“We look at things differently,” RedHawk running backs coach Mark Spencer said. “You have to look at every year as its own separate year and what you want at that position is competition.”
Westbrook and Treadwell rushed for 361 and 234 yards, respectively, in 2012. The RedHawks finished the year ranked last in the Mid-American Conference in rushing offense, averaging 102.8 yards per game. However, Miami was the top passing team in the league and played from behind throughout the season, which curtailed their opportunities to run the ball.
Westbrook, a true freshman last season, averaged 3.9 yards per carry and added 13 catches for 78 yards. The former Kings High School star had four total touchdowns.
Treadwell, a soon-to-be junior, averaged 3.6 yards per carry and tallied two total touchdowns.
“As the season progressed, they grew into their roles, grew into the understanding of what it takes to be successful and really, at certain points of the season, flashed,” Spencer said. “They are both dependable backs and they both have good strength and power.”
Also in the running for playing time are senior Robert Williams III and redshirt freshman Jack Snowball.
Williams, a Cincinnati native and Elder High School product, had 13 carries for 54 yards in a limited role last season. The former walk-on has shown he can be productive if given the chance, as he led all running backs during last year’s spring game with 98 yards on 14 carries.
“Robert has done extremely well during winter conditioning,” Spencer said. “His body has changed even more and has probably got a step faster.”
Snowball, who sat out last season, is a 5-foot-10 and 210-pound bruiser. The Wadsworth native was a first-team all-state selection and Ohio’s Division I co-Offensive Player of the Year at Wadsworth High School in 2011. During his senior season, he rushed for 2,594 yards and scored 31 touchdowns.
“Jack is probably the biggest of the backs,” Spencer said. “He’s a good downhill runner, good power, good forward lean and leg drive. If it’s third-and-one, he’s the guy you want to give the ball to.”
SWITCHING IT UP
Spencer, who was Miami’s wide receivers coach last season, moves into a more familiar coaching position this year, as he was a fullback and running back during his playing days at Ohio University (1991-94). He replaces Robert Lee, who is now the RedHawks’ defensive tackles coach.
The Columbus native started his coaching career as a video intern for the Cincinnati Bearcats in 2003 and 2004, working for then head coach Mark Dantonio.
He later accepted a graduate assistant position at Bluffton University in 2005, where he coached the running backs and defensive line for two seasons. Spencer also coached defensive backs at Iowa Wesleyan in 2007 and spent two years coaching tight ends at Youngstown State.
Most recently, Spencer coached wide receivers at Ohio Dominican University, before
joining Miami’s coaching staff in 2011.