Aug. 2, 2013
By Alex Marcheschi
OhioBobcats.com - Staff Writer
Ohio Football training camp is nearly upon us and the Bobcats have high hopes of winning a Mid-American Conference Championship and earning an invitation to a fifth consecutive bowl appearance. Achieving that will require some hard work, and not just for the players and coaches.
The people behind the scenes are at the heart of everything. The equipment, medical, and operations staffs are essential to the team's preparation in training camp and although it means a lot of labor, these individuals are eager to get things started.
"We're always anxious for (training camp); that's why we're in the game," said Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations Jason Grooms. "We're all part of football because we love the game. We're anxious, excited, and worried. We just want to make sure everything is ready to go."
To put it simply, there's no camp without the equipment, and Director of Equipment Matt Morton is the guru of the gear. He's responsible for all the apparel, pads, gloves, helmets, and even shoe strings that will be needed at camp. You name it, he's got it.
"The number of items we've received from Russell for this season is over 4,000," Morton said. "The biggest challenge is just being organized. We try to be as organized as possible when you talk about that kind of volume and those kind of numbers."
The whole staff works as a team, just like the players. Morton makes sure the equipment is up to par so that John Bowman, the Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine, knows that his guys are protected.
Bowman is essential to the everyday operation of the team; he's the mechanic of the big rig that is Bobcat football. According to him, there are basically two things that can make or break camp: fatigue and hydration.
"Fatigue is the killer," Bowman said. "When the guys are fatigued, they're not able to maintain proper form. Hydration is number one. I say the same thing every year and I'm sure the players are tired of hearing it, but hydration is absolutely critical."
It's so critical that the Bobcats will go through about 200 gallons of water and 60 gallons of Gatorade in just one day of camp, Bowman estimated. And he's in contact with head coach Frank Solich frequently to ensure that the team is running at the safest and most efficient rate possible.
"Coach Solich and I talk every day about the state of the team and the state of each position group," Bowman said. "He's always evaluating what's going on."
All the different staffs within the Bobcat football organization cooperate with one another to make sure the team is running like a well-oiled machine. It has to be that way because the team extends beyond the guys wearing the headsets and helmets, and it helps that everyone is familiar with one another.
"We've had a lot of continuity here, which has been a great thing," Grooms said. "Our staff, even our support staff, we've all been together now for a long period of time."
Once camp starts on August 5, the Bobcats will be ready to go thanks to everyone behind the scenes. Camp offers the chance to bond and start the journey towards a common goal, and that's how success is created.
"We're here for a lot of hours and consecutive days. Once we start camp, our first day off isn't for two weeks, so you're around each other a lot," Morton said. "I know the team as a whole really comes together then. Our staff has a good time and everybody gets to know each other."
Alex Marcheschi will serve as the OhioBobcats.com staff writer during the 2013-14 season. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @BobcatFeatures.