March 20, 2011

OXFORD, Ohio - Eighty-one days after being named Miami University football's head coach, Don Treadwell and his new staff get their first look at 74 returning players as spring practice begins at Yager Stadium on Tuesday morning (Mar. 22).

A total of 51 returning letter winners will take the field for the first of 15 practices. Six three-time lettermen, 21 two-time letter winners and 24 one-time lettermen make up the group of game-experienced players.

Twenty-seven of those 51 players are defensive contributors, 21 play on the offensive side of the ball, and there are three veteran special teams athletes. Also anxious to show what they can do are 11 redshirted freshmen.

Treadwell says that everyone will begin practice on a level playing field.

"Any time a staff change occurs, there's an opportunity to have a fresh slate," said Treadwell. "I think it also gives merit to those upper classman who may have had heavy playing time to demonstrate `here's why I was playing'. So the competition is something we're looking forward to seeing."

The first-year head coach says that working on fundamentals during the spring is a key to the success of the team.

"When you are in the preliminary phase, one of the things you want to do is build slowly," said Treadwell. "So I think as far as installation goes, our staff will certainly work to allow our players to get their feet up under them from a mental standpoint and just understanding what is expected. You can never get away from fundamentals, no matter what type of system you are putting in on either side of the ball, as well as special teams. So you'll see a heavy emphasis on special teams. A big part of what will go on this spring is an evaluation of what we really feel like our young men do well and then it will be our job to kind of marry that with the package it best fits."

Treadwell says the Miami will shape its personnel around a multiple-style offense.

"Whenever you go into a new situation, you've got to get a feel for your personnel," he said. "With veterans coaches like (offensive coordinator) Charlie Fisher, they've been in enough types of offenses that they'll very easily get a feel for what our guys are able to do. Then we'll make sure that we are putting our young men in the best situation to perform well by the time we begin playing the games."

Defensively, veteran coordinator Pete Rekstis will build a 4-3 scheme.

"Pete's been a coordinator at a number of schools," said Treadwell. "My time with Pete goes back to when he played at Youngstown State. He was a captain and he was a leader. You could see that he was going to be a leader of the defense and all he has done now is taken it from the playing field to the role of coordinator. He brings to that skill set the ability to have a vast background in implementing defenses. He brings a proven track record to Miami. It's always exciting when you are starting fresh and new in getting things up and running, and we can't wait because we know we've got a veteran in Pete Rekstis."

Miami's practices conclude on April 15 with the annual Red & White Game at Yager. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.


Tue., March 22 ... Practice #1 ... 8:10-9:50 a.m.

Wed., March 23 ... Practice #2 ... 8:10-9:25 a.m.

Thu., March 24 ... Practice #3 ... 8:10-9:50 p.m.

Fri., March 25 ... Practice #4 ... TBA, p.m.

Tue., March 29 ... Practice #5 ... 8:10-9:50 a.m.

Wed., March 30 ... Practice #6 ... 8:10-9:25 a.m.

Thu., March 31 ... Practice #7 ... 8:10-9:50 a.m.

Fri., April 1 ... Practice #8 ... TBA, p.m.

Tue., April 5 ... Practice #9 ... 8:10-9:50 a.m.

Wed., April 6 ... Practice #10 ... 8:10-9:25 a.m.

Thu., April 7 ... Practice #11 ... 8:10-9:50 a.m.

Fri., April 8 ... Practice #12 ... TBA, p.m.

Tue., April 12 ... Practice #13 ... 8:10-9:50 a.m.

Thu., April 14 ... Practice #14 ... 8:10-9:50 a.m.

Fri., April 15 ... SPRING GAME ... 7 p.m.