ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio University football head coach Frank Solich held his weekly press conference on Monday afternoon to preview the Bobcats' matchup against Marshall.
On how two fast paced offenses could cancel each other out
"I think it will balance one another out - in terms of one team gaining an advantage. We're used to running a fast paced offense as this is our second season with it. We've faced ourselves in practice and there's no better conditioning then doing that, so I suspect that both teams will both be in excellent condition and that there will be a lot of snaps in the ballgame."
On the fast pace of the game
"Both teams will go at a very high pace and it shouldn't be an advantage to one team or another. I think we're both accustomed to doing it now, and you see it a lot in college football in this day and age, so you're going to be faced with it throughout the season so you prepare for it early on and you condition yourself. We learned a valuable lesson against Troy (2010 New Orleans Bowl) and in learning that lesson I think it has helped us on both sides of the ball."
On Marshall's quarterback, Rakeem Cato
"He's a very poised, very accurate quarterback. I think his completion percentage is somewhere around 73 percent, so that means that he's getting the ball to his receivers and they're catching it. They've got some outstanding receivers, their skilled positions overall are really very good in terms of the passing game and the thrower and the guys catching it, and what they can do with the catch and getting yards after the catch. It'll be a huge challenge for us, I thought New Mexico State had a very good throwing game, and at times I think that showed, but we were able to hold them down in terms of making big plays and that'll be a key to controlling their offense as best we can to not let them have a lot of explosive type plays where you're getting the 25-, 30-, 40-yard plays. You've got to keep things underneath you, you've got to make sure that they earn everything they get, and then when you're doing that it comes down to execution and how everybody's executing on both sides of the ball for both teams."
On Nate Carpenter
"He's a great factor guy for you. As a nickel, he's not on the field 100 percent of the time, but when he is he's making plays and he's factoring in. He's got excellent hands; he's really an all-around type of athlete. If you practice him, he could punt for you, he did kickoffs and field goals for his high school team, so he's one of those kinds of athletes that can be used in so many ways. He really has a `nose for the ball', he's got that in terms of being able to diagnose things and really break well on the ball and when he does - he was a running back also in high school - he has that ability to make the big play after the catch just like a receiver would make it. He's a very short tackler, so I think that he's a great asset to us defensively.
On the Marshall crowd
"I don't know, we just go play ball games. They get a great following, and we played them in a bowl game and they had a great following there, so I'm sure they'll have a great crowd. They're really loyal to their football team and they're behind it 100 percent, so you're going to be facing that. You do face it a fair amount on road games, sometimes more than others, and this will be one of those times where we'll face a very high level of crowd participation. And in saying that, we felt great about what our crowd supplied us in this last ball game. Obviously the O-Zone was at its best, and when they're at their best they're tough to beat."
On the Marshall series
"There's always new challenges that pop up for you, but our team has been able to accept those challenges so far, and I presume that we'll be prepared, show up and play well. They've been great football games, they've all been very physical football games, so we anticipate that will be the case again."
On Ohio's fans traveling to Huntington, W. Va.
"It'd be great, and again we're picking up fans every year, and winning has something to do with that, a lot to do with it, at every school around the country. We're getting great support and it would be great to see a lot of (Hunter) Green."
On Ohio's defense
"It'll be tough, but we hope that we're able to get some hurries in at least. There are a lot of awfully quick throws in their offensive scheme, so you're going to have to cover well and hope that every now and then you get pressure so they don't get on a drive and just get first down after first down after first down and get themselves in scoring territory. So it'll be a huge challenge for us on the defensive side of it."
On Ohio's defense against NMSU
"We had a couple scheme sacks, but there was a lot of individual efforts without blitzing that caused hurries and sacks. So we need to continue that theme throughout the course of the year. It'll be extremely important in this ball game because of their ability to throw the ball so well."
On Ohio's offense
"What we'll be able to do remains to be seen, but I have been really pleased with our lines both on the offensive and defensive sides of it these first two ball games. We've played good football teams, Penn State was a good football team. They lost against Virginia, they suffered a one-point loss, they should have won the game, actually. And I don't say that very often, but they should've won it. Virginia was expecting an excellent year, and came off of a pretty good year. I think Penn State is a very good, physical football team. I thought, going in, New Mexico State was a very good football team, I thought they ran the ball a little better on us early in the game than what I had anticipated. Our guys adjusted really well and shut that down more in the second half. So we played two very good football teams, and that's good preparation for a game like this because we're playing a third-straight very, very good football team."
On Ohio's special teams
"We covered 11 kickoffs. That's a lot of kickoffs to cover, but I'm not making any excuses for them. We had some missed tackles, but that's all attitude and energy, and if you are lacking in the energy and the attitude, then something like that can happen to you. I think it was a valuable lesson for us to learn. I don't like learning lessons that way, but it was a valuable lesson for us. Hopefully we've got that corrected. Our kickoff coverage has been excellent, so I presume that we'll get back to being the kind of kickoff coverage team that we've been. Our other special teams units need to improve, and that's across the board. We had 10 penalties in the game; five of them were from special teams. That's got to get corrected."
On Ohio's blocked field goal against NMSU
"Our snap to kick was a good time, you're normally going to get your kickoff in that amount of time. We had no chance of blocking him, so when you don't have the chance to block a guy, then you're vulnerable to a block."