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Gameday Preview: Miami (Ohio)

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We have talked about how this is a rebuilding year for the Gators. It is a rebuilding year too for Miami (Ohio), but that is because last season was demolishing the house to the foundation and starting over. The Redhawks were 1-11 last season, starting 0-8 before defeating Toledo. They only won two games in 2008. This is also the third consecutive season Miami (OH) will open with a SEC team. In 2008, the Redhawks lost to Vanderbilt and lost 42-0 to Kentucky in 2009.

The Redhawks were not exactly awful in 2009. They allowed 377 yards on defense per game, which was 70th nationally. But they allowed 34 points per game, which was 108th. Combined with their 15 points per game on offense, which was 116th, it is easier to see how they were 1-11.

Head coach Michael Haywood is in his second season at Miami (OH). Haywood coached at LSU, so he knows something about playing at Gainesville. He was also Charlie Weis' offensive coordinator at Notre Dame. Miami (OH) will run their offense through quarterback Zac Dysert and running back Thomas Merriweather. As a freshman last season, Dysert threw for 2611 yards, 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Merriweather was the leader of an awful running game, collecting 291 of the team's 841 yards rushing.

On defense, the Redhawks are very young. Their depth chart lists nine freshmen or sophomores. They have undersized ends around 240 pounds who should get eaten up by Florida's offensive line. Leading tackler MLB Jerrell Wedge returns to follow his 2009 season of 114 tackles, including 18.5 for a loss.