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October 4, 2010

Miami players know Cincinnati coaches

Saturday Cincinnati takes on their second best opponent of the entire season.

Yes, you read that right.

In the ultimate skewing of actual statistics, Miami is listed as 19th most successful football program, citing a 62% winning percentage over their 122-season history.

Cincinnati's Week Three opponent Oklahoma is historically better though albeit younger in 2010.

Miami has 20 starters returning from 2009, the entire starting lineup back for more.

Miami Starting Lineup (Best offer)
*2009 Starters

*QB Zac Dysert (UC, Pitt, MSU)
*TB Thomas Merriweather (Ball State)
FB Justin Semmes (Army)
*LT Matt Kennedy
*LG Bob Gulley (Toledo)
*C Brad Bednar (Bowling Green)
*RG Nate Williams
RT Josh Harvey
*TE Kendrick Bruton (Ohio)
*WR Armand Robinson (UNC, UC, Wisconsin)
*WR Chris Givens (UC)

Miami Defensive Starters (Best offer)
*2009 Starters

DE Mwanza Wamulumba
*DT Austin Brown (CMU)
*DT Mike Johns (CMU, Rice)
DE Jason Semmes (Iowa commit)
*SLB Luke Kelly (Western Michigan)
*MLB Jerrell Wedge
*WLB Evan Harris
CB Dayonne Nunley (CMU)
CB D.J. Brown (Bowling Green)
*SS Anthony Kokal
FS Pat Hinkel (Wisconsin)

Three-star talent

Contrary to popular belief the Redhawks do feature a handful of former three-star athletes. Spearheading the attack, QB Zac Dysert a former UC-target. The Ada-native narrowed his list to two finalists, Miami and Cincinnati. The day after Brendon Kay verbally committed to Cincinnati, Dysert chose Miami and never looked back.

He will be starting his 15th college game Saturday, looking to stack more yards on his 3,669 career total.

Supporting Dysert's passing game is tailback Thomas Merriweather. The three-star runner from East St. Louis, Illinois got nibbles from Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan State, and Louisville.

In the end Merriweather picked Miami(OH). He has accumulated nearly 1,200 career rushing yards for Michael Haywood's outfit.

Familiar Faces

As expected Miami football players and the Cincinnati have many links. From players recruited, even offered, by current or former Bearcat coaches to young men raised in Cincinnati the paths crossed are many.

OL John Anevski (Cincinnati Elder)
LS Konnor Blevins (West Chester Lakota West)
OL Steve Bray (Cincinnati Turpin)
DB D.J. Brown (West Chester Lakota West)
WR Andrew Cruse (Cincinnati Turpin)
LB Erik Finklea (Cincinnati Woodward)
LB Alex Kaufman (Cincinnati Lakota West)
LB Luke Kelly (Cincinnati Turpin)
RB Nate Ley (Cincinnati St. Xavier)
K Zac Murphy (Cincinnati Kings)
DB Sam Olberding (Cincinnati Glen Este)
QB Mike Scherpenberg (Cincinnati Indian Hills)
DL Anthony Shoemaker (Cincinnati Princeton)
OL Jeff Tanner (Cincinnati Moeller)
WR Jake Wurzelbacher (Hamilton Badin)

Defensive lineman Mike Johns was offered by current UC Offensive Coordinator Mike Bajakian while he was recruiting for CMU in 2007.


Out of Reynoldsburg, Ohio Armand Robinson was recruited as both a safety and wide receiver. His best offers were Minnesota, North Carolina, Cincinnati, and Wisconsin. The ultimate decision came down to his academics and campus proximity.

Robinson now lines up as a wide receiver alongside former Chris Givens (former UC offer).

Second Chance at great things

MAC programs are often slighted out of top tier recruits. However, teams like Miami are popular havens for transfers. The most common reason to transfer is lack of playing time and MAC schools can offer elite players a chance to play every down.

Jason Semmes began his college career at Iowa. He decided to transfer out of Iowa City after two years (one RS). Semmes joins his younger brother Justin this fall on the field. Since Justin plays fullback and Jason is a defensive end, UC will likely be faced with seamless Semmes's.

Semmes started three of the first Miami games so far this season, tabulating eight tackles, 1.5 for a loss.

Semmes' brother gets top billing as fullback, but Michigan-transfer Vince Helmuth might see the field for the first time this Saturday. He has been kept out due to injury so far.

While playing for Michigan, Helmuth was guided to DT. He was considered too big, strong, and slow, landing him very low on the depth chart for Head Coach Rich Rodriguez.

Miami likes him at fullback, a familiar position for the high school star.

The third transfer looking for the comfort, acceptance of incubating Oxford friends is C.J. Marck. Similar to the Semmes brothers, C.J. joined his sibling Steve Marck after leaving Connecticut.

Marck started one game at DE/LB against Colorado State. Even when he did not start Marck made an impact.

Final Word

Following a deplorable two year span, Miami football has already reached their highest win total since 2007, just give games into the season.

The last BCS-conference win for Miami was in that same year, as the Redhawks outlasted the Syracuse Orange.

Cincinnati is their final chance to upstage a power conference opponent before the MAC season opens. For UC it provides a chance to capitalize on the noted progress apparent versus Oklahoma.


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