Aug. 7, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio football team took the field for its first official practice of the 2006 season on Monday afternoon. It was the first of 29 preseason practices leading up to the season opener against Tennessee-Martin on Sept. 2.
The first session was cut a few minutes short when a thunderstorm rolled through Athens, forcing the players and staff into the locker room. Despite the shortened day, senior quarterback Austen Everson was excited to get his senior year started.
"There was a lot of excitement out there," Everson said. "It was great to see guys running around, breaking a sweat and competing against one another. We might be a little rusty now, but we have a short time to get ready for the home opener against Tennessee-Martin."
Junior Quarterback Brad Bower
On going into this season:
"Just knowing that I wasn't going to play last year, I took things a little slower. Now I know the system and everything that's going on. It's my fourth year in a camp. I'm relaxed. You just go out there and know what you have to do. You have to mentally prepare yourself to push yourself and try to get better every day."
On competing for the starting quarterback job:
"I think competition is a great thing. It always pushes everybody harder. Austen right now is taking the snaps (with the first team). That's pushing me harder because I want to be the one taking the snaps. We're doing everything we can to put this team in the right situation."
Senior Quarterback Austen Everson
On this year's quarterbacks:
"As a quarterback, a lot of times people tend to look at you in terms of how the team goes, you go. If the team does badly, you do badly. They look at the team and quarterback together. You have to understand that everyone is going to pay more attention to what you do. We've come to realize that more than one quarterback is going to play. There's always going to be competition. We help each other out. The best guy needs to be on the field, representing the other quarterbacks."
On how to improve the passing game:
"The biggest thing we found that it wasn't one position that was making errors. There were plenty of times the quarterbacks made errors, whether mental or physical, and there were times the receivers or running backs made an error. It was a group effort. I don't think you can put it on one person. That's exciting because if everybody can just get a tad bit better than we can be a lot better as a unit. I think we're getting better."
On starting practice after summer workouts:
"The summer was a springboard into this fall camp. The intensity was up and the emotions were up simply because we've been here all summer long and guys were antsy to get going."
Senior linebacker Matt Muncy
On the first day of camp:
"It felt like we didn't skip a beat. Everybody's excited about getting out there. The optimism is high. Everybody on the team knows we have the ability to do something special with this season. The coaches are fired up as well."
The Bobcats open the 2006 season on Sept. 2 at Peden Stadium against Tennessee-Martin. For information on tickets and the new Bobcat Family Package, which includes two adult and two youth (ages 3-18) season tickets for $79, call the Ohio Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-575-CATS.