Miami (Ohio) unveils statues, tries to beat Army
The Cradle of Coaches Plaza will get four more bronze statues on Saturday, a reminder of Miami of Ohio's special place in college football history.
Then, the RedHawks will try to get their first win under their latest coach, one having a tough time in the early going.
Miami will dedicate statues of Ara Parseghian, Bo Schembechler, Earl ''Red'' Blaik and John Pont on a plaza at Yager Stadium before a game against Army (2-3) on Saturday. They'll join statues of Weeb Ewbank, Paul Dietzel and Carm Cozza that were dedicated last year.
Miami's 34th head coach knows all about the history.
''It's great to have the opportunity to be involved,'' said first-year coach Don Treadwell, a four-year starter at Miami from 1978-81. ''When you throw into the mix the fact that four more statues are going to be unveiled and you're playing a team that represents our country, it's going to be a unique experience.''
So would winning a game as head coach.
The RedHawks (0-4) hoped they'd turned a corner last season. They finished 1-11 in 2009, but rebounded by winning the Mid-American Conference under former coach Mike Haywood, who was then hired and fired by Pittsburgh.
Miami beat Middle Tennessee in the GoDaddy.com Bowl for a 10-4 finish, becoming the first Football Bowl Subdivision program to win 10 games in a season right after losing 10. They haven't been able to keep the momentum going.
The RedHawks are coming off a 27-0 loss to local rival Cincinnati, the Bearcats' first shutout in Oxford since 1898. Miami's offensive line was overwhelmed, quarterback Zac Dysert was under constant pressure, and the RedHawks couldn't even score after a first-and-goal from inside the 1-yard line. They finished with minus-3 yards rushing.
The Black Knights watched video of Miami's close early losses this season - 17-6 at Missouri, 29-23 at Minnesota - and felt a little empathy.
''You can almost feel the frustration on that football team watching them play,'' Army coach Rich Ellerson said. ''They're doing so many good things, and the scoreboard won't reflect that.''
Army knows that feeling.
The Black Knights have lost both of their road games, 49-26 at Northern Illinois and 48-21 at Ball State. They've self-destructed with turnovers and been at their worst when they've hit the road, giving up a total of 1,054 yards in those two games.
''We're on the road to the scene of several crimes - the Midwest, where we've played poorly,'' Ellerson said. ''We know how hard it is to win on the road because we haven't come close to doing that.''
Ellerson changed the Black Knights' practice schedule during the week to try to keep them fresh for this road game.
''We're going to get this week right,'' he said. ''We're going to have minds and feet in the right place on Saturday because we haven't done that the last two times on the road.''
Army has the advantage of coming off an encouraging win.
The Black Knights got their triple-option offense rolling, and even threw a ball a little bit, too, during a 45-6 win over Tulane. Army came in with the nation's lowest-ranked passing offense, averaging only 38.8 yards per game, but showed a little diversity. Trent Steelman completed all of his three passes for 70 yards and a touchdown, and ran for two more scores.
Steelman has started 30 games in his West Point career, tied with Leamon Hall for the longest such streak by a quarterback in Army's history.
''He's making good reads, distributing the ball, and he's much more efficient throwing the ball,'' Ellerson said. ''He was a very efficient player this last week.''
Miami's defense has been its strong point. The RedHawks haven't played Army since 1998, when Miami won 14-13 at West Point, so it'll be a different kind of test for most of the players going against a triple-option team.
''The style of offense Army has is unique,'' Treadwell said. ''You don't see a lot of teams running it.''