March 26, 2007
ATHENS, Ohio - The 2007 Bobcats made their spring debut on Monday afternoon with the first of 15 spring practices which will culminate in the annual Green & White game on April 21 at 2 p.m.
The Bobcats wasted little time getting down to business with a full slate of individual, team and 7-on-7 drills. While the workout may have been routine for the 39 returning letterwinners, several players were getting their first true taste of the Ohio system after working with the scout team in 2006.
"Today went about as well as expected," Head Coach Frank Solich said. "The guys were enthusiastic and glad to get back. We were pretty ragged in terms of execution, but what's happening is we're having everyone getting snaps in our offense and our defense. Some of these guys were scout team players last year and have a long way to go in terms of knowing what our offense and our defense are all about. They want to get better."
Aside from the X's and O's on the field, spring practice is a crucial time in developing chemistry and establishing roles off the field. The Bobcats lost some key seniors from 2006, so the new crop of veterans will have to shoulder more of the leadership burden.
"I'm hoping that this group of seniors coming up will provide a similar type of leadership," Solich said. "Hopefully, we'll have some underclassmen step up and provide leadership too. I think that will happen. The seniors have already done some things that show they are concerned about the team, the program and wanting to do well."
One of those players on defense is senior safety Todd Koenig (Nanty-Glo, Pa.). Koenig has started each of the past two seasons and is one of four seniors currently listed on top of the defensive depth chart.
"It's definitely a different feeling with this being my last spring," Koenig said. "It's a different attitude from my first spring, that's for sure. A team always needs leadership so guys are going to have to step up and take on those roles. We lost some great players from last year, but no matter who you lose, guys have to step up and take their place."
Offensively, the Bobcats enter their second straight spring without an established starter. Last year's back-up, Brad Bower (Burr Ridge, Ill.), is not currently practicing while he recovers from a bone bruis suffered during last season. It has not yet been determined if he will participate in spring drills at all in 2007. With Bower out, sophomores Brandon Jones (Marietta, Ga.), Josh Febus (Dublin, Ohio) and Theo Scott (Long Beach, Calif.), a junior college transfer, along with redshirt freshman Miles Schlichter (Greenfield, Ohio) will get all the snaps during spring preparation.
"I think there will be a quarterback battle," Solich said. "We're going to let things play out and see how it works. Right now, they're all going to get some opportunities."
Ohio's annual Green & White game will be Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m. Ohio Athletics and the Ohio Sports Administration program is teaming up to present the second annual Bobcat Blitz which featured a full day of events surrounding the spring game. For more information, log on to www.BobcatBlitz.com.
Information about 2007 Ohio football tickets, including the return of the Bobcat Family Pack, can be found on www.ohiobobcats.com.