‘We just want to get better’ — Miami football moving along with spring practice


OXFORD — Kolby Borders understands what it takes to play at a Mid-American Conference championship level.

Miami’s senior center wants the underclassmen to figure that out, too.

While the RedHawks don’t have MAC title repeat on their minds — at least not right this moment — they’re doing what needs to be done as spring practice moves along.

“We just want to get better,” said Borders, who played in and started all 14 of Miami’s games a season ago. “There’s a lot of stuff that we know we can do better on. There’s a lot of things that we feel we left on the table, even though we won a lot.

“Our young guys are going to play hard,” Borders added. “A lot of the young guys are willing to play hard and put their facemask on somebody.

“We’re going to show that we’re one of the toughest teams in the country to play, and everybody’s going to hate playing us.”

Borders last year was part of an offensive line that helped the RedHawks rush for 158.1 yards a game and allow just 24 total sacks.

Borders, though, said he wants to see more offense — more offense to compliment a defense surrendering 15.9 points a game, which ranked seventh in the nation last season.

“Obviously, our defense is one of the best in the country,” Borders said. “They took over most games, so we want it to be us this year and to be able to prove to teams that we’re going to score points and our defense isn’t going to have to outdo everybody.”

Miami went 11-3 overall (7-1 MAC) in 2023, which included its conference championship win over Toledo and the Avocados from Cure Bowl loss to Appalachian State.

But since then, things have looked relatively different for the RedHawks personnel wise as they wrapped up their fourth spring practice Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re just excited to get going,” 11th-year Miami coach Chuck Martin said. “We had a good offseason. Our strength levels are the best they’ve been.

“We lost some good players. That stinks. You never want to lose good players,” Martin added. “Now, it’s opportunities for guys to step up. Who’s going to get those carries? Those throws? Who’s going to get those tackles? I always say, ‘This is what you’ve been waiting for.’

“We’d like to have some of those guys back. Some graduated. But who’s time is it going to be now? That’s the exciting part of spring. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re excited with this group.”

Martin said his RedHawks are moving in the right direction, getting past some early hiccups and preparing to open the season with a tough nonconference slate at Northwestern (Aug. 31), at home against Cincinnati (Sept. 14) and at Notre Dame (Sept. 21). Miami will later travel to Toledo on Oct. 5 to kickoff MAC play.

“We have awesome kids. They always want to get better. They’re always willing to be coached and work,” Martin said Tuesday after practice. “Today was a good day. We took a step forward.

“We open up with Toledo the first (MAC) game. That was awesome by the schedule makers. We’re very excited about getting Toledo right out of the chute. I’m not sure why we did that, but no one asked me as usual. We’ve got some really good games. We better start practicing. We have the juggernaut right off the bat.”

The RedHawks are coming off their 17th MAC Championship, second under Martin, with the 23-14 win over Toledo on Dec. 2 in Detroit.

“It’s hard to repeat,” Martin said. “No one ever repeats. … We’ve got a challenging schedule. Our first two weeks are teams we beat the last time we played, and they’re not real happy that we beat them.”

The last time Miami won 11 games in a season NFL future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was taking snaps back in 2003 (13-1).

“Every year is different. Every day is different,” Martin said. “Today was different. Sunday was different than last Thursday.

“Anybody who has raised a teenager knows how hard it was to raise just one teenager,” Martin added. “I signed up for a job where I have 110 18- to 24-year-olds. My job is to get them to make good decisions all day, every day. That’s a stupid job right? … It keeps you young. It beats working for a living.”

The Report and the JournalNews are coverage partners.

The Latest

To Top