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Solich Addresses the Media During Louisville Week

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OHIOBOBCATS.COM Frank Solich addressed the media Tuesday at his weekly press conference.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM
Frank Solich addressed the media Tuesday at his weekly press conference.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM

Aug 28, 2013

ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio University Football head coach Frank Solich met with the media on Tuesday to discuss the Bobcats season-opener at Louisville. Check out the complete transcript.

Ohio University Football Head Coach Frank Solich
Weekly Press Conference Quotes
Aug. 27 - Louisville Week

On the interior offensive line and defensive line gelling together...
"Well they're going to be interesting matchups and I think it will tell a story as to how well we're able to move the ball, how well they're able to move the ball. As I look at this football team that we're facing, there's going to be a lot of things that enter into it. The line matchups are huge. If we get dominated or one team gets dominated up front, then obviously that's a big step in terms of winning the football game. We've got to make sure that inside it's just not mismatches and that we're holding our own. That will be a little bit of a challenge for us because we're going to be playing a lot of guys with very little to some no experience, but we do like the talent level of the guys we've got. And we do like the energy that they play with. So, we'll see how that all plays out."

On the center position...
"Well, it's a position where we've gotten a little banged up. I think that we'll have a chance to have one or two centers that we're planning on playing in the game back. We'll be able to move Mike Lucas from guard to center. Lucas Powell is the player that's coming off injury. So, we'll have, I think, a physical player there, but any way you look at it, it will be an inexperienced football player. If you do move a guard into center, what that means is you may have to move a tackle into guard and that kind of eliminates some of the depth that you have there. That's a little bit of a concern, but we've been faced with that for about a week and a half to two weeks now. So, we're hoping that those adjustments can be made without too much of a problem.

On the secondary's matchup with Teddy Bridgewater...
"Well, again, that's going to be a huge challenge. This may be the most complete football team since I've been here in terms of their offensive unit and what they have returning and what they have accomplished. Their defensive unit has everybody coming back. Their special teams unit has everybody coming back. An example of that would be their field goal kicker. Last year, he did not miss inside the 40 and that's huge. They have a combination of things that I think we have not faced before since our time here at Ohio."

On whether the team has decided on who is going to start at kicker in week one...
"No, not completely. It could be a situation where we have one of our kickers kick the shorter field goals and have another kicker, kick the longer, distant field goals. We've kept percentages down from day one. We've kicked the ball a ton. So, we've got a pretty good idea where they stand statistically now and how effective they've been through fall camp. But we're going to finish out fall camp before we really release that and make any really strong determination as to who's going in when or who's starting. We'll need to see how they react under pressure. Just because a guy is going to maybe start there does not necessarily mean that he'll just continue through the year. That will have to play it out through several games. We'll keep evaluating it."

On the team's depth...
"I think we have a lot of players in our system, but a share of those guys though are inexperienced. They're just going to have to learn on the run and adjust very early but again, I think we have a talented group that we'll put on the field. We're deeper than we've ever been at some spots. We've got to make sure that we're prepared not only to win this game, but we're preparing for the rest of our non-conference games. We're also preparing for the conference schedule. I do think, that barring a number of injuries, that we'll be a football team that just gets better and better every week."

On the concern of the gameday heat...
"There's some concern. The tempo that we practice at is always good. That helps you in conditioning, but we've not had one of the hotter fall camps that I can recall. In fact, it's probably been a little too cool for me. We've done some extra running, which there's been years since we've gone through the fast-paced offense that we have not done much or any extra running. I think they'll be in pretty good shape. We're able to substitute and try to keep some fresh guys on the field. I think we're in good shape to play the game."

On the similarities between the Penn State game last year and the Louisville game this year...
"Penn State's got a long tradition of great football. They had excellent personnel. They [players] were surrounded by some situations that are not normal going into a season. They had to kind of overcome that. I think they were anxious for the season to start, both the fans and the players. There were over 100,000 people there. That's a strong way to go into a football game in terms of what you're facing. But I think our guys handled it really, really well. They're facing a little different situation this year. There will be 55,000 people probably in the stands, but it will seem like 105,000, I do believe that. We're playing a top 10 football team that's well deserved to be in the top 10. Their program is really taking great strides here in a very short period of time. So everybody's enthusiastic. We're not going to be able to sneak up on Louisville. No matter who they'd play their first game, they're wanting to prove they're deserving of their ranking and their fans will be excited. So the challenge will be every bit as great as the Penn State challenge was, probably more so in terms of the amount of players that they have coming back. They have a player of a Heisman Trophy candidate at the quarterback spot. They have a receiver who could come out early and be drafted high and the other receivers are going to catch a ton of balls. They have got strong, physical people up front, and so it just goes on and on and on. So, we're going to have to certainly play a very physical football game. We're going to have to play a very smart football game. If we do those two things, know our assignments and don't have breakdowns, we would like to think that we're going to be in this game and have a shot to win it."

On Louisville's addition of running back Michael Dyer...
"As well as they throw the ball you can't let the running game get going. You need to try to stop the running game. If they do get both going, then you are in big trouble. You know they are going to complete passes and they are going to make some plays. You just want to try to limit that as much as possible in the ground game. In saying that, I think they are going to have an excellent running football team as well as a throwing football team - so that is big. We need to certainly minimize what they are able to do on the ground in order to not let their offense have both things going for them, a ground attack as well as an air attack.

On Louisville's strides as a program and the parallels...
Yeah, I think that if you're a young player out there that is looking at different colleges there are a lot of things that you look at. But obviously, do they win. That is huge to them. Then, are they on TV? Am I going to get national exposure? Obviously we've been able to do both of those, get on TV a lot and win a fair amount. They have certainly been able to accomplish both of those there and I'm sure that has helped with their strides.

On whether being a three touchdown underdog bother him...
"I don't think anybody likes to be a three-touchdown underdog. But you really can't let that bother you, you can't try to build your gameplan around it, you can't try to get your club emotionally more ready because of being a three-touchdown underdog. But it is by people that generally set the odds and know what they are doing, but you like to think they don't know what they are doing all the time. But I can see where they are coming from in terms of the potential of their football team and the amount of returners coming back in all phases of the game and what they accomplished last year and what they accomplished in the bowl game. All of those things add up a great deal to those people setting the odds. It is what it is."

On whether being a three touchdown underdog can be bulletin board material...
"There are times when bulletin board information can be very helpful. I don't think our players pay any attention to whether we're underdogs or favorites going in so why would I bring that to their attention? We just get ready to play a football game regardless of who we are playing. We have to play well and we'll see how it turns out."

On playing against a Heisman candidate...
"It's a concern and a problem when you are facing that. You don't build a program by getting concerned about things you can't control. We can't control what the other teams are all about. We can only control what we are about. Hopefully we can control how we play. I know our program is continuing to get better. This freshman class that is on our team right now is the best class that we have recruited since we have been here. We have 16 commitments in this recruiting class and that will be a great class. And so we are continuing to make strides. And we are going to continue this program forward. So we don't get overly concerned about any particular issues that we are facing. We just have a gameplan of how we want to operate and what we want to be about. We try to execute that gameplan and when we are done we will look at it and see how well we did and what we can improve on to be a better football team. So that's kind of how our staff looks at it also, you can't get too concerned about some of those issues that are going to be there. You just have to work on your own team. Work with them to make sure they know their assignments and then that they execute those assignments with toughness and then see where it falls."

On the importance of Jon Lechner's versatility...
"He's a very smart football player and a very smart young man period. He's able to understand the game from a lot of different angles and aspects. With a guy like that who has physical ability and size, he's able to play any spot on the line for us. You can't get enough of those guys, those are the kind of guys that you're after. I think Jon will have a great year. Hopefully it starts off well in our first ballgame, I think he's making very good progress, so we'll see."

On whether he feels bad Lechner doesn't have a position he can focus on...
"No, I think that all helps him. The fact that he has been moved around some means that he is capable of being put anywhere on the line. That is only a tribute to him and I think it helps him in the long run really understanding the game and executing it from different places on the field. It will obviously show well to pro scouts and pro organizations that he is able to handle a lot of positions. Right now they are trying to get down to 53 players so anybody that can do more than one thing is big to those guys and John displaying that. I think it is great and I think he's going to develop his skills every bit as much as if he was settled in on one spot.

On the chance of freshmen making an impact...
"I think there is a good chance. We'll probably be able to share with you at the end of the week what freshmen will be, at least, suiting up for us this game. There are going to be some that will be playing right away. As time goes on and they really understand the system they will have a huge impact on us and helping us this year."

On the role that the tight ends will play...
"We feel really good about our first two tight ends. Both Troy and Anthony are excellent. They have size, toughness, they'll block, they are good route runners, they have good hands and so that is what you look for in tight ends and we have a couple guys like that. We are going to be using two freshmen tight ends this season. They have great frames and are going to keep getting bigger and stronger, but they are athletic guys that can catch the ball. They aren't afraid of contact. They just need to learn how to go into contact from the angles of our offense and then they'll just keep getting better."