ATHENS, Ohio– Fourteenth-year Ohio football head coach Frank Solich met with the media today to discuss the Bobcats' (2-2) Mid-American Conference game against Kent State (1-4, 0-1 MAC) on Saturday (Oct. 6) at Dix Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
Saturday's contest between the Bobcats and the Golden Flashes will be broadcast live on ESPN+. Michael Reghi and JeRod Cherry will be on the call. The game can also be heard on the Ohio IMG Sports Network. Russ Eisenstein returns for his 11th season as the "Voice of the Bobcats." Ohio alum Rob Cornelius, who has been a part of the broadcasts for close to two decades, is back in the booth. The 12-station network has an over-the-air coverage area that hits three states. In addition, the broadcasts are available online through OhioBobcats.com and TuneIn.com/OhioBobcats.com. They are also free on the TuneIn app.
Head Coach Frank Solich
Weekly Press Conference Quotes
Oct. 1 - Week 6 vs. Kent State
"It was a ball game that had an awful lot of offense in it. I was proud of our players getting down 14-0, 21-7, and still having the ability to come back and make it work. We did a lot of good things, still some areas we need to improve on. I thought both quarterbacks played well. Nathan (Rourke, QB) completed 72% of his passes and their quarterback completed 71%. It wasn't until the second half that we really started to get pressure on him. I think that that really made a difference. We're a team that's getting better week by week. If we keep progressing like that we can have ourselves a good football team. Obviously we can't stay where we're at, we need to keep improving."
On Nathan Rourke's performance:
"He's played a lot of really good football for us, but it has to be certainly one of the best, if not the best. I think he showed his ability in all areas. He was composed, threw the ball extremely well, threw it deep well, intermediate well, short well. Obviously, he showed his running skill which is really an excellent skill for him in terms of what he can accomplish when he has the ball under his arm and running. I think he was a very complete quarterback in that ball game."
On defensive threats from the quarterback this weekend from Kent State:
"He's allowed them to open up their offense. They are a very fast paced football team, you can see on film their opponents struggle getting lined up sometimes because they're so fast. We'll need to get ready for that aspect of the game. He can both run and pass, which seems to be the case with almost every quarterback we're facing. They have a football team that's a physical team. They play hard. Their new staff has given them some energy and direction. I see them as a team that keeps getting better week by week."
On figuring out Kent State's new coach's strategy:
"You go through the coaches background and what he's been all about at his previous schools, who he has been an assistant under, and if that's the direction he's taken as a head coach in terms of the style of defense or offense. You have to get the coordinators recognized and investigatedwith their background and put that together and hope you can put together a good game plan off of that that holds on to a degree when you're playing."
On past experiences impacting preparing for this week:
"It helps. The speed of play is completely different from what it has generally been. That's a big thing that jumps right out at you. They opened up the game to where they're not only trying to run the ball, but throw it also. They throw it well. They've really got a complete package. There have been times in the past when I thought the coaches have taken their personnel and built around that personnel. But getting the transfer to come in allowed them to not build just around the personnel, and allowed them to utilize the package to what they know best and what they're all about."
On adjustments when conference games begin:
"You do a little bit of that. You obviously, well hopefully, did some good things in your nonconference play. You don't just abandon those, you keep that and build on it. You see what didn't go well and why it didn't go well. One of two things - you either feel like it's worth the time and effort to work on that and fix it or you ditch it. So I think the nonconference schedule has been very valuable to us in terms of that identifying what we want to continue to be all about from the first four ball games. The identity shows now for us, people know what we're all about in terms of our identity. Usually that's the case with most teams after you play four games and come out of your nonconference play. I personally will look at the statistics and rip them all up, well through the shredder, and we will not look at that anymore. We will start looking at our statistics in MAC play and MAC play only. We can see what we're ranked, how we're doing, what we need to improve on, and what is helping us win."
On getting points back:
"When you're down 14 points it just takes one slip up to all the sudden have you down by 21. Whether it's a special teams play or a turnover at the wrong time. You start to get 21 down and the momentum is there for the other team and things get different in terms of calling the game, in terms of trying to get yourself back in the game. Do you go for a fourth and short on the other side of the 50 or do you not? Do you try to pin them down or not? All of those things start to come into play when you're down by that much. It was huge for us to get a score to make it 14-7. Then when its 21-7, you're in the same scenario there. You can't afford another mishap. Thankfully we're a pretty explosive football team in terms of running the ball. We had 25 plays of ten yards to 19 yards, those are big plays for us. 29 is the most we've ever had in that one category. That's combining the big runs and passes."
On the defensive changes in the second half:
"We started pressing them more. I think our guys played with energy throughout the game. I think their defense got beat down a little bit and when that happens the runs started coming with longer runs. The throws, the receivers, and attacking the quarterback becomes a little easier when one team is beat down a little bit. All of that combines to getting a chance to be back in the game and extend your lead. They didn't have a sack on us, which was huge. The turnovers were 1-1 and that was huge. We didn't win the turnover battle, which we wanted to, but we didn't lose it. That was huge in terms of getting back in the game and getting a little separation also."
On the first quarter:
"That's a little tiring for that to happen. If you're always getting big leads, that's great, but you've got to play four quarters and that's what we've been really emphasizing. Obviously that's not new to coaches. Everybody talks to their team about playing four quarters, getting started fast and those kinds of things. Sometimes you have a football team where it's just not that way. Usually, you can turn the corner there a little bit and make sure you're battling in the first, second, third and fourth quarter. That should keep you in ball games all the way through. If that happens, you're giving yourself your best chance to win."
On preparing for a rigorous upcoming schedule:
"We've been doing that all the way through. Today's only going to be a 14-period practice. 14 five-minute periods; that's it. Tomorrow we'll still stay in pads. We've been in half pads and maybe no pads on Wednesday. We've cut down a lot of group work and individual work. We're doing more teamwork to make sure that our practices aren't long. We're trying to meet a little bit longer, where the guys are sitting and resting; our walk-through on Thursday I think has helped us. We have that Friday where we're not out there very long at all. Generally speaking, they're getting at least two days of rest. It seems to be the right way to have our team energized come game day – so far so, good on that. It is a challenge when you have more than one game within a week. Obviously, in the MAC you're travelling in the middle of the week and you get home sometimes at four o'clock in the morning if it's a night game with an eight o'clock start or something. There are a lot of challenges you face; we've prepped our team about all of those challenge. You don't want anything to just jump out and shock your team. They know what we're doing and why we're doing it; I think it's the best approach, but it still will be a big challenge.
On the helmets, celebrating the 1968 team and Turn it Gold this past weekend:
"Usually if something's new, the players like it. That was new and different for us, so it was no problem. Turn It Gold and that campaign was certainly something that was on our mind also because we think it's a great cause. The players wanted to be a part of that. A lot of things can go on before a ball game, but you want to make sure with all of the things going on that they don't forget about the game. Sometimes that can be a problem, but we've got a pretty mature team with excellent leaders. I think that will help us as we go through our schedule and games with four days or five days, or whatever they are, and things that pop up on us."
On Nathan Rourke's performance
"We thought that he had a really good week at practice. Generally speaking, he practices well. He practices hard; everything is intense with him. He's giving his best effort all the time. He had a really good practice leading up to the game and I think he's just getting in rhythm. He's becoming the quarterback that he is and was and every year that can take a little longer than what you might think; nothing's automatic. You don't always play as well or as bad as you did last year. It's good to see him in stride again."
On Quinton Maxwell:
"We'll see how it all goes, but we never count on a game not taking four quarters for us to be in it at the end or to win it. So we do what we have to do; I feel like Quinton is an excellent quarterback and would show really well if he was able to get his chances. We're hoping he'll get some chances where we can just get him in here or there, but some games get so close and the momentum shift can be so huge that if you've got something going that's going well, you've got to keep it going. We'll see how it all plays out."
On changes in practice:
"Not so much doing things differently, but being on top of things and operating at the level that we're capable of operating at. We talk about new coaching staffs and new head coaches and we have a new line coach; he's a bright guy, he's really good and I think our players are really getting in-tune to what he's all about in terms of his coaching techniques and so forth. That's why we've been getting better and better each week; our offensive line has been getting better each week. And Tremayne [Scott] is working with our inside defensive lineman; that all takes some adjustment. I think both of those guys are excellent. They make great additions to our program and I think it's starting to play out right now."
On Mark Whipple's suspension:
"I address a lot of things with team, obviously. Sometimes as coaches not only in the heat of the battle, but immediately after the battle, and even other times something comes out that you really didn't mean to come out or mean the way it sounds. So, I know Mark. I think he's a good person and a good coach. His AD certainly took charge of the situation and I know their AD called our AD and sent an apology. I think they've done all they can do given the situation and we're all moving forward."
On Kent State's defense:
"I think they're still trying to put their personnel together. You see players being used at different positions and you look at some guys who play safety, but now play not at the secondary, but up front. They're making that transition and they're finding out who best fits that scheme. That's all coming together for them. I'm sure that the non-conference schedule for the most part, even though they did play Ball State, most of the games were non-conference games. You just try to get it all together in that frame of time so you're ready to go when conference opens up. I think he's done a good job of that; he's got a lot of energy, his staff has a lot of energy and it shows through his players. I think they have maybe five interceptions on the year. You don't get five interceptions without getting some things done up front defensively and having good people in the secondary linebacker position. They're doing what they have to reach their potential."