Oct. 7, 2013
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio University Football head coach Frank Solich met with the media on Monday to discuss the Bobcats' Homecoming matchup against Central Michigan. Check out the complete transcript.
"I think it was a very good win for our program. Akron was a team that showed itself to be very competitive against a lot of very good football teams. Consequently, the win and the manner in which it was won was a very pleasing thing for us. It shows a step forward for us in terms of what this team could be. I think we'll continue to grow and be a team that gets better throughout the year barring unforeseen injuries at a position or so. Other than that, I like the progress, I like where we're at and I like the attitude. The off week was good for us. I think the rest helped us a great deal. We got some guys that healed up and I think that benefitted us."
Question - With a win this week, the program would get to .500 in its entirety. Does that mean anything to you as a coach for being responsible for digging the program out of a hole?
Solich - "It does mean something to us. Obviously, there's a lot that has gone into where the program is at and it's come through some tough times and it's come through some good times. To be able to bring it back to some good times and to get things done at a level to get it to .500 is very meaningful to everyone associated with the program and that's very far-reaching from those in the past to those in the present."
Q - What does it speak to Central Michigan's offense line that they have the fifth-best leading rusher in the league even after losing Eric Fisher to the NFL Draft and their top running back to injury?
Solich - "In looking at their offense line, they are very good. They're big guys. They're not guys who are somewhat undersized out there playing their hearts out. They're talented football players that have really good size. They've overcome some injuries, some of which were season-ending. We know what that's about from last year and how that can affect you. I think they're finding ways to keep themselves together and have a very good football team to move forward."
Q - What kind of test does that mean for your defensive line, especially after coming off a game like they had?
Solich - "We've been able to control the run to some degree, especially in this last game. We really did well in limiting big, explosive plays. There were only two of those that Akron had against our defense, and that says a bunch of things. Number one, that means the guys are playing pretty well together . We're not having breakdowns where someone runs free for an easy play. We have guys in the secondary that are really defending the pass well when the ball is up for grabs. We're getting pressure on the quarterback. This last game we did a better job getting sacks and that helps a great deal."
Q - The safety play has been very strong. How much does that benefit a defense when your safeties can come up and make plays?
Solich - "There are a few things a safety has to do to be successful: they have to be able to come up and plug the holes in the run game and also defend the pass. Our guys are doing a very good job of that. We're able to move guys around to the different safety spots to help us. The other part of that comes with really good corner play. Travis (Carrie) has been really good throughout the course of the year. Devin Bass has shown to be a really good corner, so it's not a deal where you can just throw away from Travis and think you've got something going. I think Devin is first in the conference and third in the country in pass breakups, so that is huge. So, we've got a combination of good corner play and good safety play. As long as we're not breaking down assignments and we have people where they're supposed to be, I think we have the athleticism to be a very good secondary.
Q - What is it about Darrell Wood as a true freshman that made you believe that he could step in as a starter?
Solich - "He's got a great personality. He's a very likeable young man that is a smart and can pick up stuff very quick. That became evident in fall camp and early this season. I think Coach (Keven) Lightner does a great job of preparing young players to play, where in a lot of cases it's the most difficult thing to do to prepare young linemen. It's like a young quarterback stepping in; it doesn't happen all the time. Keven's done a great job. You have to have the makeup that Darrel has; he's a young man that believes in what he's doing, he never questions himself, he's shown from the start that he's physically able to do it. Sometimes you get a lineman in that takes time to develop in your program, but he has the strength and overall power that you look for in an offensive lineman regardless of what year that player might be. He's helped us tremendously early this year in an area where we've needed a lot of help.
Q - I assume he (Durrell Wood) graded well on film this week?
Solich - "He did a good job. There was an occasional moment or two where he was maybe off a step here or there but not much. Overall he played really well."
Q - Stopping the running game has always been priority number one for your defense, but have you been a little surprised about how you guys have adjusted that way?
Solich - "I believed coming in that we were going to have linebackers that could really run and that's really an important part of it. They seem to have the kind of makeup to be able to pick up what has been a fairly complicated defensive system. With that speed and the fact that they are in the right spots and their playing well both in the run and pass defense it's a great place to start. We've already talked about the secondary and how pleased we are with how they're playing, but those up front guys have really been something. You have guys like Ty Branz, who is right up there and in this past game had three sacks and two pass hurries and six total tackles. We're getting outstanding individual performances by a few of those guys that have gotten a lot of experience, but we're also getting a lot of really excellent playing time from guys that haven't been part of the system very long. A lot of them are in their first year and we've had more depth there than we've ever had. Coach (Jesse) Williams is really substituting well with all of those guys that are playing on the depth charts as far as the nose tackle, three techniques and both rush ends. They are getting 20 something snaps a game and sometimes there have been years in the past where our defensive front guys had to get 50 snaps 60 snaps a game and that doesn't have to be the case this year, so were able to keep fresh people out there that are talented players."
Q - Antwan Crutcher had one of the best games he's ever had on Saturday. I thought he was excellent at controlling that inside, what were your thoughts?
Solich - "He's really a force inside because he's got the size and the natural strength as well as weight room strength now to be a dominant player in there. But, what he's got along with the size and the athletic ability is that he's really an instinctive player and fluid for his size. He is a guy that is able to diagnose plays and find the ball and work techniques one-on-one against people. He's turning into a really good player."
Q - What are your thoughts about Central Michigan? Are they tough to put one-on-one because of the injury situation?
Solich - "I think that's an accurate way of putting it. We know that the program is a very good program. We know that every time we've lined up and played Central Michigan, it's been an extremely physical football game with talented athletes on the other side. We expect that that will be that case this week. It's clear that they have had some injuries that would hurt any team, but they have a good number of players that is going to allow them to put a really good football team on the field."
Q - What are your thought on Central Michigan wide receiver Titus Davis?
Solich - "He really fits in with them. He's really good and he's the kind of guy that you have got to know where he's at on the field every second. You can't let him just take over the football game because he's capable of doing that."
Q - It seems like Travis (Carrie) has reached point where he rarely gets thrown at nowadays. What does that do for the defense when Travis can effectively shut down an offensive play?
Solich - "He's (Travis Carrie) really a talented athlete and not only is he playing great in terms of shutting people down, he's doing a great job as a returner. He is maybe second in the MAC in punt returns and we're now using him to cover punts and he's forcing a lot of fair catches, eliminating a lot of returns and sometimes causing the ball to be on the ground because he's right there. He's really contributing in a lot of ways, but they have to go his way and obviously there's a lot of really good receivers in our conference so he's going to have to be on top of it. He will get a lot of great matchups and a lot of great challenges. He's had an outstanding season so far."