ATHENS, Ohio -- Fifteenth-year Ohio football head coach Frank Solich met with the media today as the Bobcats (4-6, 3-3 MAC) begin a two-game road trip to close the 2019 regular season on Tuesday (Nov. 19) when they visit Doyt Perry Stadium to battle Mid-American Conference East Division rival Bowling Green (3-7, 2-4 MAC) in a nationally televised matchup on ESPNU. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Jay Alter and Rocky Boiman will have the call of the action on ESPN2. The game can also be heard on the Ohio Sports Network from Learfield IMG College. Russ Eisenstein returns for his 12th season as the "Voice of the Bobcats." Ohio Alum Rob Cornelius has been a part of the broadcasts for two decades. WXTQ (Power 105) in Athens returns as the 11-station network's flagship. The broadcasts are also available online through TuneIn.com/OhioBobcats and on the TuneIn app.
On if being eliminated from winning the division creates less pressure on the team:
"You know, I think in all honesty it could work both ways. It can help your team, or it could hurt your team. Our approach is such that I don't think either one of those is going to occur. I don't think we're going into this anymore relaxed than what we would be any other game. When I say relaxed, I mean it in a way that they're not uptight, that they're not ready to go and they're afraid to do something where they might goof up. In all honesty, I don't see it affecting us. We're on a mission to win these last two games to get to .500, and we're always pointing at what we can get done. What we can get done is win the next one."
On discussions about the possibility of playing in a bowl game:
"That's all we can do at this point is work at winning those two [games]. There's absolutely been no discussion. I haven't discussed it with them. They haven't, to my knowledge, been discussing it with any coaches. Maybe amongst themselves I really don't know, but certainly, in visiting with our guys, that hasn't come up.
On what went into the trick play featuring junior offensive lineman Hagen Meservy's cartwheel against Western Michigan:
"It was trying to interject a little bit of fun into the game when it could be. Obviously, the idea with the formation was to use a little trickery and try to get a little confusion and that just led to the cartwheel, which maybe would add to the confusion. He could not go downfield, so he either had to stand there or do something backwards, so that's where he came to."
On the trick play going viral:
"I've heard from a few people about it. All have seemed to think it was funny. We haven't gotten a lot of criticism from it. It was a pretty good cartwheel in pads from a big guy, so we couldn't ask for much more."
On the morale of the team:
"The morale is where we want it to be. I think kids in this generation bounce back quick, and there's nothing wrong with that. I think it's us coaches that seem to hang on to things maybe a little too long. Our guys are ready to go. They know exactly why we are where we're at. They know they can't do anything about it at this point. The only thing they can do something about is what lies ahead, and that's what we intend to do."
On concerns about facing Bowling Green:
"They did change quarterbacks, which I think has opened up their offense a little bit. Obviously, it seems like every coach looks for a guy that has mobility, and their guy does. He can throw the ball, he can get out of trouble, he can pick up first downs and run the ball. So that's all there for them, and that's where a good offense starts. They've shown flashes of really being good on the offensive end of it and then some flashes on defense of really being good. Defensively, they're a multiple defensive football team. They'll probably give us more looks, more blitzes, more things you have to work on than maybe anybody we've faced this year. They rely on a multiple defensive look. The thing that you worry about a little bit is that we've been a team that's been able to drive the ball 15-17 plays, go 80 yards down the field on drives and put points on the board. It's kind of difficult to do that against a team that is so multiple on their looks and blitzes and stunts because they're just going to catch you sometimes. When they do, then you're behind the chains, and you may not be able to continue the 1st-and-10s down the field. You hope for some explosive plays to occur. I don't think we've been great with explosive plays throughout the year, and it's something we hope to get better at these last two games."
On the slow start on offense against Western Michigan:
"The slow start in this last game, we didn't have the ball very much the first half. If you look at the number of drives we had, they were very limited. We hurt ourselves with a bad snap that put us behind the chains in the first drive, so that's not getting off to a good start. Eliminating those type of things will certainly be helpful in terms of getting off on a good start. You can't have that. Other than that, we had a couple three-and-outs along the way. We had one long drive but not having the ball in our hands very much in the first half really hurt. I think I mentioned that they had two drives that took up a whole quarter of football, 15 minutes of football. That's on two drives, so you can imagine what that does in terms of eliminating you from the possibility of getting the ball back and getting drives yourself, and then we had no turnovers. We didn't cause any turnovers and didn't get any turnovers. We're not getting it that way, and every now and then, we're getting penalties. I think [Athens Messenger reporter] Jason [Arkley], you mentioned at an earlier time, four fumbles on the punt return team. Actually, five fumbles, but four of them got recovered by the other team. We recovered one of our own, so those kind of things keep you from getting the ball offensively and showing what your offense can do. I think it still shows that we have a very good offense. I think it causes people problems. I think they worry about us offensively, but the first half was not a great half for us for multiple reasons."
On getting players in the game who haven't seen the field yet:
"We're obviously taking a look at that. There are some guys in the interior defensive line. For instance, Jeremiah Burton is a guy that we're trying to find ways to get him into the game. It's not been easy because everything has come down to the stretch, but we're still looking for opportunities for him to play. There are a couple of those young linebackers that would like to get in a game and start their development that way. On the offensive end of it, there are always a couple offensive linemen you'd like to get some plays so as they go in the spring they're feeling strong about it and they have tape to look at it to see where they need to improve and how it all looks in a game. Those are the primary positions, You look at the guys in the wide receiver spots, they're all coming back. You look at the tight ends, they're all coming back. The areas where you want to gain some experience as best you can, we're looking trying to find ways to get guys in the game."
On renewing his contract:
"There have been discussions. That'll eventually come out and you can obviously go from there."