In games between two Mid-American Conference teams the difference between
winning and losing often comes down to special teams.
Paine is Miami's top return man.
Through four games of the 2010 season the Miami RedHawks, Kent State's
opponent on Saturday, have proven to be consistent on special teams. That has
allowed the RedHawks to already double their win total from a season ago.
Last fall the RedHawks finished 1-11 in head coach Mike Haywood's
first season. This year, Miami is at 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the MAC.
Miami has excelled in the kicking game and kick coverage, but the RedHawks
haven't had much success in the return game.
Here's a look at Miami's special teams unit:
Senior Seth Phillip has 13 of Miami's 20 kickoffs this season.
He averages 57.3 yards per attempt. Senior Trevor Cook averages 64.9
yards per kickoff, on seven attempts. With a net of 38.5 yards per kickoff,
Miami opponents have an average starting position of their own 31-yard line.
The longest return allowed by Miami's defense has been 50 yards.
Junior wide receiver DeMarco Paine has all 18 of
kickoff returns this season. He averages 21.9 yards per return with a long
of 41 yards.
His average return on his other 17 attempts is about 21 yards.
Opponents never know what they're going to get out of Miami's
punt team. Redshirt freshman Zac Murphy has 13 punts for 522 yards,
a 40.2-yard per punt average. His long boot is 50 yards. Opponents have signaled
for a fair catch on eight of his punts. Murphy has landed one kick inside the
opponents' 20-yard line and has a long punt of 50 yards.
The RedHawks also have lined up on fourth down with redshirt junior linebacker
Ryan Kennedy, a high school quarterback, and freshman quarterback
Robert Partridge in punt formation. Kennedy has one punt for 11 yards
and Partridge has one for 40 yards.
But, the RedHawks also have faked the punt with Kennedy in the backfield.
Against Florida, he had a 17-yard completion to tight end Kendrick Bruton that went for a first down. Kennedy's only other pass fell incomplete.
Kennedy is likely to miss the Kent State game as he recovers from an injury.
Opponents average just 6.2 yards per return with no touchdowns.
Paine, who handles kickoff return duties for the RedHawks, is also Miami's
leading punt returner. He has returned four punts for just 15 yards, with a
long of nine yards.
Trevor Cook has hit on 7-of-8 field goal attempts with a long of 40 yards.
He was 4-for-4 at Florida with successful attempts from 33, 31, 31 and 33 yards.
His only miss, a 46-yard attempt, was last week in a 51-13 loss at Missouri.
After that miss,
he later connected from 40 yards out.
Cook is a perfect 9-for-9 on extra point tries. The RedHawks have yet to attempt
a two-point conversion.
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