Hustle Belt: Has the change in coaching staff had a noticeable impact in the team's demeanor from last season?
Tom Downey: The biggest thing I've noticed so far is just the increase in energy during practice. The players seem more excited, they are more vocal and seem like they are having more fun. When a defensive player makes an interception in 11-on-11, the entire defensive group goes nuts. Same goes for the offense.
I think they're are feeding off the coaching staff. Martin and his staff are a complete 180 from Treadwell and Co., who never showed any emotion on the sideline. The staff isn't afraid to chew out a player when needed.
HB: Everyone's expecting Andrew Hendrix to start at quarterback. How does he look?
TD: He's clearly way better than any QB Miami currently has. I don't mean that as a slight against any of the other QBs on the roster, but there is a reason Hendrix was so highly touted out of Moeller High School.
He makes throws that make you go, "So that's why he went to Notre Dame." He'll makes his mistakes, but having him will be huge for the offense. He's got great knowledge of the offense and his presence is almost like having a coach on the field.
HB: How is the offense adjusting to the new schemes being put in place?
TD: They're getting there. It's not easy to install a whole new offense, and expecting the team to have mastered everything and anything isn't really fair. It'll take some time, but Martin says they are getting better every day. They'll be better by the time Marshall comes to town and they'll be way better by the time MAC play starts.
Plus, just moving away from the wishbone/triple option scheme to the spread scheme will help. (And please the fans too.)
HB: Have the rookies -- the freshmen, that is, not the transfers that followed Chuck Martin -- made an impact so far?
TD: They haven't made a Leonard Fournette-type impact, but there will be freshmen who see playing time. Martin said the team isn't deep, so the freshmen will get their chance. They are inconsistent still, but that's to be expected. As for individuals, the offensive guys probably have the best chance to see the field and make an impact.
Three freshman tailbacks (Paul Moses, Alonzo Smith and Kenny Young) all have a chance. Sam Martin, the wide receiver Miami lost to Rutgers and then got back in the week leading up to Signing Day, has a chance. Maybe a big wide out like Chris Hudson (listed at 6-foot-6, 259 pounds) sees some action in the red zone.
Martin told me any of the freshmen on the offensive line or at tight end might get a chance, because there just isn't any depth.
On defense, freshman linemen Deion Cineus and Ikeem Allen might have the best shot, mostly because of their size. Cineus is 6-foot-3, 317 pounds and Allen is 6-foot-1, 305 pounds. The defensive line is undersized as a unit, so that size could be important.
I'm sure there will be others who see the field (maybe on special teams), but those guys above are probably the favorites for now.
Also, can we count Quinten Rollins as a rookie? He works with the 1s in practice and looks really good. Miami will probably use at least three corners, especially against spread offenses, and Rollins is one of those top three. He's going to see the field quite a bit.
HB: Who's replacing Zac Murphy at punter?
TD: Martin told me it will probably be Christian Koch. Murphy was huge for Miami last season, so Koch has some big shoes to fill.