Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, November 16, 2001


UH Football

This Miami older,
bigger than the other

But the Ohio version has a smaller
football budget than the school
located in Florida

By Dave Reardon

Smashmouth is quickly becoming just the name of a band rather than a brand of football, even in the Midwest.

Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes perfected three yards and a cloud of dust at Miami (Ohio), the Cradle of Coaches. But five in the pattern and a flurry of high-fives is becoming the style of choice for the RedHawks.

So expect an aerial show when no-huddle Miami (7-3) meets run-and-shoot Hawaii (6-3) tomorrow at Aloha Stadium. The teams average a combined 76.5 passes per game and more than 800 yards of offense, most of it by air.

"You've got to be able to throw the football to win championships," Miami coach Terry Hoeppner said. "I think today Woody would throw the ball. Bo, too, if he wanted to win. Our fans like it, but I'm sure there's some old fogey somewhere saying, 'That's not Miami football.' "

Hoeppner is in his third year as RedHawk head coach after 13 years as an assistant at the Oxford, Ohio, school. He said he warned the school's administration of his intent to fly footballs in the face of tradition.

So far, there are no complaints. If the old fogey exists, he hasn't called Hoeppner yet.

The RedHawks are 20-12 under Hoeppner, and had won seven in a row before losing to Marshall 27-21 last week in a game for the Mid-America Conference East Division championship.

Hoeppner said Miami (Ohio) suffers from no identity crisis because of its more famous college football neighbor to the south. While the Hurricanes have national championships, the RedHawks -- or Redskins, as they were known before 1997 -- have longevity. And all those famous coaches' pictures in Hoeppner's office.

"They were named after us. Someone from the Miami valley went to southern Florida and named the area Miami. They're the smaller school, but they have the higher profile because they've got a bigger football budget," Hoeppner said. "The biggest difference is not between the lines, it's the external stuff: fan support, budget, public perception."

He said playing football since 1888 and piling up 604 wins gives Miami, the northern version, a recruiting advantage over many schools.

"It's tremendous. People know about us, the quality of the program, all those wins," Hoeppner said.

"We're probably better known for all the coaches that came through, but our academics are second-to-none, the campus is absolutely beautiful and the facilities are very good. We have a lot to sell besides our football tradition."

Still, the reality is that the RedHawks are a midmajor playing in a non-glamor conference. But Miami doesn't dodge anyone.

Its other two losses this season were to Michigan and Iowa.

"We play those higher profile teams and win our share," said Hoeppner, who pointed to victories against Northwestern in 1995 when the Wildcats won the Big Ten championship, and over Virginia Tech in 1997 two seasons before the Hokies played for the national title.

"Yet for the most part, people would rather spend $40 to watch Ohio State than pay $20 to watch us," he said.

Hula Bowl lands Moanalua graduate

Washington starting fullback Ken Walker, a Moanalua High School graduate, has accepted an invitation to play in the Feb. 2 Hula Bowl.

Walker, 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, has carried 9 times for 21 yards and one touchdown this season.

He played linebacker for the Huskies before moving to fullback last fall and became the first Washington player in five years to start games on offense and defense.

Walker played in the Huskies' 34-24 Rose Bowl victory over Purdue last season.

Washington (7-2, 5-2 Pac-10) hosts Washington State (9-1, 6-1) tomorrow in the annual Apple Cup game.

Star-Bulletin staff

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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