Fourteen months ago, quarterback Alex Malzone lined up against the University of Minnesota's defense. Last Saturday, he did the same. Last time Malzone wore blue and maize. This time he represented the Red & White.
"It was definitely awesome to get out there," Malzone said in an interview on Tuesday. "I've been working all summer and all fall camp to get out there."
Malzone spent the past three years at the University of Michigan as a backup quarterback. The Farmington Hills, Michigan, native saw game action three times in relief, but didn't attempt a pass.
Saturday, he attempted three passes and though each were incomplete, the RedHawks were introduced to a new play-caller other than long-time starter redshirt senior Gus Ragland.
"Alex [Malzone] did a great job," head football coach Chuck Martin said in a press conference on Monday. "Obviously, it's not a great situation. We were just trying to get him some work and try to get his feet wet. Obviously, at some point and time this year, we're going to need Alex."
Malzone flew through four years of undergrad in three years, knowing he wanted to transfer as a graduate student. Martin had recruited Malzone in high school and, in January, welcomed the former four-star recruit back to campus.
After visiting Oxford, it was an easy decision for the quarterback.
"I hit it off with the coaching staff, the facilities were awesome and liked being around guys on the team," Malzone said in an interview in February. "[Miami] was just a right fit for myself."
If the light-hearted heckling from teammates at practice and redshirt senior defensive lineman Mack Duffin serving as his personal hypeman before interviews is any indication, Malzone certainly fits right in.
The 6-foot-2, 231-pound player is considered a junior on Miami's roster and joins the 'Hawks with two years of eligibility.
"It feels good," Malzone said on Tuesday. "It's been a good adjustment coming here. I didn't know many people before I came here. Definitely blended well with the guys on the team."
Older players and the quarterback unit welcomed his easy-going, thoughtful demeanor, and professors and students in the Farmer School of Business welcomed his conscientiousness as a master's student in economics.
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Malzone enjoys grad school at Miami and says there is less, but more meaningful work - like his two years left playing football with the RedHawks.
"It's a great group of guys here. We all have the same interests and common goals amongst our team," Malzone said.
The quarterback's experience, though limited, should make him an easy choice for Coach Martin after Ragland graduates in May. Until then, a sluggish 0-3 start to the RedHawks' season could have Malzone lined up against Mid-American Conference defenses in the near future.
"We're just going to try to execute better on certain mistakes we made going ahead to Bowling Green," Malzone said.
This weekend, the RedHawks face the BGSU Falcons for their first Mid-American Conference matchup of the season. Kick-off is at 3 p.m. and can be watched on ESPN+.