Miami Notebook

By Adam Caparell - April 19, 2007

OXFORD, Ohio - When asked about his team's schedule this upcoming season, coach Shane Montgomery could only grin before he answered.

With the likes of Minnesota, Cincinnati, Colorado, Syracuse and Vanderbilt staring Miami in the face, it's going to be imperative that the RedHawks win their first game of the season which just also happens to be their first conference game of the season as well.

"The schedule is pretty brutal," Montgomery said. "We've always been a school that's played as good a schedule as we can get. It's going to be challenging on top of a very tough MAC schedule."

Miami opens up against Ball State Aug. 30 and would really love to get off to a 1-0 start before the non-conference contests dominant their slate.

"This is going to be the most important opener we've had in a while," Montgomery said.

Quarterback Mike Kokal is looking forward to the challenges of playing five BCS conference teams.

"It's a tough schedule," Kokal said. "But we like that. That's what we do around here. We love to play anyone, anywhere, anytime. It's another opportunity to play a bunch of big schools and hopefully embarass a couple of them."

Wrapping It Up: The RedHawks will conclude spring practice Friday night with their spring game, but Montgomery expects to be without at least six starters who are nursing various injuries.

Montgomery will also shuffle some players around into different positions that they might not necessarily play when the season rolls around.

"We do have a little bit more depth than we had last year so we’re able to break up into a game situation," Montgomery said.

But if there's one position where depth is an issue it's defensive tackle where, for various reasons, Miami is down to only a handful of available players. It's a position, Montgomery said, the RedHawks weren't expected to be in when spring came around.

"After the year we felt like we were going to be deep (at defensive tackle)," Montgomery said. "Then within a month we lost three tackles and now we've got five tackles out there in the spring and four of them are in their first year."

But with 19 starters back, Miami should be a contender in the MAC once again. Kokal won't make any predictions for next year, but he thinks they're capable of returning to the kind of prominence they're used to.

"We're very capable of making a lot of people thinking differently about what we did last year," Kokal said. "There's no reason why we can't compete for the MAC championship," Kokal said.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 10:22 PM on April 19, 2007

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