Quarterback Andrew Hendricks had a very productive year for the Miami RedHawks in 2014.
One of the key questions for MU in 2015 is: who will replace Hendricks? Would it be:
A. Redshirt senior Drew Kummer (6-3, 211)
B. Redshirt freshman Gus Ragland (6-3, 213)
C. True Freshman Billy Bahl (6-5, 240)
D. All of the above
E. None of the above
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Martin indicated the RedHawks’ two-deep appeared to be about 95 percent complete. “We’ve got a few decisions still to be made this week,” he said after Saturday’s Pigskin Preview event. “I think there are still a couple of battles … that will go on, and there are always (chances for ) injuries that affect that. But I think guys are settling into where they need to be – at least for the start of the year, and we’ll see how it goes.”
The quarterback battle has been one of those spots almost too close to call. Three quarterbacks, are in the mix. None of the them have appreciable game time at Miami. Kummer and Ragland, at least, benefit from being on hand last year when Martin and his staff installed the new systems. Both are from powerful Greater Cincinnati League prep programs. Bahl is a true freshman with size, a strong arm and considerable upside. He thrived passing the ball in high school and has shown flashes of his talent through this fall’s camp activity.
“I would say right now, we are legitimately going to play all three,” said Martin, whose team is two weeks out from the home opener against Presbyterian and three weeks away from a road tilt against Wisconsin.
“We have a very interesting situation. You have a fifth year kid (Kummer), who does the most right things. He can run more of our offense correctly and make… better decisions, which you would expect – that your fifth-year senior is making better decisions,” Martin said.
“He certainly can get out of tough situations more than the young kids, and Drew can do a lot of good things within our offense. But we have two (other) talented (quarterbacks).” One “is a redshirt freshman in Gus (Ragland), who is a dynamic run-threat but can also throw the ball. Is he ready for a full-on passing game at this point in his career – no, but at some point, yes. But we need to use Gus’ athleticism and Gus’ toughness and just Gus’ will to win.”
Martin continued, “We’ve got a very talented freshman (in) Billy Bahl, who anybody who watches us knows, the kid is 6-5, 240 and can really throw the ball around. He’s very smart for a freshman. … He gives us another dimension.”
At least to start this season, Martin feels he can divide snaps between several “pretty talented” quarterbacks.
“We’re going to start the year and just let it play out – play all of them and see how it surfaces in games. I think we’re going to use all those kids, just like we’re going to use multiple tailbacks for different reasons. You’ve got a 220-pound tailback and you’ve got a 175-pound tailback. We’re going to use them in different situations that are to their strengths.”
It doesn’t take much hindsight to remember where the Miami passing game was two years ago. The RedHawks were struggling to pass (or run) the football at that time. Hendrix, Martin and the staff brought the passing game back last year. Martin now seems comfortable that his trio (for the time being) can work with a talent group of receivers to keep the RedHawks productive in 2015.