Miami aims for first win in attack against Akron
Published: Friday, October 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 18, 2013 01:10
A winless season, a coaching change and an 0-2 start in Mid-American Conference (MAC) play; there have not been too many positives for the Miami University football team. Miami is currently on a 10-game losing streak that dates back to October of last year. All of that can change in one game.
This Saturday, the RedHawks (0-6) will host the University of Akron Zips (1-6) in a homecoming game that offers redemption for an ailing RedHawk team that is desperately searching for that first win.
Despite their record, these RedHawks have stayed hopeful and maintained a healthy attitude throughout seven weeks of play. Practices have increased tempo, the players’ focus is razor sharp, and the mindset of this team is not one of a defeated squad – these ‘Hawks want to win every time they step on the field, and that starts by gauging their progress daily, something that interim head coach Mike Bath has stressed since taking the reins of the program just over a week ago.
“I’m looking forward to these young men getting better one day at a time,” Bath said. “I look forward to seeing how we improve throughout the week and I’m looking forward to bringing these guys out on game day.”
The progress has not come without cost. Bath has implemented a new playcalling style on both sides of the ball, something that was reflected in Miami’s loss to the University of Massachusetts last week. The RedHawks left a lot of plays out on the field, according to the coaching staff, and the ’Hawks have to learn the new system on the fly – something that is tremendously difficult for any Division-I program, redshirt senior captain and tight end Steve Marck said.
“The guys are picking it up well,” Marck said. “Normally, you have a training camp and spring ball to put in an offense, especially in college; it’s pretty complex. But guys are picking it up and we’ve got a lot of experience on the offense. It’s going to progress week to week.”
Akron is the only team below Miami in the East Division, with an 0-3 record in conference play. The Zips average just 275 yards per game against MAC opponents, scoring an average of just over 12 points in each of those three contests.
They’re also 0-4 on the road, but Bath has warned his team against the pitfalls of playing into the statistical game.
The same Zips nearly took down No. 23 Northern Illinois University in a 27-20 nail-biter and came within four yards of upsetting then-No. 11 University of Michigan.
“They’re going to present plenty [of challenges],” Bath said. “They do a good job on both sides of the ball. We’re going to study them, know their tendencies, and try to attack them certain ways, but what it boils down to is it’s about us, and that’s what we’re worried about. We’re worried about each one of us improving every single day, and have a great day in front of a homecoming crowd, and show them what this program is all about.”
The ’Hawks and Zips are set to kick off 1 p.m. Saturday at Yager Stadium.