Strong O-Line opens opportunities for RedHawks
Food for thought
Published: Monday, September 3, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 3, 2012 21:09
The 2011 Miami University football team had a great season last year. It was a very competitive team, strong defensively and made triumphant strides on the offensive side of the ball.
However, for the ’Hawks to continue this momentum, they must have a great season from their offensive line. The defense is strong and reliable, anchored by junior cornerback Dayonne Nunley in the secondary and senior defensive lineman Austin Brown upfront.
But in order for this explosive offense to really take off, redshirt senior quarterback Zac Dysert is going to need time to operate. Dysert and his go-to target, junior wide-out Nick Harwell, had an amazing combined season last year, connecting on 97 passes for over 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns. Dysert threw for over 3,500 yards en route to 23 touchdowns.
This success starts with the offensive line.
Head Coach Don Treadwell has a great offensive plan but it takes time for it to develop on the field. Therefore, protection is key.
Along with the passing game, the RedHawks are looking to develop their running game more this season. The Red and White rushing attack was ranked dead last in all of college football last year, so they will need to find a better rushing plan this season.
Miami’s leading rusher from last year, junior halfback Erik Finklea, returns but it is likely that sophomore tailback Robert Williams III will start the season after an impressive spring. It will be important for Williams III to play a big role in the offense in order to keep defenses on their heels.
In the offseason, the offensive line lost its best all-around lineman, offensive guard Brandon Brooks, who was drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Last year it was clear how important Brooks was to the offensive line and how the other linemen relied on him.
For the past two seasons, the RedHawks have ranked near the bottom in all of college football in sacks allowed as well as tackles for a loss allowed. It will be imperative that senior veterans on the line like Jo-Jo Williams step up because if the o-line is porous, then the offensive success from last year will fall to the wayside.
Regardless with the troubles on the offensive line last year, Miami was still able to rank 14th in the nation in pass offense.
The team will have a clear test in the first week of the season as the offense will have to face a potent Ohio State University defense at the Horseshoe.
Regardless of what happens in Columbus, Miami should hit its stride once it enters conference play, where the offense should really shine.
The RedHawks have the chance to make a trip to the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship for a second time in three years if they can get consistent production from their offensive line, which should open opportunities for Dysert and the rest of the offense.