Aug. 1, 2006
DETROIT, Mich. - The Mid-American Conference held its annual football media day on Monday, July 31 in Detroit. Along with Head Coach Frank Solich, senior linebacker Matt Muncy (Miamisburg, Ohio) and junior running back Kalvin McRae (Decatur, Ga.) represented the Bobcats.
Solich, McRae and Muncy spent the morning talking with reporters about the Bobcats in 2006.
Head Coach Frank Solich
"We've had a year to work with all of our players. I think we did get to where we're a stronger team. I think the offseason worked well for us in terms of getting more strength. We have a battle going at several positions which is good in what we want to be about in terms of competition."
"I think we've got a good group of players. I like their attitude and what they've been all about in preparing for the season. They worked tremendously hard in the offseason. We had our players at Ohio during the summer. They conditioned together and did the things necessary to have an excellent fall."
"It's obvious that we'll be a football team that will have more depth this fall than we had last fall. I think that affected us. We were an okay football team at the beginning of the year, and then as the year went on we got banged up a little bit and didn't have the depth to counterbalance that and be productive. I think we've got more players in the program. I think we'll be deeper at certain positions, but that depth will be young depth. We'll have to do some quick learning along the way."
"If you look around the country, the teams that win football games, and win football games consistently, generally have a good following. That's what we want to accomplish in Athens. I think the fans and students have reacted really well. We've had good crowds, and they definitely want to be a part of a winning program. If you get off to a good start, that helps everybody."
"Every game is important. In non-conference play, it doesn't determine whether or not you're positioned to make a championship run in your conference, but it does tell you a lot about your football team. It can either help or take away from what you're trying to get done in your conference. It will be important for us to play well. What that means in terms of wins in non-conference play, I don't know. I know that we control how well we play, and that's what we want to do - play excellent football early on. We want to try and build some momentum so when we do get into conference play, we have a running start."
"We have the ability to be a very good football team. We have good frontline players, and we're going to have more depth than what we had last year. As coaches, we think we can be a much improved football team, and that's in all areas. We're excited about the season. The conference is filled with very good football so even though we're going to be better, it will still be a big challenge to get done what we want to get done."
"Those teams that have had outstanding quarterbacks have either won the conference or at least challenged for it. Those that haven't, have not been able to. I think that happens in a lot of conferences around the country, but that one position can determine an awful lot."
"If it's handled right, becoming a good road team can be an easy thing to do because really there's no distractions. If you're traveling well and get yourself prepared as you travel, and don't think of it as a vacation, but take it as a business trip, then generally you have an opportunity to line up and play good football. You have a chance to meet with your team every bit as much on the road as you do at home so there are some advantages to be able play on the road. Being able to do it well is something that our football team has to learn."
"Matt Muncy is a great leader for us. He's had a great career at Ohio and is intent on finishing it off in fine fashion. I've been around and coached some players at Mike (middle) linebacker that have gone on to play pro ball, and he has that kind of ability. Austen Everson, our quarterback coming back for his senior season, is a great competitor and leader. He's really what you look for in those types of things. We're blessed that we'll have excellent senior leadership."
"Kalvin McRae did a great job for us. I found out a long time ago that running backs come in all different shapes and sizes. Kalvin is a running back who doesn't necessarily have great size. He's got good size, but he has great quickness. He has great hands out of the backfield. He's able to stay in there and pass protect. In my mind, he's a complete back. He may not have great speed, but he's got good speed. The kind of speed that allows you to have some big plays."
Senior Linebacker Matt Muncy
"I think we'll have a big improvement on the front line of our defense. In the 4-3, you need them to get a lot of pressure on the quarterback. I think we brought in some guys that will give us depth right away, so we'll be able to rotate more guys in and keep us fresh on the defensive line."
Junior Running Back Kalvin McRae
"We've been working very hard since the end of the Miami game last year. I'm really hoping this is the year. A lot of teams in the MAC have had their chance to shine, and I think we're due for ours."
"I have confidence in our offensive line, and I have confidence in our coaching staff putting in the game plan. I don't look at what happened last year. Last year is over with and there's nothing I can do to change it. I just try to stay focused on moving forward."