Beginning of a New Era
The Miami University football team went 0-12 in 2013, something no one could have predicted. The third losing season in a row also shut the door on former head coach Don Treadwell, but also opened a new door for first year head coach Chuck Martin, who was named Miami’s 36th head coach back on Dec. 3, 2013.

Martin comes to Miami with a 74-7 career record as a head coach, helping Grand Valley State University to back-to-back National Championships in 2005 and 2006. In those two years he was named AFCA National Coach of the Year and has coached in seven national championship games in the past 13 seasons. Needless to say, coach Martin’s credentials are exactly what Miami needed.

When the RedHawks do return to the field in 2014, Martin will have 15 returning starters and 50 returning letter-winners. Offensively, Miami will return eight starters and will have another seven on the defensive side of the ball.

While 2013 happened just a short time ago, it is easy to see why Miami fans are excited to witness what coach Martin can bring to the table in 2014 as the RedHawks begin a new era.

Scouting the RedHawks
Quarterbacks
Lettermen Returning: 2, Lettermen Lost: 1
Starters Returning: 0, Starters Lost: 1
Gone is Austin Boucher, who started Miami’s first eight games last season before suffering a season ending injury versus Ohio. When Boucher went down, that opened the door for Austin Gearing and Drew Kummer, both who saw significant time in the second half of the 2013 season. Gearing completed 24-of-54 passes for 188 yards, while Kummer added 267 yards passing on 48 attempts.

Both will compete for the starting job, along with Notre Dame transfer Andrew Hendrix, who completed his degree with the Fighting Irish back in December. Hendrix threw for 360 yards and a touchdown in his Notre Dame career. Expect Tom Tupa to also be given a shot at playing time.

Running Backs
Lettermen Returning: 3, Lettermen Lost: 1
Starters Returning: 1, Starters Lost: 0
The RedHawks return three running backs from last season’s team that saw significant action in Spencer TreadwellRobert Williams III and Spencer McInnis. Treadwell, the son of former head coach Don Treadwell, started eight games last season, finishing the year with 171 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Williams (66 yards) and McInnis (29 yards) are the only other returning running backs from the 2013 season.

Expect all three to compete with a pair of newcomers for playing time in Miami’s backfield for the 2014 campaign.

Wide Receivers
Lettermen Returning: 9, Lettermen Lost: 0
Starters Returning: 3, Starters Lost: 0
Miami will return nine players saw that saw action in 2013, their deepest returning group on the team. Leading the way are seniors-to-be Dawan Scott and David Frazier, both who led the team with 28 receptions. Scott finished the year with 425 yards receiving and two touchdowns, while Frazier was second on the squad with 302 yards receiving, also adding two scores.

Others expected to compete for playing time this spring include Alvonta Jenkins (12-141-0), Rokeem Williams (7-104-1), Fred McRae (6-75-0), Jared Murphy (6-62-0), Airion Kosak (3-31-0), Austin Green (1-17-0) and Sam Shisso (1-2-0).

Tight Ends
Lettermen Returning: 2, Lettermen Lost: 2
Starters Returning: 0, Starters Lost: 1
The RedHawks lost their top two tight ends from 2013 with Steve Marck and Dustin White graduating, meaning Miami returns just two letter-winners at the tight end position for this spring, led by Andrew Gudeman and Orlando David. Gudeman leads this group with one career catch for 22 yards.

Expect Notre Dame transfer Alex Welch to make an impact this spring and into the fall. The 6-4, 250 pound fifth-year senior returns to the Oxford area (Elder High School graduate) to help fill a position of need. Welch played in 22 games in his Notre Dame career.

Offensive Line
Lettermen Returning: 8, Lettermen Lost: 1
Starters Returning: 4, Starters Lost: 1
Clearly Miami’s offensive line had issues in 2013, but returning four starters has to be a big positive for a unit that got better as the season went on last season. Jeff Tanner (LT), Trevan Brown (LG), Brandyn Cook (RG) and Zach Lewis (RT) all return after starting a combined 32 games last year and have started a combined 64 games in their careers.

Marcus Matthews, who technically does not count as a retuning starter, started three games last season and has started 22 games in his RedHawk career.

Others expected to compete for playing time include Terry DavisCollin BuchananRyan CallenRandy Heideman, and Jake Hilvert.

Defensive Line
Lettermen Returning: 6, Lettermen Lost: 2
Starters Returning: 2, Starters Lost: 2
The defensive line will have its work cut out for them as they attempt to replace two productive players in Austin Brown and Wes Williams. Both saw significant time for the past three years. What Miami does have returning is some potential in several young student-athletes.

Leading the group will be defensive end Bryson Albright, who led the team with 5.0 sacks last season, while chipping in 55 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss (also a team-best). Others that saw action last season and are expected to provide help in 2014 include J’Terius Brown (26 tkls., 6.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks), Mwanza Wamulumba (24 tackles), Jimmy Rousher (23 tackles, 3.0 TFL) and Mitch Winters (13 tackles).

Linebackers
Lettermen Returning: 6, Lettermen Lost: 2
Starters Returning: 2, Starters Lost: 1
Arguably, Miami’s best returning talent by position is at linebacker. Kent Kern, who was a second-team All-MAC performer last season led the team with 98 tackles in 11 games, while adding 5.0 tackles for loss and two pass breakups. Playing alongside Kern, was sophomore Josh Dooley, who was third on the team with 87 tackles and added three pass breakups.

While, outside linebacker Chris Wade was lost to graduation, the RedHawks have a handful of other players that should be able to slide into that role. Tyler Tucker had 50 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss in a limited role last season and Nate Gerbus add 37 tackles, filling in at the linebacker position during spot duty.

Other returning players include TJ Williams (10 tackles) and Tre Clifton (6 tackles).

Defensive Backs
Lettermen Returning: 8, Lettermen Lost: 1
Starters Returning: 3, Starters Lost: 1
The RedHawks return 75 percent of its back end of the defense, but arguably lost one of the best defensive backs to ever play at Miami University in Dayonne Nunley. Finding a way to replace a three-time first team All-MAC performer is no easy task.

What Miami does have returning is Heath Harding, who started 10 games at cornerback as a true freshman, recording 56 tackles and a team-high three interceptions. The other cornerback position will be up for grabs Some of the faces expected to compete will be Chrishawn Dupuy (25 tackles, two interceptions), Jarrell Jones (started two games in 2013), Orne Bey (2 tackles) and Lo Wood, a transfer from Notre Dame (played in 32 career games).

At safety Miami returns both starters from 2013 in Brison Burris and Jay Mastin. Burris started all 12 games, finishing fifth on the team with 75 tackles and added four pass breakups. His playing partner, Mastin started the first eight games last season before being lost for the season due to injury. Mastin ended the year sixth on the team with 62 tackles and three pass breakups.

Others expected to chip in include Randy Anderson (22 tackles, 2 PBU) and Buchi Okafor (7 tackles),

Special Teams
Lettermen Returning: 1, Lettermen Lost: 2
Starters Returning: 1, Starters Lost: 1
Kaleb Patterson returns for his third year as Miami’s placekicker and has made 22-of-29 field goals in his first two years with the Red and White. Patterson will also most likely take over the kickoff duties with the graduation of Mason Krysinski.

The punting duties are wide open in 2014, but whoever wins the position will have some huge shoes to fill. Gone is Zac Murphy, who finished fourth in the country last season with a 46.6 yard average. Expected to fill that role could be Christian Koch or possibly Patterson.