Oct. 2, 2013
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio University Football head coach Frank Solich met with the media on Monday to discuss the Bobcats league-opener at Akron. Check out the complete transcript.
"You're always curious about open weeks and how that will affect you. I think it came at a pretty good time for us. I think we'll be able to get a few players back, others will probably be on the edge and won't make it back until the following week, but I think it came at a good time. We tried to utilize it well: we gave them two days off right after the last game, we gave them Saturday and Sunday off this weekend, so I think they'll be well rested. We'll go in pads today, half-pads tomorrow. Two days of no pads and then go down and play the game.
Question - You've seen Akron on film and they haven't won any games against FBS opponents, but they appear to be playing better. Can you talk on some of the improvement you've seen while trying to get ready for the Zips?
Solich - "They're a better football team than they were last year. I think they upgraded themselves. The guys they have returning from last year's team are very good football players, but they also added junior college players and transfers, which have stepped in and given them immediate help at certain positions, so they're a better football team. They're well-coached, they got good personnel, they play hard, so obviously it'll be a typical MAC football game that will be very hard fought."
Q - Coach, after Louisville in week one, it's been home-cooking here at Peden for the last three weeks. How are you guys mentally preparing the team?
Solich - "Generally, we've been ok as far as being a good road team. We've been able to travel over the years and play pretty good football; obviously, there are exceptions to that. In general, we've been pretty good at it. I think you need to be really good at it if you want to be a team that will challenge for the MAC. I think we realize that. We understand that we'll have critical games on the road. This is the first one in MAC play, which is critical for us, but look at the rest of our road schedule and obviously they are all against quality opponents as we go through the middle part of our season. We need to be in position to play well, and I think that preparation doesn't really differ too much from home to away. There are so many things that can come up when you travel that you gotta make sure that your mindset is just getting ready to play the game and that you let any distractions that do come into play run off your back. I think that we're pretty well prepared to be that football team and that we're smart enough to know the importance of this game."
Q- What is it like game-planning against a coach like Terry Bowden?
Solich - "Well, all the coaches in the conference are high-quality coaches that know what they're doing. They got a lot of enthusiasm. Some guys have more experience than others; Terry's one of those guys that has a tremendous amount of experience so obviously he draws on that and has put together an excellent coaching staff and so it'll be a challenge to play him, his staff, and his football team. We know that, but every week will be a challenge in the MAC. We just need to be prepared week after week. There's nothing you do differently because it's Terry. Obviously, you can't get your game plan built around the coaching staff. It's built around the players on the football field. Obviously Terry and his staff are very very good at what they do, so they will be a sound football team that won't beat themselves, so we'll have to do our best to beat them."
Q- Is Keith Moore one of those players that healed up during the bye week?
Solich - "We think so. Coming off of last week's practice, he was moving around very well so I would expect with continued improvement this week and he doesn't have any major setback that he should be ready to go."
Q - Seeing the way Akron has played these past few weeks, do think it's just a matter of time before they break their string?
Solich - "They've played very good opponents and it's shown. They've been in every single ball game including this last ball game against a very good Bowling Green team. They scored early and quick, had six sacks in the first half, they're something like 16th in the country in terms of sacks, 17th in terms of tackles for loss. They're very high in the country in terms of interceptions, so they're producing turnovers. It looks to me that they got a lot of pieces to the puzzle in place to be an excellent football team, and they're looking to battle. It'll be a great football game, and it'll be a huge challenge for us - we know that. We'll get ready to play and see how it turns out."
Q - If you could pick a week for the bye week to come every year, is that break between conference and non-conference play a pretty good spot?
Solich - It's pretty good. If you look around the country, this past week a lot of teams had byes. Anywhere around the middle of your season to the latter part of the first quarter to two-thirds of the way through can be good also. What you want to stay away from, generally, is to have them early in the season or at the end. The end is probably too late and the beginning is probably a little too early. So, where we've got it fit really well. Now, if we don't come off and play well, that's a whole different story."