ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Football head coach Frank Solich met with the press on Monday to discuss the Bobcats' bye week and home game against Miami on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. at Peden Stadium and can be seen on ESPN2 or ESPNU. Here is the complete transcript.
Head Coach Frank Solich
Weekly Press Conference Quotes
Oct. 23, 2017 – Bye/Miami Week
"The game started off slowly for us. We did not play extremely well early on. You have to give credit to Kent State. I thought they certainly battled and played hard. They want to win too. We had a slow start, but as the game went on I thought we got better. I was pleased with the outcome and the effort of our guys. We have things that we need to get straightened out. We're dropping too many balls, our passing attack needs to be better, and I think we can be both a very good running team and a very good passing team. We need to hit a higher percentage of our passes. Holding onto the ball would help. We've been hit and miss on taking care of the ball. We did a pretty good job this past game; we won the turnover ratio by one. It's always good to win that. We'd like to win it by two-plus, that's kind of our goal. Overall, it was a pretty good game on both sides of the ball. We had too many penalties on special teams, that's something that needs to be addressed. Our defense is continuing to get better as the year goes on. I think our secondary is showing improvement; I think our linebackers, although they've been banged up, continue to play well. Our guys inside seem to be holding up very well. We've played a number of rush-ends that seemed to hold up, so we'll see how that unfolds as we get later in the season."
On embracing the rivalry between Ohio and Miami:
"It's important to our fans, our student body, and the community, as it is to Miami. When I got here, it was made clear that was our main rival, so I jumped on board. It made sense to do that. You guys know me, that I work at approaching every game the same way. It only takes one game where you're supposed to win, where you should win, and you don't win to understand that. We're serious about every single game that's on the schedule. The Miami games seem to be really important to a lot of people so I made it important to myself. We've worked to uphold our end of the rivalry. It's always been a good, hard fought, physical football game that is always decided on a few plays here and there."
On what kind of time off the players receive during this short bye-week:
"We're giving them three complete days off. We gave them Sunday and today off. They don't even have to come in and look at us. They've earned these days. We're going for about 45 minutes tomorrow."
On the offensive line's role in the rushing attack:
"Nobody gets huge yards in a game without an offensive line that doesn't do their job. We have some of the best backs in the league, but if they can't get to the linebacker depth with blocking then they aren't going to have a very good game. It's [the offensive line's] job to make sure they can get to that linebacker depth, and then it's the back's job after that. The offensive line is paramount in terms of having a good rushing attack. Coach Johnson has done a great job with those guys. We have two freshmen playing, and they're obviously gaining a lot of experience. We've lost Jared McCray for a little bit of time, we've lost Durrell Wood for possibly the rest of the season. You take two guys out of there who have been experiences guys for you, and to replace them, or function without them is a credit to our players and Coach Johnson.
On the success of the option play this year:
"It starts with the quarterback. The way an option play is designed, in order to be successful you have to seal off backers, and that starts with your offensive line. Then, you have to have a quarterback that knows how to attack the defensive end, knows when to pitch it and when to keep it. Nathan seems to have a knack for that, and you can see it in his play. We practice it a lot. We are having success with it. Teams will have to slow that down, and I'm sure they'll work on that…If you have a good inside [running] game that allows you to execute the option well."
On getting Brenden Cope back in the mix against Miami:
"You need all of your weapons against Miami. They're a very good and experience football team. They have eight guys on both sides of the ball from last year's team that were counted on as starters. That's a really experienced football team and they were really good last year. You know that's going to be a factor and you know what you're going to be up against."
On Brenden Cope's status for this week:
"Probably good. Exactly when we'll get them back to practice is the question. We're hoping he can come back and practice three or four days leading up to the game. We've had receivers trying to keep themselves on the field, and the only way to do that lately is to not practice them all of the time because of their injuries. Does that carry over to dropped passes and not being sharp on your routes? When you can't practice a lot does that effect your timing from quarterback to receiver? Sure it does."
On halftime adjustments the team makes:
"We make some adjustments, but it comes down to playing and executing better. Sometimes it takes the early part of the game to get settled down and to look at what we need to do better. There are multiple things that go into the halftime meeting in terms of preparing to play your best game in the second half. Some of it comes down to what the coaches can get done, and some of it comes down to the players having a chance to look at one another in the eye and realize they need to play a better game."
On Dave Johnson's impact on the run game:
"He motivates his guys and he is very thorough. We know that a lineman in our system will be a much better player by the time he gets to his second or third year with Coach Johnson's guidance. He is very particular in his coaching style; he is driven in terms of making sure the guys take the right step. He coaches every single play with the importance of not being one inch off on this or one inch off on that. It can be frustrating being a young guy on the team having a thousand things going through your head. But those frustrations get overridden quickly by proper technique, doing all the right things, and giving yourself as a player the best chance to be a dominant lineman. And that is what Coach Johnson is all about."
On what Coach Johnson does during the games in terms of play calling:
"He is on the headset, communicating and suggesting with our other coaches. When the offensive linemen are off the field he has them over in a group going through what had just happened. Coach Johnson has constant dialogue with all of our coaches, so everyone has a chance to communicate on their thoughts of what plays should happen next."
On embracing the Miami culture and rivalry:
"When you have two teams that have a rivalry you need to jump on board, which I did. I was used to big rivalries in my previous job, so I know how meaningful a rivalry is to the coaches, players and fans. Rivalries are so important to so many people so we continue to utilize that as part of what our game is all about. Miami's players and coaches are great, so you like to have a rivalry with teams that have a historic program and good players."
On Papi White being back as a receiver:
"He is an explosive player. They have to know where he is at on the field all the time. There may be times when a team realizes they have to do some things special to slow him down. It is huge to us to have him back, but in saying that, when our guys are healthy our receivers are fast. We have Cope, who is one of the fastest guys on the team, Papi has great speed and a lot going for himself, and our other receivers also have the ability to be quick threats. We want to get everyone healthy and playing at the top of their level to have a good passing game."
On not focusing on reaching a bowl game:
"We want to keep moving this program forward. We don't want to plateau across the board. Nine-in-a-row bowl eligibility is great, but there are other accomplishments out there we want to get them."
On recruiting players from Florida:
"Florida is a concentrated area for us and we have established some relationships with high school coaches down there, which is helpful. We know that in general, there is a lot of talent down there. At times we will have three coaches in different parts of Florida recruiting. We also go down there to some university's football camps so we can identify players. We are also on national TV a fair amount of time, so we think those Florida kids are watching Ohio play, and can recognize we have a good program here. Our coaches have been around Florida with experience, such as Coach Dixon, who coached down in Florida. They know what is involved in recruiting and have created good relationships with high school coaches. We always start off in Ohio when recruiting then go wherever else we can."
On Florida players being drawn to Ohio over ACC or SEC schools:
"I think when it comes to scouts, pro scouts are here on campus. We have many scouts coming through here and players know if they play good football they can have a chance to get to the NFL from here. Being on national TV like we are is also important for those families who cannot come up for games as much, which is a huge factor in their decision making. When you add it all up, we can go almost anywhere to recruit, and do a good job at it, we even have some connections and players from Canada."
On Chad Moore's development
"It didn't take very long to identify Chad's qualities. Chad is as tough as they get, and put athleticism with toughness, along with him being bright, what's left? We knew he would continue to develop in the program and be a really good player."
On not having to switch out the defense when another team brings out a third wide-out
"There is nothing saying if they bring a third white out on the field that they aren't going to run the ball. Having a linebacker who can pursue and fill gaps is what we are after on a third in medium or a third in long. Teams don't just line up and do what you think or want them to do. Having a guy like Chad who is versatile and the rest of our linebackers we can get away with having him on the field in passing situations."
On having Chad Moore's older brother Keith on the team in the past
"It wasn't a package deal, but he mentioned him. We were alerted to Chad without Keith having to say much about him. Chad wanted to walk on here so it wasn't a deal where we had to go knock his door down. We want players who want to be here, and we knew his brother was a good player, and Chad has turned out to be great."