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RedHawks begin preparation for Bearcats

After enjoying a homecoming of sorts this past weekend, Miami football coach Don Treadwell got back to work Monday as the RedHawks resumed practice following a bye week..

Miami is preparing to meet the University of Cincinnati in their annual grudge match for the Victory Bell in a rivalry that began in Oxford in 1888, making it the longest college football rivalry west of the Allegheny Mountains. Lately, though, it’s been more grudge than match for the RedHawks, who’ve lost the last seven games by an average of 29.6 points. Miami hasn’t beaten the Bearcats (2-1) since a 44-16 thrashing in 2005 at Yager Stadium, the site of Saturday’s 4 p.m. game.

The RedHawks, who’ve opened the season with non-conference losses at Marshall and at Kentucky, spent much of their bye week getting back to basics, Treadwell said Monday.

“It was a good opportunity to continue focusing on fundamentals,” the third-year coach said. “During the weeks of games, the time crunch makes you have to maximize the limited time you have with your players to get ready for the game. The bye week gives you a chance to spend more individual time with them working on the fundamentals — blocking, tackling, throwing and catching.”

Treadwell knows Miami will have to be razor sharp in all of those areas to snap Cincinnati’s seven-game winning streak in the series, the longest by either team. The coach – who played on three winning teams out of four in the rivalry from 1978 through 1981, couldn’t pinpoint one main reason the Bearcats are suddenly so dominant, though their winning streak coincides exactly with their joining the Big East in 2005. That gave Cincinnati a recruiting advantage, he believes.

“UC joined a (Bowl Championship Series) conference, and they took advantage,” Treadwell said. “Cincinnati is a very talented team. They had a little bit of a change in quarterback (after Munchie Legaux’s knee injury against Illinois on Sept. 7), but they went (Brandon) Kay and didn’t change a thing. That is a very talented ballclub we’ll play this week.”

Kay was 12 of 14 for 277 yards and four touchdowns in the Bearcats’ 66-9 blowout of Northwestern State on Saturday.

Miami has declared this week’s game, the RedHawks’ home opener, as a White Out game and is encouraging fans to wear that color. Treadwell is hoping that promotion and others will attract a large and boisterous crowd of Miami supporters to 24,286-seat Yager, in its 30th season as Miami’s home field.

Treadwell took advantage of the bye week to go see his son, senior offensive lineman Blake, play for Michigan State in a 55-17 win over Youngstown State in East Lansing. Youngstown State was Treadwell’s first stop in a coaching career that began in 1986, while Michigan State was his last stop before taking the head coaching job at Miami before the 2011 season.

“You don’t get a chance to do the dad thing too often in our business,” he said.

• Miami announced that kickoff for the RedHawks game at Illinois on Sept. 28 has been set or noon Eastern time. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

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