois. Lewis became only the 13th player in NCAA FBS history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game when he scored on back-to-back kickoff returns for Northern Illinois in a 63-60 win at Toledo. Lewis brought the opening kickoff back 100 yards. After Toledo scored, he returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for the score.

Mountain West

Offense: Waymon James, RB, TCU. Rushed for a career-high 181 yards on 12 carries in a 31-20 win at Wyoming. James, who had a career-long 74-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter, had 117 yards on five carries in the final period.

Defense: Jon Davis, DB, Air Force. Davis tied a career-high with 12 tackles as Air Force captured the Commander-In-Chief Trophy for the second consecutive year with a 24-14 victory over Army.

Special teams: Parker Herrington, PK, Air Force. Kicked a career-high three field goals in a 24-14 win over Army. Herrington improved to 10-of-10 on the season inside 40 yards.

Sun Belt

Offense: Ryan Aplin, QB, Arkansas State. Aplin accounted for five touchdowns in leading Arkansas State to a 39-21 victory at FAU. Aplin rushed for 49 yards and four touchdowns and completed 24 of 37 passes for 244 yards and another score.

Defense: Devon Lewis-Buchanan, LB, ULL. Lewis-Buchanan had a career-high 12 tackles, including 11 solo, in a 36-35 win over Louisiana-Monroe. He also had three tackles for loss and a pass breakup in the win.

Special teams: Brett Baer, K, ULL. Baer perfectly executed an onside kick late in the game against ULM, allowing Ladarius Green to recover the kick at the ULM 39 to set up the game-winning score.


Offense: Colby Cameron, QB, Louisiana Tech. Cameron completed 19 of 33 passes for 376 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions in Louisiana Tech’s 41-21 win at Fresno State.

Defense: Travis Johnson, DE, San Jose State. Johnson tied a school record with four sacks in a loss to Idaho. One of his sacks resulted in San Jose State’s first safety in seven years. He had a total of 10 tackles and a fumble recovery.

Special teams: Stanley Morrison, WR, Utah State. Executed two successful fake punts in a 35-31 comeback win at Hawaii. In the second quarter, he rushed for 8 yards on fourth-and 4 and then in the second half, he threw a 23-yard pass on fourth-and-5 to Joe Hill for a first down.

Non-AQ players of the week

October, 31, 2011
Here are the non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each conference. The independent players are chosen by a nationwide media panel.

Conference USA

Offense: Case Keenum, QB, Houston. Keenum threw for 534 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns, breaking the NCAA mark for career touchdown passes in a 73-34 win over Rice.

Defense: Milton Howell, DB, Tulsa. Howell tied school and conference records with three interceptions for 44 return yards a 38-7 win over SMU.

Special teams: Tyron Carrier, KR, Houston. Carrier tied the NCAA FBS all-time record with his seventh career kickoff return (matching Clemson’s C.J. Spiller). Carrier returned the opening kickoff 100 yards.


Offense: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Floyed had six receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown in Notre Dame’s 56-14 home win over Navy. Floyd and his first career rushing touchdown in a win over Navy.

Defense: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame. Te'o had a game-high 13 tackles including 2 1/2 tackles for loss.

Special teams: J.D. Falslev, KR, BYU. With the Cougars trailing 35-13 late in the third quarter, Falslev returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown --BYU’s first punt return for a touchdown since Nov. 9, 2006, a span of 64 games.


East Division

Offense: Zac Dysert, QB, Miami. Dysert went 20-for-25 for 313 yards and a record-tying five touchdowns in a 41-13 victory over Buffalo. Dysert now has 7,166 career passing yards, ranking second behind only Ben Roethlisberger (10,829).

Defense: Luke Batton, LB, Kent State. Had 10 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry in a win over Bowling Green.

Special Teams: Freddy Cortez, K, Kent State. Went 2-for-2 on field goal attempts against Bowling Green.

West Division

Offense: Jordan White, WR, Western Michigan. White became the school's career receptions leader in a 45-35 win over Ball State with nine catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns. White holds the record with 261 career receptions and is over 1,000 yards for the season.

Defense: Johnnie Simon, Western Michigan. Had 10 tackles, a pass break up, two hurries and his second career interception in a 45-35 win over Ball State.

Special Teams: David Harman, K, Central Michigan. Kicked a career-high three field goals and accounted for nearly half of Central Michigan's points in a 23-22 win at Akron.

Mountain West

Co-offense: Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming. Ronnie Hillman, RB, San Diego State. Smith threw for a career-best 341 yards and scored four total touchdowns in a 30-27 upset over San Diego State. Hillman had 25 times for 224 yards and two touchdowns. His 99-yard touchdown in the third quarter was the longest rush in the nation in 2011 and is also the longest in MW history. Hillman also had a 71-yard touchdown reception, finished with a career-high 305 all-purpose yards.

Co-Defense: James Dunlap, DL, UNLV. Jonathan Anderson, S, TCU. Dunlap had a career-high 4.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, seven tackles and a forced fumble in a 38-35 win over Colorado State. Anderson finished with a career-high and team-best 17 tackles and recorded his first career interception in a 38-28 win over BYU.

Special teams: Deante' Purvis, KR, UNLV. Had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and posted 202 total yards on five kick returns in a 38-35 win over Colorado State.

Sun Belt

Offense: Alonzo Harris, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette. Harris ran for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Middle Tennessee, and became the first Cajuns running back to post a 100-yard game since 2009.

Defense: Melvin White, DB, ULL. White had an interception, fumble recovery and seven tackles in the win over Middle Tennessee.

Special Teams: Jack Griffin, K, FIU. Griffin tied a career-best with three field goals in a 23-20 overtime win over Troy. Griffin kicked a 20-yarder that tied the score with 3:31 to go in regulation, then won the game with a 22-yarder in overtime.


Offense: Cody Fajardo, QB, Nevada. Went 19-of-29 passes for 283 yards with no interceptions and rushed 13 times for 60 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-34 win at New Mexico State. Nevada trailed 27-20 at halftime before Fajardo scored two third-quarter touchdowns to give the Wolf Pack the lead for good.

Defense: Aaron Brown, LB, Hawaii. Had a team-high nine tackles (five solo), including 1.5 for a loss, and an interception in a 16-14 win over Idaho.

Special teams: Kenton Chun, K, Hawaii. Kicked a game-winning 35-yard field goal with 32 seconds remaining in a victory at Idaho. Chun also made a 27-yard field goal. Entering the game, he had one career field goal attempt, making a 38-yarder in the season opener against Colorado.

Weekend Rewind: Non-AQs

September, 19, 2011
Let's take a look back at the weekend that was for the non-AQs:

The good: FIU pulled off yet another big win, this one against UCF, 17-10. The Panthers are 3-0 for the first time in school history and received votes in both polls for the first time in school history. They did it without star receiver T.Y. Hilton, who hurt his hamstring. But coach Mario Cristobal says his star player should be fine. ... Trent Steelman had a terrific game for Army, scoring three touchdowns in a 21-14 win over Northwestern. It was Army's first win over a team from a Big Ten team since 1988 -- which also was the last time it played a team from that conference. And that team was -- Northwestern. ... Ohio is 3-0 for the first time since 1976 after beating Marshall 44-7. ... Ronnie Hillman had 191 yards rushing and four touchdowns in a 42-24 win over Washington State and is now the second-leading rusher in the nation. Hillman is tied for the national lead in rushing touchdowns with eight this season.

The bad: Perhaps bad is a kind way of describing BYU's performance against Utah. The Cougars and Utes generally play a tough, close game. Twelve of the previous 14 meetings had been decided by a touchdown or less. Then came Saturday. BYU had seven turnovers -- three from quarterback Jake Heaps -- and lost 54-10 to its biggest rival. Incredibly, the score was 14-10 at halftime. But one mistake after another snowballed, and BYU faces some serious questions heading into its game against UCF on Friday night.

The upset: If you had asked for any non-AQ game considered a lock for a win Saturday, you probably would have picked Hawaii over UNLV. The Warriors came in as 20-point favorites, have a win over Colorado already this season and played Washington well. But the Rebels shocked the Warriors in one of the more stunning upsets of the day, winning 40-20. I admit it. I did a double-take when I saw the score. Hawaii had four fumbles, 6 yards rushing and converted 1-of-9 third-down opportunities in the disappointing loss. UNLV had scored 24 combined points in its first two losses of the season to Wisconsin and Washington State. But perhaps the UNLV victory should not come as a huge shock. UNLV has beaten Hawaii four of the last five times they have played in Sam Boyd Stadium.

Then there is Western Kentucky, which lost for the 17th straight time at home. Only this loss was to FCS Indiana State 44-16. It was Indiana State's first win over an FBS opponent since 2001.

The oh-so-close: Navy played with South Carolina every step of the way in its game, taking a 21-17 lead into the fourth quarter. But South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore was just too much to contain as he ran for 246 yards and three touchdowns in the 24-21 win. ... Temple was right there with Penn State as well, holding a 10-7 lead until late in the fourth quarter. But for the second straight season, the Nittany Lions squeaked out a close victory, breaking Owls' hearts again.

The comeback: The common knock on Houston is that the Cougars generally lose at least one game a season that they should not. That looked to be happening against Louisiana Tech, as Houston trailed 34-7 with 5:11 to go in the third quarter. But alas, the Cougars have Case Keenum, who engineered a furious rally. Houston scored the final 28 points of the game to cap the biggest comeback in school history and win 35-34. Keenum began the rally with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Edwards, and he ended it with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Edwards with 1:36 remaining in the game. Keenum has now engineered three of the top four biggest comebacks in Houston history. In addition to this one, he rallied Houston from 19 points down against UTEP in a 42-37 win in 2008; and from 17 points down against UAB in a 45-20 win, also in 2008.

The heartbreak: Bowling Green had a furious late fourth quarter rally, overcoming a 28-14 deficit when Matt Schilz threw touchdown passes on two straight drives. But Wyoming blocked the game-tying extra point with 3 seconds left to hold on and win 28-27. Wyoming is 3-0 for the first time since 1996. ... San Jose State was 15 yards away from pulling off one of its biggest wins in years. The Spartans trailed Nevada 17-7 in the fourth quarter before Matt Faulkner delivered one touchdown drive and had his team marching down the field for another. But his pass in the end zone was intercepted by Duke Williams with 1:10 left and the Wolf Pack survived 17-14. The road is much tougher for Nevada next, with games at Texas Tech and at Boise State. ... Miami (Ohio) knows the feeling. Zac Dysert had a pass broken up in the end zone as time expired, and the RedHawks lost to Minnesota 29-23.

Milestone watch: TCU coach Gary Patterson earned his 100th career victory as the Horned Frogs’ head coach in a 38-17 win over ULM Patterson is 100-29 in 11 seasons, and needs 10 more wins to surpass Dutch Meyer (109-79-13, 1934-52) as TCU’s all-time winningest coach. Meyer coached TCU to its 1935 and 1938 national championships. Patterson is one of nine active head coaches to have 100 wins at their current school.

Helmet stickers

Ryan Griffin, QB, Tulane. Went 22-of-26 for 281 yards and tied a career high with three touchdown passes in a 49-10 win over UAB.

Logan Harrell, DT, Fresno State. Recorded a career-high 11 tackles and tied his career high with 4.5 tackles for a loss in a 27-22 win over North Dakota.

Kellen Moore, Boise State. Completed 32 of 42 passes for 455 yards and five touchdowns in a win over Toledo. The 32 completions is a single-game career high for Moore, while the five touchdowns tied his career high. The five passing TDs also tied the MWC single-game record for most by a senior. The 42 pass attempts were second most in his career, as were his 455 yards.

Trent Steelman, QB, Army. Ran the ball 28 times for 108 yards and three touchdowns in a 21-14 win over Northwestern. It was his second straight three-touchdown rushing effort.

Jordan White, WR, Western Michigan. Had 13 receptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns in Western Michigan's 44-14 win over Central Michigan. White moved into fourth place on the career receptions list at WMU with 195, is now third in career 100-yard receiving games (13) and is tied for seventh in career receiving TDs (17).

Melvin White, DB, Louisiana. Returned a blocked field goal 68 yards for a touchdown to break a tie and help the Ragin Cajuns beat Nicholls State 24-7. He also forced a fumble that led to the first score of the game.
Miami (Ohio) and Toledo were picked to win their respective divisions in the MAC preseason media poll released Tuesday. Toledo was the choice to finish as MAC champion.

Miami edged Ohio as the champ in the East by one point, while Toledo edged Northern Illinois in the West by two points.

The RedHawks return 17 starters from a team that went 10-4 last season and won the MAC championship. Miami capped a dramatic turnaround to become the first program in college football FBS history to go from double digit losses (1-11 in 2009) to double digit wins (10-4 in 2010) in consecutive years and become the most improved program in the country. They do have a new coach this season in Don Treadwell.

Ohio actually received more first-place votes in the East.

Toledo also returns 17 starters, including receiver Eric Page, who was named to four All-America teams in 2010.

The complete poll:

Team (First Place Votes) Points

MAC East Division

1. Miami (4) 97

2. Ohio (8) 96

3. Temple (4) 88

4. Kent State 57

5. Bowling Green 48

6. Buffalo 37

7. Akron 25

MAC West Division

1. Toledo (8) 83

2. Northern Illinois (5) 81

3. Western Michigan (2) 76

4. Central Michigan (1) 55

5. Ball State 27

6. Eastern Michigan 24
Miami (Ohio) running back Tracy Woods is no longer a part of the football team, coach Don Treadwell announced in a statement Thursday.

The statement gave no word on the reason behind the move, saying only that Woods had been officially released from the team. Woods was expected to be the starter at running back with the departure of senior Thomas Merriweather. Last season, Woods ran for 376 yards and a touchdown, and caught 18 passes for 151 yards.

Vote: Non-AQ disappointment

May, 13, 2011
You had your chance to vote on potential surprise non-AQ teams for 2011. So now we have to take a look at the opposite: teams that could be disappointments in 2011.

I picked teams that I thought had a chance to either fall from the rankings or have down seasons because of coaching changes. Miami (Ohio) made one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA history in 2010, but the RedHawks go into the fall with a new coach in Don Treadwell and no decision on quarterback between Zac Dysert and Austin Boucher. There is great potential for a repeat because there are plenty of talented players returning, but there also is uncertainty as well.

TCU makes the list because there is a chance that this could be a down season. The Horned Frogs lost 26 seniors, including Andy Dalton and four starters on the offensive line. There are some difficult games on the schedule, especially on the road, so this season could end up being a disappointment compared to the results of 2009 and 2010.

San Diego State was one of the surprise teams of 2010 but the Aztecs have a new coach in Rocky Long and are missing some key players at receiver in DeMarco Sampson and Vincent Brown. Their schedule sets up nicely for them to make a second straight trip to a bowl game, but given the changes there could also be a step back.

Nevada went 13-1 last season, but it is going to be hard to repeat that feat without Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua and with the way the schedule sets up. A 1-3 start is possible after games at Oregon, Texas Tech and Boise State in the first four games of the season. Tulsa also has a difficult start to the season, along with a new coaching staff, so there is potential for disappointment.

Note I do have TCU and Tulsa in my poll for best non-AQ teams. I included them both here because of the unknowns surrounding both teams.

Non-AQ Games to Watch, Part II

May, 11, 2011
I listed my three non-AQ games to watch as part of my spring wrap, and included TCU at Boise State. Earlier Wednesday I listed my out-of-conference, non-AQ games to watch for 2011. Now here is my list of the top conference games to watch for 2011:

TCU at San Diego State, Oct. 8

Buzz: The Aztecs came oh-so-close to pulling the upset in Fort Worth last season, and now they get TCU at home. The Horned Frogs are going to be good again on defense, but there are questions on offense. The Aztecs have questions at receiver, too. It will be interesting to see how this team looks with a new coaching staff as well.

UCF at SMU, Oct. 13

Buzz: A rematch of the C-USA championship game last season, only this one takes place in Dallas. Both teams are going to be in the mix to return to the championship game, so this one could have an impact on the league race.

Air Force at Boise State, Oct. 22

Buzz: There are some who believe the Falcons could be a dark-horse contender in the Mountain West, and they get a chance to prove their worth in this tough conference game. Meanwhile, Boise State gets its first crack at the difficult triple-option offense led by senior Tim Jefferson.

Fresno State at Nevada, Oct. 22

Buzz: This one could impact the race for the WAC title. Both will have new starting quarterbacks and don't have Boise State in the way anymore, either.

Troy at FIU, Oct. 25

Buzz: FIU smacked Troy 52-35 last season but they both ended up sharing the conference title. Both will be favored to finish atop the Sun Belt once again, making this a pivotal game.

Tulsa at UCF, Nov. 3

Buzz: This one could be a preview of the C-USA title game. Tulsa has plenty of returning starters, while UCF has some holes to fill on offense and at receiver.

Miami (Ohio) at Temple, Nov. 9

Buzz: Both teams are going to be favored to be at the top of the East, so this one could have implications on who goes to the conference title game. The RedHawks pulled the upset at home last year en route to the conference title game.

Hawaii at Nevada, Nov. 12

Buzz: The Warriors handed the Wolf Pack their only loss last season as both claimed a share of the WAC title. Even though they lost, Nevada did a good job of limiting the quick-strike offense, holding the Warriors to their second-lowest point total of the season.

Boise State at San Diego State, Nov. 19

Buzz: No question the Broncos face much tougher competition in a tougher league and this one is one of the harder games on the schedule. Depending on how the teams play, this one could be an upset alert for the week.

Houston at Tulsa, Nov. 26

Buzz: These two teams are going to be the favorites in the West and the winner of this game could end up in the conference championship game. Much of their success will hinge on how their respective quarterbacks play this season.

Lunchtime Links

April, 25, 2011
Hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend. Now on to some links.

Guess who showed up at Ball State's spring game?

Despite turbulence, exciting times are ahead for BYU.

Boise State is raising prices on its season tickets.

Jonathan Gray said telling TCU coach Gary Patterson he was going with Texas was like breaking up with a girlfriend.

This is a good feature on Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship.

There is still a strong quarterback competition going on at UTEP.

Good analysis of where the Northern Illinois depth chart stands after spring practice.

NIU linebacker Devon Butler is confident he will make a full recovery.

Marshall had a special event before its spring game to honor those who died in the fateful plane crash in 1970.

Miami (Ohio) coach Don Treadwell assesses his roster following spring practice.

Lunchtime Links

April, 20, 2011
Hope you are having a good Wednesday. Links for today ...

Can Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier spur change to the BCS?

TCU's goals remain the same in its final year in the Mountain West.

The Reno Gazette-Journal presents 10 things we learned about Nevada this spring.

Air Force linebacker Stephan Atrice has returned to the academy with a renewed purpose following a Mormon mission spurred by the death of his brother.

East Carolina had a plan when it divided up the snaps for its spring scrimmage.

New Marshall safeties coach Todd Hartley is adjusting to his role.

Hawaii's game against San Jose State has been moved to Friday.

Miami (Ohio) is embracing the hunt, plus other MAC notes.

The quarterback competition at Wyoming will continue into the fall.

One of FAU's original coaches, Fred O'Connor, has been diagnosed with cancer.
Miami (Ohio) pulled off one of the most surprising seasons in college football last season, going from one win to MAC champion. The RedHawks did it with two quarterbacks to boot. When Zac Dysert went out for the season with a rib injury, freshman Austin Boucher stepped in and led the team to their unexpected league title and bowl win.

[+] EnlargeZac Dysert
Kim Klement/US PresswireMiami (Ohio) quarterback Zac Dysert, who missed the final four games last season, is battling for the starting job with Austin Boucher.
Now the two are back and competing for the starting quarterback job. After the spring game this past Saturday, there is still no clear indication about who will win the job.

Dysert started the game and then alternated with Boucher. Dysert, a junior, went 15-of-20 passes for 140 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Boucher went 10-of-16 for 63 yards. New coach Don Treadwell said Monday that he is going to wait until preseason camp before deciding on a starter. But he also said he has no problem having to make that decision.

"It's a positive because I’ve been on both ends of it, when you don’t have a competitive situation at quarterback," Treadwell said on a MAC coaches conference call. "I’m excited at the fact that we have two very good quarterbacks we can win with. I’d rather have that job to sort that out. One beautiful thing about the skill positions is those guys have an opportunity to improve themselves through the summer and preseason and into camp.

"I look at that competition to continue to show itself by the time they hit the ground running in the fall. I would much rather work toward who is that guy than not having an answer."

Dysert went 222-of-343 for 2,406 yards with 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season before missing the final four games. Boucher came in and went 88-of-142 for 990 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions in the four games he started -- all victories.

The offensive system Treadwell is installing is similar to what Miami ran last season under then-coach Mike Haywood. But they only ran the basics during the spring in order to give the coaches a chance to see what they can do. They each got an equal number of reps. Now the real work of the offseason begins with a big question mark hanging over a team many expect to contend for another MAC title.

"You have two guys that are excellent leaders that want to be the leader of the football team. It’s been very positive," Treadwell said. "We wanted to give them the same opportunity because there was no first team or second team. We wanted to build from the ground up with some base concepts, see if they can handle it and move forward."

Non-AQ spring games

April, 15, 2011
With 23 teams in non-AQ conferences set to play their spring games between tonight and tomorrow, here is a quick look at big-time questions for a selected few.

Boise State

Big question: Receiver. Austin Pettis and Titus Young formed one of the best receiver duos in the nation over the last several years. But now they are gone, leaving the Broncos looking for a deep threat to replace Young and a possession receiver to replace Pettis. Tyler Shoemaker, Chris Potter, Geraldo Hiwat and Kirby Moore all figure to make contributions. Watch for freshman Troy Ware as well. Starting quarterback Kellen Moore is not expected to do much in the game Saturday, but the receivers need all the work they can get to prepare for bigger roles.

Others in the MWC playing: New Mexico.

East Carolina

Big question: Defense. The Pirates were lucky to make a bowl game last season with the way their defense played. They ranked last in all of college football in total defense, giving up an average of 479 yards a game, and closed the season with losses in five of their final six games. A prolific offense is all that saved them. Granted, East Carolina lost nine starters on defense, but there was still no excuse for that type of performance. The Pirates are now switching to a 3-4 though it is unclear what they have headed into the spring game. Injuries to several players have left them thin in the front seven. Defensive tackles Michael Brooks (right knee), Robert Jones (right shoulder) and Chrishon Rose (left shoulder) and linebacker/defensive end Justin Dixon (left knee) all sat out the spring. Defensive tackle Leroy Vick, a transfer from Georgia Military Institute, injured his left knee in a scrimmage and is out for the season. Linebacker Lamar McLendon, who started 10 of 13 games last season, left the team for personal reasons. So it is safe to say coach Ruffin McNeill will have to wait until the fall to find out more about this group.

Others in C-USA playing: UCF, Tulsa, Tulane, UAB, Memphis.


Big question: Receiver. The Warriors lose Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares, who combined for over 3,000 yards in the pass-happy Hawaii offense. Royce Pollard returns after having 901 yards as the Z receiver last season and will be counted on to step up and become a go-to receiver for returning quarterback Bryant Moniz. Others to watch: Allen Sampson and Terrence Bell, who would bring an added boost of speed; Miah Ostrowski, the point guard on the hoops team who has a good bond with Moniz; and Darius Bright and Corey Paclebar.

Others in the WAC playing: Nevada

Miami (Ohio)

Big question: Quarterback. The surprise MAC champions have a new coach in Don Treadwell, so there are plenty of areas that have been open to competition. The biggest is at quarterback, where Zac Dysert and Austin Boucher are competing for the starting job. Dysert went into 2010 as the starter before missing the rest of the season with a rib injury. Boucher came in and led the RedHawks to the MAC title and one of the biggest turnaround seasons in NCAA history. Both have been even throughout the spring, and Treadwell has been mum on who has the edge.

Others in the MAC playing: Kent State, Bowling Green (Friday), Western Michigan, Central Michigan (Friday), Toledo (Friday), Buffalo, Akron, Ohio, Temple

North Texas

Big question: Quarterback. Derek Thompson and junior college transfer Brent Osborn went into the spring competing for the starting job, and it appears Thompson has the edge going into the spring game. North Texas had major injury problems at quarterback last season -- Thompson broke his leg in the only game he started. Even though Thompson has been with the team longer, he is still relatively inexperienced.

Others in the Sun Belt with games: Western Kentucky, Arkansas State

Lunchtime Links

April, 15, 2011
Plenty of spring football games tonight and tomorrow. Now on to some links:

Boise State is looking for a safety to replace Jeron Johnson.

Prep coaches have packed the Nevada sideline, trying to learn the Pistol offense.

Chris Campbell is confident he has the edge to become the backup quarterback to Austin Davis at Southern Miss.

Darryl McBride is making the transition from safety to end/linebacker for Hawaii, which has its spring game tonight.

Keith Morgan also made a switch, from safety to rover for Bowling Green. The Falcons also play tonight.

Akron coach Rob Ianello is pleased with his team's progress.

Curnelius Arnick has accepted a leadership role for Tulsa, which has its spring game tonight.

Positions are up for grabs as Miami (Ohio) plays its spring game tonight.

Buffalo is building depth on defense.

DeMarcus Grady has worked this spring to make the transition from quarterback to receiver.
Indiana's coaching staff has been finalized for 2011.

For real this time.

Kevin Wilson has filled his lone remaining staff vacancy with Miami (Ohio) assistant Deland McCullough, who will coach Indiana's running backs. McCullough served as an offensive/special-teams intern for Miami last season and remained on the RedHawks' staff after Don Treadwell took over as coach. Treadwell promoted McCullough to running backs coach.

McCullough starred at running back for Miami from 1992-95 while Wilson served as the team's offensive coordinator. He set the Mid-American Conference career rushing yards record before going on to play in the NFL, CFL and XFL.
“Deland was a great player, is a better person and is on track to be an excellent coach,” Wilson said in a prepared statement. “He is a guy that was on my radar from the start. We have a great relationship dating back to our days together at Miami and Deland is on board with what we want to accomplish.”

McCullough replaces Jemal Singleton, one of four assistants Wilson hired at Indiana who soon left for other jobs. He takes over a group that has struggled to produce in recent years but boasts some talent with players like Darius Willis, Antonio Banks and Matt Perez.

Here's Indiana's complete staff for 2011:


Doug Mallory: Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
Mike Ekeler: Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Mark Hagen: Defensive Tackles/Special Teams Coordinator
Brett Diersen: Defensive Ends/Recruiting Coordinator
Brandon Shelby: Cornerbacks


Kevin Johns: Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
Rod Smith: Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
Greg Frey: Offensive Line
Deland McCullough: Running Backs