OXFORD, Ohio - Eleven Miami University freshmen football players played in their first collegiate games against Ohio State in front of more than 105,000 fans Saturday in Columbus.
A youthful team is not always a good thing, but having quality depth and an experienced roster are traits almost every program would like to have.
"To have guys up and ready to run in your two-deep already as freshmen is a huge advantage as you try to build a program really from the ground up as we are doing here," Miami coach Don Treadwell said.
The young players who made the most of their college debuts were left guard Brandyn Cook, who played at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, running back Jamire Westbrook of Kings High School in South Lebanon, and linebackers Josh Dooley and Kent Kern, who are also Ohio natives.
Cook, the lone freshman starter on the offensive line, was part of a front that gave up two sacks against a stout Ohio State defensive line that included John Simon and Johnathan Hankins.
"For his first game to get wet against Ohio State who has one of the strongest, fastest defensive lines in the country, he got his eyes opened in a positive way, but he also held his own at times," Treadwell said. "It was good to see."
Of all the freshmen skill players, Westbrook received the most playing time. He had four carries for seven yards, but added four catches for 19 yards out of the backfield.
"His reps will to continue to improve after his performance," Treadwell said. "He showed a few things too... that he has excellent hands."
On the other side of the ball, Kern, a middle linebacker, and Dooley, who plays on the outside, combined for 10 total tackles. Both are listed as No. 2's on the RedHawks' depth chart.
"Really for a freshman, he's really talented," Treadwell said about Kern. "He really came to play."
Tight end Orlando David, kicker Kaleb Patterson, defensive end Bryson Albright of St. Xavier, and defensive tackles David DeLeon and Wesley Scott also saw significant playing time at their respective positions as well as on special teams.
Patterson, who missed the first kick of his career vs. OSU, a 24-yarder, will continue to be the starter for the RedHawks this week against SIU. Coach Treadwell is confident he'll respond favorably and continue to improve as the season moves on.
"Kaleb is going to be just fine," the coach said. "He does a good job of getting the ball up. He's had a chance now to kick in front of quite a big audience. I think at this point he will only get better as we move forward."