April 14, 2007
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio football team held its second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. The 70-play scrimmage featured big plays on both sides of the ball, including six offensive plays of at least 20 yards and five forced turnovers by the defense.
The Bobcat offense showed a marked improvement from the first scrimmage when it was held to just six first downs. Not counting sacks, the Bobcats ran for 130 yards on 29 carries. Josh Abrams (Dunwoody, Ga.) had nine rushes for 44 yards, including a 32-yard run. Quarterback Theo Scott (Long Beach, Calif.) made the most of his one rushing attempt, breaking off a 22-yard run. The play may have gone for a touchdown, but with Scott donning the red no-contact jersey, the officials blew the play dead at the eight-yard line when a defender touched him.
"There were some big plays from the offense, and that's what we're looking for," Head Coach Frank Solich said. "Obviously, we want to be a consistent offense that's able to have long drives, but we didn't have enough big plays last year on either side of the ball really. We're working at that."
Kalvin McRae (Decatur, Ga.) once again saw limited action. He carried three times for 16 yards and had one reception for 13 yards. Chris Garrett (Bristow, Va.) had one rush for 14 yards, while Jason Brand (Springfield, Va.), who converted to running back from wide receiver this spring, had nine carries for 20 yards. Joel Scipio (Hilliard, Ohio) ran six times for 14 yards.
Ohio rotated its quarterbacks, giving nearly equal time to Scott, Josh Febus (Dublin, Ohio) and Brandon Jones (Marietta, Ga.). For the second straight scrimmage, Brad Bower (Burr Ridge, Ill.) did not participate.
Scott led the quarterbacks, completing 5-of-6 passes for 70 yards. His 36-yard hook up with Matt Lawson (Dayton, Ohio) was Ohio's longest offensive play of the day. Febus was 5-for-10 for 61 yards and an interception, while Jones was 2-for-8 for 26 yards and an interception. Miles Schlichter (Greenfield, Ohio) threw an incompletion in his only attempt.
"Theo has excellent scrambling ability and running ability," said Solich. "He's got very good speed and elusiveness. He's made big plays every scrimmage either through the running game or the throwing game, so I'm sure he'll continue to do that. He's really, I feel, got the offense down fairly well for a first-time guy."
Lawson led the receivers with three catches for 66 yards. Tight end Nathan Caldwell (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Brand each had two receptions. Chido Nwokocha (Elk Grove, Calif.) made one catch for 27 yards, while Andrew Mooney (Lubbock, Texas) accounted for 23 yards on his lone reception.
Defensively, the Bobcats recorded five turnovers, including interceptions by Mark Parson (Richmond, Va.) and Tony Ward (Beaumont, Texas). Ward nearly returned his pick for a score, going 41 yards before being brought down inside the 10-yard line. Parson snuffed out a potential score with an interception in the end zone. The Bobcats also recorded four sacks on the afternoon.
"When we first got here in the spring, Josh Abrams was doubling back and forth across the field and going about 60 or 70 yards about twice a scrimmage," Solich said. "If you noticed, Josh had some bounce opportunities that he took and doubled back a couple of times, but we have the kind of team speed on defense now that kept him from making big plays. I think that's encouraging. That's a good sign. Hopefully, we can continue to utilize that team speed. We're doing a fair amount of blitzing, and that helps utilize speed, but you've also got to be able to line up in a base front and be able to take people on and not blitz every play. I think we're capable of getting it done."
The offense moved the ball well at the beginning of the scrimmage, getting into the red zone on three of its first five possessions. On the second drive, Ohio gained 52 yards on three plays with a 13-yard screen pass from Febus to McRae, a 27-yard completion from Febus to Nwokocha and a 12-yard run by McRae. Two straight incompletinos and a two-yard run set up Michael Braunstein's (Gilbert, Ariz.) 27-yard field goal. Braunstein went 2-for-3 during the scrimmage. In additon to the 27-yarder, he hit a 25-yard attempt and missed a 30-yard try.
"We got some red zone work, which was good, but once we got down there we stalled out a little bit," said Solich. "Hopefully, we'll continue to get better. We've got one week to go and we've made some progress on the offensive side of it."
In the only other special teams work of the scrimmage, Matt Schulte (Cincinnati, Ohio) averaged 38.3 yards on four punts.
The Bobcats have three practices remaining before the annual Green & White game on Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m. in Peden Stadium. 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.
Ohio Athletics will also hold its biannual merchandise sale at Pepsi Tail-Great Park.
Information about 2007 Ohio football tickets, including the return of the Bobcat Family Pack, can be found by clicking here.