ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Football head coach Frank Solich met with the press on Friday to discuss the Bobcats' pivotal MAC East matchup with Akron on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at InfoCision Stadium–Summa Field and can be seen on ESPN2. Here is the complete transcript.
Head Coach Frank Solich
Weekly Press Conference Quotes
Nov. 10, 2017 – Akron Week
"We're very pleased with the performance of our team (against Toledo). We played a really good football team. We got on a bit of a roll in the third quarter which helped us extensively. All three phases of the game contributed to the win, which is what you look for. I'm proud of how our guys responded to this game. We have one coming up, where if you look at the history of the games against Akron, even the last two, came down to the last drive. We were fortunate to win both of those games, but they were very close, hard fought games and we expect this is going to be another one of those games this year. As I understand it, Quentin Poling is now the all-time tackles-for-loss career record holder at Ohio, to go along with his solo tackle career record. I'm proud of his play and his leadership. He's been special in a lot of different ways."
On what helps Ohio continue to dominate third quarters:
"We've got experienced coaches, they're bright guys. They do a great job. They've seen a lot of football over their time and they're able to make adjustments when things surprise you a little bit in the first half. Some of it is our coaches and how they make adjustments. I think the fact that we have very good players also helps."
On a possible difference in preparation between Toledo and Akron
"Preparation won't change. The time spent between the games is different. That causes you to make adjustments. I think we have a good grasp on what the MAC is about. I think this is where experienced coaching comes into play. We've been through a lot of seasons here, so we have a good idea of what we need to do, whether it's a five-day break or a 10-day break, or several games within a short period of time. We've faced all of that, so we have a pretty good handle on how to approach things and get things done."
On his relationship with Akron Head Coach Terry Bowden
"It's a good relationship. Both in football and outside of football. I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and a person. I obviously know his father some. There's a long history of the Bowden family in football."
On the role the offensive line plays in the rushing attack
"It may play the biggest role of all, because unless you're Superman you're probably not going to get much done if the offensive line isn't taking care of business upfront. We have really good backs. Our quarterback is an instinctive runner as well. If you can get those guys to the linebacker depth, they have a shot to make some people miss and to get some people done. In A.J. and Dorian's case they know when to get down and get some yards after contact. When you have the combination of it all, you usually have a very good running offense. We have a good combination in terms of our offensive line, our running backs, and our quarterbacks. Our receivers are doing a good job of blocking as well."
On how the offensive line wears down the other team's front seven
"I've seen it happen on many occasions; an offensive line or defensive line taking over a game. That's what you look for when you're building your team. I think there's a wear down approach that occurs. When guys are pounding down on you play-after-play; defensive lineman have to take on a physical offensive lineman, and then here comes a running back that is a good size and physical. Play-after-play of that can wear you down. We face really good defenses. Coaches know what they're doing in terms of substituting and building depth in their program so as the year goes on, if you have an injury, you have a number of guys who can fill roles."
On all of the milestones that have been accomplished this year:
"It goes back to having really good players. We have our share of really good players. You have to be exceptional and keep yourself on the field to set records. You look at Quentin battling through injuries, he hasn't missed this year. Very few guys would be in his shoes and not missed a few games. It comes down to being a good athlete, but also being able to keep yourself on the field."
On trying to build off of this win against Toledo:
"You'd like to think that the wins we've accomplished in the last several games have given us some momentum. You'd like to think that the Toledo win, playing a really good football team, and getting it done against those guys can help you build that momentum. Football is a funny game. Obviously that momentum can change in an instant. It can change in a minute, it can change in a quarter, and it can change game-by game. If you have really good leadership, you have guys that really give great effort."
On trying to stay focused while having the shot to clinch the MAC East against Akron:
"We won't vary things very much. You have to make sure you're not trying to build too much hype into a game because there's another game after that. Sometimes too much hype can lead to you not playing well. If your energy is going to be there, it's going to be because of how you led yourself into the game. That's all you can ask for from your players; that they have good energy and play smart football. If you have talent, good things are going to happen. We don't try to build one game up as "this is it fellas". We still have to play against Buffalo. Hopefully we still have to play a bowl game. Nothing is ever always lost or never always won, you always have the next one to go to."
On making sure Ohio's past success against Akron doesn't get to their head:
"I don't think they look that hard at who we're playing and what the history has been. It's been a great team in that way. It's a confident football team, but they're confident because they know what they want to get done and how to get it done. I have no worries about this football team and their approach to the final games we have. They will approach it with a positive attitude and a great mind."
On facing another team where the coaches have to break-down film on two quarterbacks:
"You do study the film in a manor of "what can that quarterback do to hurt you?" and "what is he really good at?". You can get too tied up in that, with the understanding that there are a lot of other individual battles that are going to go on, and you have to win as many of those as possible. We don't want to get caught flat-footed in terms of being prepared for a particular style of quarterback. We want to make sure our game plan is comprehensive enough to deal with two different styles of quarterback."
On recent special teams play
"I like our special teams personnel and their abilities. I think we have great special teams guys. From Louie, to Michael, to Jake snapping the ball, you look at all of that and they've functioned at a very high level for us. If we need the kind of punt that will keep a great returner from returning the ball, Michael can get it done. If we're facing a pressure team, our snap-to-punt time is really good. You don't have to lie awake at night worrying about that. We've done a really good job. I like our return people. Dorian (Brown) is returning kickoffs really well for us right now. Kylan (Nelson) is a great kickoff return guy for us, and punt return guy, hasn't had many returns this year. He's been nursing an injury that does allow him to play. Papi (White) missed three games as a returner this year. There have been things like that which caused a little bit of a disruption, but guys have stepped up. Overall, no matter who we play we think we can win the special teams category."
On Nathan Rourke's ability to fit into that option-style offense
"Depending on the quarterback and style of the quarterback is what we build our offense around. We really have two different kinds of options; one is the down-the-line option that he's been very effective with, and the other is where he's faking to the back and reading that. There's no option back involved, but it's the option to give or to keep. He's really good at those. He can execute the pitch on the down the line option very well. Not all quarterbacks can do that. He can get there quickly. He has a knack for knowing when to fake that and turn up field, and when he does turn up field he's an instinctive runner. We saw that he and Quinton (Maxwell) both have the ability to run that option. We worked hard on that in fall camp and spring ball, to where if it was going to be a part of our offense then we need to drill it. We worked on that hard, and I think it's paying dividends."