Aug 12, 2013
By Alex Marcheschi
OhioBobcats.com - Staff Writer
When Ohio head coach Frank Solich addressed the press during the Bobcats' media day on Saturday, he was very thorough, making sure to cover all the bases. But one thing clearly stood out; he believes that this offense has serious home run potential.
"I think we have an opportunity to be an explosive football team on the offensive side of it," Solich said.
That's music to the ears of Bobcat fans, and Ohio has all the necessary pieces to ignite a strong offensive attack. Redshirt senior wide receiver Donte Foster also recognizes the potential that the Bobcats have offensively.
"We've returned a whole lot of skill players," Foster said. "And it looks like our line is going to be really good this year ... there's a whole lot of people coming back and many opportunities to seize."
Solich sees his offense as a well-rounded bunch. Staying healthy will be crucial, as always, but there are no weak links.
"If we can avoid injuries, I think we'll be very solid on the offensive side of it with excellent quarterback play, excellent running back play, outstanding receivers, and very good tight ends," Solich said. "It seems to be a very solid unit."
It all starts with the quarterback, and that's Ohio's biggest strength. Tyler Tettleton has led the Bobcats to two-straight bowl wins on his way to re-writing the Bobcats' quarterback records, and he's not done yet. Solich views him as the total package.
"He can run, he can throw, he's a leader, and demanding of himself and of his teammates," Solich said. "He wants to be perfect in everything that he does."
Last year injuries forced Tettleton to rely heavily on Beau Blankenship in the backfield. Although it worked out pretty well, options are never a bad thing to have. This year, barring injuries, Blankenship will have some partners who should take a load off of his back and add new elements to the game.
"We think we have a good group of running backs," Solich said. Obviously Beau, for a lot of reasons had to carry the load last year. Ryan Boykin, if he remains healthy, I think is an excellent running back, and obviously can share the load. Daz Patterson has experience, so he can jump in and play for us at any time. Tim Edmond, who we moved over from defense to running back, is a big running back, so that enables us to do a few things there with him and Boykin in terms of their size and goal line packages."
Blankenship agrees. The senior running back and team captain is confident about the capabilities of his stable mates.
"It's a great unit," Blankenship said. "From top to bottom there's a bunch of talent, everybody can come in and play."
The receivers will be led by the aforementioned Foster, who is a captain this year and he's eager to set the pace for a group of receivers about which he is very confident.
"I think a lot of people got a preview of what Chase Cochran can do in the bowl game (3 catches, 162 yards, 1 TD) he's an awesome deep threat," Foster said. "Mario Dovell is returning and that's a great wide receiver to have, so we should be in great shape this year."
In 2012, Dovell was sidelined for the entire season after suffering a season-ending injury. Despite the setback, the Columbus native has returned to the practice field and has looked sharp throughout fall camp. With a healthy Dovell, the Bobcats will have even more depth at wide receiver.
Depth at tight end is a bit of a question mark on offense heading into the season. Jordan Thompson is gone, but Solich believes that he has two solid options to replace him.
One is a familiar face, Troy Hill, who has battled injuries throughout his time in Athens, but is finally healthy and ready to go. The other is a newcomer, North Carolina State transfer Anthony Talbert, and Solich has been impressed with him in the early going. After that, the tight end depth drops off according to Solich, but if they stay healthy, he thinks the two are more than capable.
"Anthony, our tight end transfer from North Carolina State has been a big plus for us," Solich said. "If you look at them (Hill and Talbert), they're very similar. They look like bookends, in terms of their size, their movement, and what they're all about."
The sky seems to be the limit for the offense this year, and that's a good thing considering how explosive the unit could potentially be. The offense is confident in its abilities and won't back down from any challenges.
"We will battle anybody that's on the field," Solich said. "We expect to win when we take the field."
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.