Dec. 9, 2013
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio University football head coach Frank Solich, quarterback Tyler Tettleton and running back Beau Blankenship addressed the media on Monday after the team was selected to the 2013 Beef `O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg. Listed below is the complete transcript of Monday's press conference.
Frank Solich, Head Coach
"First of all, we're obviously very pleased and excited about being offered an invitation to the Beef `O' Brady's Bowl and I know our players are looking forward to it. It's something that wasn't automatic, we had to wait and see how it all played out. I think the fact that as a program, we have accomplished quite a bit. This will be the fifth bowl game in-a-row, we have won the last two and that does say something to the bowl organization when it comes time to selecting a team."
On what this bowl game will mean to the senior class
"This gives our seniors another chance to continue to set records, as they do almost every time they set foot on the field now. Obviously, the opponent in East Carolina will be a huge undertaking for us.
On East Carolina's 2013 season
"They're an outstanding program, finishing the year 9-3. They're big and they're strong. I've had a chance to view some of their offensive and defensive game plans and work that they have accomplished this year. They're defensive front operates out of both of a three and a four man front, two of their guys have excellent size and excellent strength - a great school across the board defensively. Offensively they have both an excellent running attack. There are a lot of challenges for us, which is good and we're excited about it."
Discussing the waiting period
"Well, there is a lot of waiting involved, obviously some ups and downs. The thing about the game, and for myself, is games are demanding on you when you're playing in and coaching in a game. When you get to watch a game, you think you can sit back and not care who wins, but that wasn't necessarily the case this weekend. There were a lot of ups and downs with that as the games unfolded. The fact that Northern Illinois did not win obviously was not a thing that kept us entirely from being in the bowl picture, which was great. Going in, we weren't sure how that was going to work. I know there are numerous people involved in decisions, from ESPN to the bowl people, to our conference people and so you just never know how that's going to unfold."
Solich discussing playing in bowl
"I don't know if pressure is going to enter into it. Playing well is part of what I do, its part of my make up, its part of our team's make up. We will obviously prepare to play a great football game, we would like to end the season by playing our best football, and it may take that to get this win."
Beating out Toledo
"That's always difficult. We would have not felt great about it, if it was us left out. I understand where they would be coming from. They've got an excellent resume, going 7-5. Beating Bowling Green at Bowling Green, and beating Buffalo, those are all huge pluses for them. They lost their last ball game to a team that we had beaten fairly handily earlier in the year. I think you can go back and fourth with scenarios and make a case either way and they had a strong case."
On East Carolina's success
"I have not yet studied them a lot, but I will get into it here soon. I did get a chance to look at some film on them. They have got a great combination of things. You don't have great passing stats without having a great quarterback that's poised. He's a great thrower, is knowledgeable about the game and reads things well. Plus, you usually don't get to their numbers by being unable to protect their thrower. They'll also spread people out which enables them to get the ball to their receivers, guys that are playmakers. Also when you spread people out, you can generally piece together a pretty good running game. Just looking at them, they have talent. They're big and physical on both sides of the ball."
On having success against Conference USA teams earlier in the season
"It's always encouraging to play teams within a conference and to have some success, but those were very hard fought football games. Looking at it from a coach's standpoint, East Carolina's got great tradition. Their program has taken steps in the past, and they've gotten to a level that allows them to always challenge for their conference championship. With that, they're a group that's been able to recruit well. They coach very well. There have a lot of challenges there. We know what we're facing, we know how good they are, and we'll just have to respond."
On the practice schedule leading up to the Beef O'Brady's Bowl
"We'll continue to condition some by running this week. We'll also lift some this week. They'll have different times during the day where they can come in for that. Friday, we'll get out there, get some throwing in, start running plays, do defensive coverages and do some 7-on-7. Then Saturday we will be full pads. Then there will be five practices in the middle of the week, and we'll have a day off. We travel on the 20th. We could have a practice the day after we arrive. Then the game is starting to get upon you. We'll have enough practices that we get in, to hopefully play well."
Tyler Tettleton, Senior, Quarterback
On Ohio going to a bowl game for a fifth straight season
"It's awesome. It means a lot, especially for this senior class to be here all five years and have a chance to go to a bowl game every single year. It's awesome and hopefully we can win three straight for this University."
On if he follows media bowl projections late in the season
"At the end of the year I generally check. Especially with what was going on, we didn't have any idea. We wanted to know. It was one of those deals where we got a text around 1 or 2 saying we were going to St. Petersburg. We were so thrilled and relieved to know we were going to make it."
On East Carolina
"Historically they're a great program. Obviously, anybody that makes it into the postseason is going to be good. We're just excited for the opportunity to play a team like them. I don't think anyone's got a chance to watch them on film, but having nine wins and being a team that throws it around and plays in Conference USA, it's going to be a tough challenge. But we're looking forward to it."
On watching the MAC Championship game in regards to Ohio's bowl fate
"Honestly I had to leave. We were watching the game and I was getting too stressed out about it because obviously I was pulling for Northern [Illinois]. It was tough because the belief around the locker room was that if Northern didn't win our chances probably wouldn't be too good. It was unfortunate for that to happen. But congrats to Bowling Green on winning the MAC. I'm glad everything worked out the way it did."
On if the team needs to play well to show Ohio is deserving of a bowl bid
"I don't think so. I think we're here for a reason. If we weren't picked here obviously we wouldn't deserve it. I think we're definitely deserving. Toledo had a great year, too. It's tough. We're both 7-5 and you could probably go either way. But I think what we've done here over the past 4-5 years really helped with that. Like I said earlier it's great to have this opportunity and we can't worry about that. We're just excited to go in to a game like this and play a great team and have a chance to win three (bowls) in a row."
On if the Ohio offense can match East Carolina's passing attack
"I hope so. That's the plan. We're hoping to go into this thing and put in a good game plan. Like I said earlier, I haven't seen much on them. But hopefully we'll have a chance to score a lot of points and see what happens. We've done a good job the past couple years of putting a good game plan together and executing and having a good showing. We'll see."
Beau Blankenship, Senior, Running Back
On waiting to find out Ohio's bowl fate
"It was awesome finding out, but the waiting period was pretty tight. We were pretty anxious just waiting around and trying to get a hold of people and trying to figure out what was going to happen. When we got the text we were all relieved and ecstatic we got another chance to play."
On East Carolina
"They're a great team. We've seen them before and watched them. They have some great wins this year. We're excited to play a team like that. They're really good."
On the opportunity to end the season with a win
"It's going to be good to get another shot. We've had some up and downs this season. But it feels like kind of a fresh start and a way to end it the way we want to. That's the way we need to approach it, to start fresh and finish the season off right."
On playing in a warm weather bowl
"It's awesome to go down to some nice weather and get out of the snow and cold. We're looking forward to it."
On carrying momentum from the UMass game into the bowl game
"The way we ended the regular season was a little boost in confidence. We got some stuff going and hopefully that can just carry over and we can keep that rolling."