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OXFORD, OH – With their season opener against former arch-rival Marshall just two weeks away, the Miami RedHawks spent much of Saturday’s Pigskin Picnic scrimmage evaluating personnel and working on two key goals for 2013:
1. Stopping the run when on defense
2. Running the ball effectively while on offense.
The defensive part began improving earlier this year as key players got healthy.
“What a difference it makes,” head coach Don Treadwell said. “We lost (DT) Austin Brown after about the first game last year … and we lost another guy for a big part of the year.”
“Having those guys healthy and rolling (other) guys in has made a difference already,” he said. “We did a lot of that work (on stopping the run) in the spring, so we just continued to work on that (this fall).”
Junior wideout Dawan Scott, who figures even more heavily in the RedHawks passing game after the departure of Nick Harwell, caught one ball for 27 yards.
“Collectively … there are still a lot of guys that have played a lot of good football,” Treadwell said of the receiving corps.”
Freshman Austin Green is new to the mix, but he reeled in a 25-yard reception and ran the ball twice for a total of eight yards.
Four quarterbacks saw action in the scrimmage, with senior Austin Boucher getting the opening call.
The lefty who led Miami down the stretch during its 2010 MAC championship season and also notched a bowl win is anxious to take the helm again.
“I’ve been playing this game since second grade,” Boucher said. “I’ve always thought of myself as a starter and I’ve always prepared (for) every game as if I was the starter. … My preparation, if anything, has increased. It’s only going to help me when I get out there. All I really want to do is play. I’ll be ready.”
Boucher threw just six passes, completing four for 43 yards in limited action Saturday. He also rushed five times for plus-20 yards.
Three other quarterbacks took snaps in the scrimmage, and two contributed rushing yards. Redshirt sophomore Drew Kummer out of Cincinnati’s LaSalle H.S. rushed three times for 22 yards (with a 14-yard touchdown). Redshirt freshman Austin Gearing (Franklin, OH) had 17 yards with one TD on three attempts.
“If the opportunity presents itself, I think we have some QBs that can run the ball if need be,” Boucher said.
Spencer McGinnis (5-9, 189, R-FR) led the offense in rushing with six carries for 28 yards and one TD. Sophomore Jamire Westbrook (5-9, 199) picked up 27 yards on five attempts.
“Right now it’s still (running back) by committee. There is a group of them that we are giving a lot of reps to,” Treadwell said. “If, indeed, by the time the season rolls around that is how we continue to play, then that will be fine, as long as they are all productive.”
Whether it is passing the football or running it, MU needs execution by the offensive line. Treadwell indicated that at least front liners on that unit have enough experience to serve them along the way. “I feel good at this point. We’ve got guys who at least have played some in there,” he said.
All four touchdowns Saturday came via the ground. Additional scoring was provided by field goals from sophomore standout Kaleb Patterson (38 yds, 33 yds, 35 yds) and Mason Krysinski (30 yds).
Patterson – 38-yard FG\
Krysinski – 30-yard FG
McInnis 1-yard TD run (Patterson kick)
Kummer 14-yard TD run (Patterson kick)
Patterson 33-yard FG
Patterson 35-yard FG
Gearing 6-yard TD run (Patterson kick)
Johnson 2-yard TD run (Weber kick)
Passing: Boucher 4-6-43-0; Gearing 1-5-8-0; Kummer 2-3-30-0; Slocumb 0-1-0-0
Rushing: McInnis 6-28-1; Westbrook 5-27-0; Kummer 3-22-1; Boucher 5-20-0; Gearing 3-17-1; Niemiec 5-15-0; Treadwell 4-11-0, Becker 3-9-0; Green 2-8-0; Johnson 2-4-1
Receiving: Scott 1-27-0; Green 1-25-0; Marck 2-14-0, Gudeman 1-5-0; White 1-3-0