Schedule preview: Miami (Ohio)

Three-year starter at quarterback could challenge Buckeyes secondary

Updated: June 25, 2012, 1:06 AM ET
By Austin Ward | BuckeyeNation

Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State

Sept. 1, 2012, At Ohio Stadium (Noon, Big Ten Network)

About the RedHawks

2011 record: 4-8 (3-5 Mid-American Conference)

Ohio State all-time against Miami: 4-0 (last meeting in 2005)

Top returners: QB Zac Dysert, RB Erik Finklea, WR Nick Harwell, OL Brad Bednar, OL JoJo Williams, CB Dayonne Nunley, P Zac Murphy, DL Jason Semmes Key losses: OL Brandon Brooks, DL Jordain Brown, TE Kendrick Burton, S Anthony Kokal, WR Chris Givens, LB Ryan Kennedy, LB Jerrel Wedge

2011 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Erik Finklea* (328 yards, 4 touchdowns)

[+] EnlargeDysert
Steve Conner/Icon SMIZac Dysert has as much experience as any quarterback Ohio State will face in 2012.
Passing: Zac Dysert* (3,513 yards, 23 touchdowns, 11 interceptions)

Receiving: Nick Harwell* (97 catches for 1,425 yards, 9 touchdowns)

Tackles: Anthony Kokal (91)

Sacks: Jason Semmes* (4.5)

Interceptions: Dayonne Nunley* (3)

What they're saying: "A year ago at this time, we put certain things in place so that we can better serve our young men on the current football team. Along with that, we want to reaffirm the traditional Miami expectations. What happened a year ago isn't the expectation of Miami football." -- RedHawks coach Don Treadwell before spring practice

Three things to watch

1. All about Urban: After a losing campaign and months of anticipation since Urban Meyer was hired, the actual opponent probably wouldn't make a bit of difference to the Buckeyes and their fans as they open the season. All eyes are going to be on the new coach and the volume figures to be cranked up in the Horseshoe, which figures to make the odds even longer for the RedHawks. Meyer's last team at Florida also opened up at home against the RedHawks, and the Gators had trouble in the first half. Dysert, then a sophomore, threw four interceptions in the 2010 game.

2. Air patrol: The RedHawks have a three-year starter at quarterback with a proven ability to rack up yardage. But the Buckeyes will be rolling out one of the more talented secondaries in the Big Ten, if not the nation. Ohio State could get a decent feel for just how good it can be in the defensive backfield as it deals with Dysert.

3. Proving ground: Spring practice and training camp in August will already be in the books, but once the action starts really counting, the evaluations start to mean even more for the coaching staff. If everything goes according to plan for the Buckeyes, given their edge in talent, they should be able to get a look at some of the fresher faces on campus -- and start preparing for later in the season and beyond.

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter