Rain – lots of it – poured on Oxford Saturday. "They all would have went home if we were outside."Miami head coach Chuck Martin said. With the new facility in place and a few tweaks, however, the RedHawks managed to wind up their 2015 spring schedule with a combination of drills and competition.
Despite somewhat lengthy ceremonies, a relatively large crowd stuck around - many of them standing along the sidelines – to watch the RedHawks go through their paces on (Ben) Roethlisberger Field. They were excited. … Once we got going, pads were cracking," Martin said.
The 14-period scrimmage included several 11-on-11 sessions.
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Kummer later hit Fred McRae IV on a 41-yard passing score. It was part of an impressive afternoon for McRae, who collected five receptions for 117 yards.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Gus Ragland also went long on the following series. He found Rokeem Williams behind the defense on a 61-yard touchdown play.
Kummer went 12-of-19 for 199 yards and a pair of TDs. Rangland was 8-of-12 for 126 yards and one scoring strike.
Both our quarterbacks can hurt you with their arm or their feet and they showed it today. Are they ready for prime time? Probably not yet, but they showed they can make plays within what we are doing.
The RedHawks also worked on their running game, an area which has struggled since the 2010 MAC championship season. Three running backs received at least six carries. Spencer McGinnis, who is entering his redshirt junior campaign, logged 11 carries for 49 yards Saturday. His work included a 27-yard scamper through the defense.
"We’ve got three guys back with experience (and) we’ve got some young kids. I like what we’re doing," Martin said. He noted the backs are running behind a relatively young offensive line, while the defensive front is experienced. "I think we're going to be pretty good against the run on defense, which we weren't (last year)."
Miami opens the 2015 season at home Sept. 5 against Presbyterian. According to Martin, many position battles will continue into fall practice. However, he was glad to get the chance to see players performing in front of fans.
► David and Anita Dauch (lead donors) were both on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremonies Saturday. Among the other donors present were Pittsburg Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. Both played at Miami, but are matched against each other in the NFL Central Division twice (and occasionally three times) each year.
► Harbaugh said he loves to see Ben in the spring (such as Saturday), but not in the fall, when the two teams battle it out in one of professional football’s toughest divisions. Still, both Harbaugh and Roethlisberger noted they usually take a moment before their battles to have a brief chat.
“Before every game we talk to each other at mid-field (and) 99.9 percent of the time it is about Miami and the football program,” Roethlisberger said.
► The 91,000-square-foot facility actually opened for team use in early February. It features a full 120-yard football field with a synthetic turf similar to the surface in Yager Stadium, just a few first downs to the south. Athletic Director David Saylor drew a chuckle from the crowd when he noted the facility included enough room for teams to put their toys away. “I didn’t want it to look like somebody’s garage,” Saylor quipped.
► Professional scouts (present for this year’s pro day) and others have praised the DISC, calling it better than a number of major colleges and some pro indoor facilities.
► Roethlisberger, whose name appears on the field itself, was asked to compare the facility’s impact to his time in the program.
“We would have been able to practice more. We wouldn’t have had to go on (field hockey) Astroturf so much, but you can practice all the time (here), whether it’s winter conditioning, whether it’s practicing in bad weather. It’s just such an awesome facility. … It’s great for students in all sports. That’s the neat thing about it. It’s not just football.”
► Roethlisberger called the DISC a “huge” step for Miami football and added, “Hopefully, this facility can help get more players here, raise the football program and other sports and get more Miami guys in the NFL.”
► Cornerback Quinten Rollins, MAC Defensive Player of the year in 2014 after four years on the RedHawks basketball team, had his pro day workout at the DISC. He figures to be the next Miami player to join an NFL team. He is projected to get picked sometime in this week’s NFL draft.