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Previewing The Miami RedHawks With Hustle Belt's Jordan Rinard

Western Kentucky was four points shy of an upset over Big 10 foe Indiana last week. Miami (OH) was five points shy of knocking off rival Cincinnati at home last week. There's a lot to play for at Smith Stadium this week, and we enlisted the Hustle Belt's Jordan Rinard to help us understand things from the RedHawks side of things.

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Fletcher Keel: Miami has opened with a fairly unbalanced schedule - Presbyterian, Wisconsin and Cincinnati. Of those three teams, it seems Cincy is the most evenly matched team to the RedHawks, and the Bearcats and lost by four. My roundabout question here is - do RedHawks fans really know what this team is yet? And if so, what is Miami this year?

Jordan Rinard: After playing UC, I think fans have a much clearer picture of what Miami is this season: an up-tempo offense that'll lean on its running game and it's play-action game while being an opportunistic, bend but don't break defense. The team still has flaws (inexperience at quarterback, not a dominant offensive line, undersized front seven), but this is the first Miami team in a long time that has fans excited for MAC play.

FK: The RedHawks have three running backs with 19 or more carries and two backs with over 100 yards rushing through the first three games. Is this a true platoon, or is Miami just taking "situational running back" to the extreme with three main options?

JR: It's definitely more of a platoon with Kenny Young being the speed back that can play in the slot while Alonzo Smith and Leonard Ross being better inside runners. Depending on how the game is going, they'll lean on the back that's having the most success. I expect all of them to get a lot of touches on Saturday at WKU.

FK: Led by Sam Martin, there are already four 100-yard receivers in the RedHawks offense. Which is the most dangerous, and are they all just as capable as the other to burn a defense?

JR: They're all fairly dangerous and are capable of making big plays. Rokeem Williams is more of the deep threat while Chris Hudson provides a big target at 6'6". Martin and Jared Murphy lead the team with 20+ targets each and are probably the best route runners, so Miami has plenty of places to with the football on offense.

FK: Miami's defense is allowing, on average, five touchdowns a game. How big of a concern is the defense heading into this week, and potentially for the rest of the year?

JR: Huge concern. They're near last in the country in run defense and it's hard to see how they'll improve with undersized players and a general lack of explosiveness in the front seven. The team forced seven turnovers so far this year, but it'll be difficult to sustain that kind of production for the whole season.

FK: Miami and Cincinnati is a huge rivalry, and the RedHawks fell just short of the victory last week. How much emotion will carry over into Saturday, and how do you think things will go down at Smith Stadium come 2:30?

JR: I don't the emotion of last week will affect the team that much. While it was disappointing to get a loss, they have another opportunity to pick up a huge non-conference win this week. I expect them to be prepared and I expect a hard-fought and well played game. I don't know how Miami will stop WKU's offense with their lackluster pass rush and I don't know if their quarterbacks can play mistake-free football for four quarters, which they'll need to do to pick up the win. I expect the Hilltoppers to win somewhere in the range of 35-23.