$restriction.code /sports/fball/2018-19/releases/20181123ol29m8

Ohio Football vs. Akron | Postgame Quotes

Ohio Head Coach Frank Solich

Opening Statement:
"It was a good win. Glad that our guys were able to put it together and come out with somewhat convincing win. I don't know if it was one of our better games, there were a lot of penalties involved, way more than we're used to having in a game. It slowed the game down a fair amount. At times I don't think we played four great quarters, coming off of last game we wanted to continue that going forward. I think we were at an emotional peak before that last one and we were ready to play this one. We worked hard in preparation for this one. It was a great win, you take every win as it comes. I'm just really glad for the seniors that they were able to get this done and come up with a satisfying win. They're a special group and I look forward to going to a bowl game with them. They were a huge part in us going undefeated at home this year, which is something that hasn't happened since 1968, which is unique. I'm just proud of them."

On home wins:
"I think it speaks with what they're all about. They haven't let anything get in their way. If something slowed them down or something took them out of their goals they adjusted and moved on. That serves you really well in football and in life. I feel good that these guys are ready to go out in the real world and get things done at a high level."

On if losing A.J. Ouellette and Papi White was bittersweet:
"Yup."

On the consistency of the offensive line:
"They've been amazing. I knew we had a good experience line coming in, but then they continued to perform at the level they did which was special. Obviously, it helps your running backs to have that kind of a line. The combination of those things don't come along all the time, maybe it does at Alabama, but not with other teams. It was somewhat unique in that regard, the potential was there. Tim [Albin] really coaches the running backs, Bart [Miller] with the offensive line, Brian [Haines] with the tight ends which we are working on, and Dwayne [Dixon] works with blocking. In order for it to come together like it did this year it takes a combination of a lot of things. You start with personnel which we had good ones at the running backs and receivers."

On A.J. Ouellette and Frank Solich's similarities:
"Those guys are out there. A.J. was certainly one that no one offered scholarship to him. But you could see on film that he was a talented, tough kid. Those two things, talent and tough, takes you a long way at any positions, but specifically at running back. We thought he would develop into a really good player, but didn't know it would be so quick. That first year he was getting things done but kept improving. He became a complete person for you, and he was a great player, great guy in the classroom, great guy on the street. Everything he does is special. People around him get better because of him. That was certainly the case for other running backs. I think there was a connection right away between us. I recognize him as a guy who was special in his toughness. He kept getting better and better with skill level, toughness, comradery, teamwork. Having him for those years were special because he's not only a complete back but a complete person. I just love being around him."

On the 2018 season:
"A lot of really good things happened. A few games could have made a difference in terms of accomplishing our goals, maybe a quarter away from being able to get it all done. With MAC scheduling you have to be really good, a little lucky, and have a few balls bounce your way to get it all done. We didn't do it, but again that was not fault of their own. I think it's tough to not try to find a way to help those guys reach their goal better than what I did. it's a special team and it will always be like that to me."

On the last 14 seasons:
"At times yes, and at times no it doesn't feel like it. It's gone by quickly in that regard. There are a lot of things you want to keep doing and keep getting better at. Keep improving in terms of the program. Usually it takes some time to get that done. There are some things that I don't feel like I've done a good enough job to get that program where I want it to be. We didn't go backwards and I think I've still got a consistent program that is respected around here."

On overall consistency:
"We're not. We have to do things a little bit better. Hopefully be able to take the program to the next step. We'll see. Right now I like being consistent and being able to win football games and feel good about your season. But just like every coach, I want to take this program to the next step. We're still working on that here."

Ohio Player Quotes

Redshirt senior wide receiver Papi White (Seminole, Okla.)

On realizing he could set the receiving record: 
"I think it was last week after the game my parents told me and it's an honor. I'm pretty happy about it."

On if he's met LaVon Brazill?
"That was his record? LaVon Brazill? Yeah, I want to meet him now."

On getting the record out of the way early:
"Yeah, I feel like it was. But we were just trying to execute plays out there."

On the emotions of Senior Day:
"I thought it was pretty sad at the beginning of the game, after senior night. With my parents here, this was only their second game to watch in person. I just felt like we just did this in high school for senior night—it goes by so quick."

On A.J. Ouellette:
"Paying attention the whole meeting. I pay attention for a little bit then I see A.J. over there and he is still zoned in and writing notes. He taught me a lot about that."

Redshirt senior cornerback Kylan Nelson (Lexington, Ky.) 

On the punt return TD:
"It's cool. It's exciting. Thankfully, the guys that were blocking for me up front just had good blocks and they did what they were supposed to do. I did my part; that's what happened. It's just icing on the cake, man. I don't even like cake."

On how the defense has improved over the year:
"It has shown that they believed in me, Javon [Hagan], and Jalen [Fox] to take them on to where we want to be and where we know we can be. We made it a point to not be super hard on ourselves; everybody knows that we can make plays. We just have to be in the right position and have the right technique. I think that once we started playing better together, our relationships got even closer. I didn't even think that was possible. It's a pretty tight-knit group and I think that shows when we play. Every play, we all have each other's back—we are always picking each other up."

On the punt return:
"Yeah, it was cool. The guys up front were doing their job; they made it really easy for me."

On the emotions of Senior Day:
"I was trying to be cool, then I was kind of nervous. I just wanted to over emphasize 'just do your job and come out with a win—don't try to do anything too extra or too spectacular'. I just tried to treat it like a normal game but inside, in my heart and my mind, it was a lot more. Given the way the game went, I am pretty satisfied."

Redshirt senior running back A.J. Ouellette (Covington, Ohio)

On getting 1,000 yards for the second time in his career:
"Coming into the game we had a good game plan of my style. Most of those big runs came on power plays, which is not really going to pop like that, but credit to our offensive line. When you have the two Joes [Lowery and Anderson] pulling, those D-ends and linebackers are kind of scared."

On his final game at Peden:
"The 6-0 record that we got here during our senior year is something that we won't forget, that's for sure. We know that every game we showed up and played. Credit to our fans, who were the best fans in the MAC, like they've been for years. They make it easy for us to go out there and execute."

On if this was how he thought his college career would go:
"The first day on campus, I never thought it would end like this. I thought it would have a different route, but I knew that I had the ability to do this. I am just thankful that the coaches gave me a chance."

On Papi White's career:
"It is crazy to think about. It is just a tribute to him coming in the first two years as a running back and then they moved him. Only playing a couple years as a receiver, it's just a tribute to him. It helped that we have quarterbacks that have been good throwing the ball and of course an offensive line that is good at protecting, but for him to come in and be sweet at running back like he was, then go out there to slot like he was born to be out there was crazy."

On the impact that he's had on the program and Coach Albin:
"I think I cried for a half hour when I heard that. To me, that is one of the biggest honors that you can have. For the way that he has taught me throughout my career here, I owe him more than I can give. For him to give me a chance, for him to see my potential, and for him to care about his running backs as people rather than yards, I couldn't wish for a better coach."

Akron Head Coach Terry Bowden 

"I mean really that's exactly why we couldn't come back enough, 28-7 at halftime. Offense matched them point for point, but we couldn't get them off the field. Second half we needed the defense to come through and get them off the field and we couldn't get them off the field. The second half and they matched all of our points with points. The offense gets going and the defense doesn't play, and the defense goes the opposite. With Keto [Nelson] out a couple weeks that hurt us, but you know what, these guys fought as they have fought all year long. There was never any point in this game, until the very end, where you can say you know what we will get the next score then we will onside kick and we are one away. Kept doing that and kept doing that. So, I was awful proud the way our players fought and the way they fought back. They have been through a lot of adversity and I am proud of these football players. They all learn a lot from it. I told them, they all have the luck of having an incredible football game coming up. It doesn't heal everything, but it sure gives you a chance to go out there and have something very very special to end your season with."