By: Pete Nakos
ATHENS, Ohio – Ohio Football head coach Frank Solich held his first weekly press conference on Monday afternoon. Coach Solich will lead the Bobcats into their season opener against visiting Hampton on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET. And can be seen on ESPN3. Here are three observations from Solich's session with reporters.
Maxwell will start; Rourke will get snaps
Quinton Maxwell will be the starting quarterback Saturday for Ohio, but backup quarterback Nathan Rourke will get snaps. There isn't a plan on how many snaps Rourke will be given.
"There is no set number of snaps for the position," Solich said. "Quinton will be the starter. We want to get Nathan some snaps though. We will just play it from there."
Maxwell, a redshirt sophomore, saw time as a starter last year, exchanging snaps with then starter Greg Windham. Maxwell started in the 2016 Marathon Mid-American Conference Championship game, but was pulled late in the first quarter.
Rourke joined the Bobcats in the spring as a transfer, being thrown into the quarterback race while learning a new playbook.
"Quinton had a very good fall camp," Solich said. "Nathan also had a good fall camp. I think both of them are capable of playing football for us and winning football games for us. That position seems to be in pretty good shape."
Gap at wide receiver
Solich officially ruled wide receiver Elijah Ball out for the season due to an injury. Ball was hurt in a drill during fall camp, just executing a simple block against a cornerback.
"I think we have more really good young receivers than we've had in the program for a long time," Solich said. "We had a disappointment in Elijah Ball. He had an injury in camp that is going to take him out of the season so that was difficult.
"(Brendan) Cope should be an excellent receiver for us this year. He has missed playing time throughout his career and I don't believe his true talent shows. He is probably the fastest player on the team and then Papi. We can put those two guys on the field that can really run and be able to challenge deep when we want to. That is always a good start to have speed there. Meyer has come on strong and I think he will be a player that will show strongly for us."
With the hole at wide receiver, Solich mentioned the importance of the tight ends in the Bobcats offense. Redshirt senior Troy Mangen, the presumable starting tight end, will take care much of the workload.
Ohio is ready to play football
The first thing that Solich said in his weekly press conference was how ready the Bobcats were to be done with fall camp. He said that he's happy the Bobcats won't be forced to play a conference game the first week of the season.
With the return to play, Solich will be able to see running back A.J. Ouellette get back on the field and for the Bobcats to avenge losses in the MAC Championship game and Dollar General Bowl.
"There are three units to the game," Solich said. "If you get all three units playing well you're probably going to be a championship team. If you get two of the three playing well, you're really going to be good. If you get one of the three playing well, it won't be so good. If none of the three are playing well, you're in trouble. Where are we going to be? I guess we'll find out."