OXFORD — As it turned out, the Miami RedHawks had to deal with a hurricane before facing the Miami Hurricanes.
Circumstances associated with Hurricane Idalia led to the RedHawks sitting on the tarmac at West Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday before proceeding to Miami, Fla., to meet the Hurricanes on Friday. The RedHawks didn’t get to their hotel until 10:30 p.m., completing a much-longer-than-expected 10-1/2-hour trek.
Whether a smooth journey would have made a difference against the Atlantic Coast Conference team is doubtful, as proven by the Hurricanes’ decisive 38-3 win in the season-opener for both teams.
“A ton of credit goes to Miami (Fla.),” RedHawks coach Chuck Martin said Monday morning during the program’s weekly media session. He still was disappointed in his team’s effort. “They blocked. We didn’t block. They tackled. We didn’t tackle. Their quarterback had all the time in the world to throw. Ours didn’t. I was disappointed in our execution. We couldn’t maintain edges.”
The Hurricanes have helped themselves by indulging heavily in the name, image and likeness program, now in its third year, Martin added.
“They’ve spent a lot of money buying the best players,” the 10th-year coach said. “There are at the front end of doing it the right way. They got an offensive lineman from Alabama. Who wouldn’t want that kid?”
Concerns voiced by Martin before the game about too many players trying to make game-winning plays came true.
“Still, we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off,” he said. “We made too many mental mistakes. We left too many opportunities on the field.
“... We’ve got a long way to as a football team.”
Defensive tackle Austin Ertl believes his unit was guilty of resting on the laurels of being last season’s Mid-American Conference scoring defense leader.
“Our defense played flat,” the senior said. “We weren’t on the same page. That was a reality check. We took our foot off the gas. Systematically, we didn’t do anything different. We just didn’t play the right way. They have four starters back on the offensive line. They had one guy who was a huge, powerful dude.”
Junior wide receiver Gage Larvadian believed lack of execution helped limit the offense to 215 yards of total offense.
“We had a good game plan,” said the transfer from Southeast Louisiana, who finished with eight catches for 80 yards. “We just didn’t execute.”
Martin was mostly happy with the performance of the RedHawks’ special teams, a position underscored on Monday when punter Alec Bevelhimer was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Special Teams Player of the Week. The junior from Indianapolis averaged 45.2 yards per punt on six punts. Two sailed more than 50 yards, including one that traveled a career-long 62 yards, and two other kicks were downed inside the Hurricanes’ 20-yard line.
Bevelhimer saw his first significant game action while filling in for junior Dom Dzioban, who still is recovering from a spring practice injury.
Martin described his RedHawks as “beat up, physically,” but the only significant problem involves fifth-year junior tight end Jack Coldiron, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
“He’s done for the season,” Martin said. “It’s a pretty massive injury. He’s an unbelievable kid. I feel bad for him.”
Martin was happy for the extra day off afforded by the game being played on Friday. The RedHawks are scheduled to play at the University of Massachusetts on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
“We took a physical whupping,” he said. “We sat on the tarmac for three hours. Then we played a night game and got back late.
“It was a rough couple of days.”
Miami at UMass, 3:30 p.m., ESPN+, 980, 1450