Aug. 19, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio - Two highlight-reel scoring plays by junior running back Josh Abrams (Dunwoody, Ga.) were among three touchdowns scored by the Ohio offense in the Bobcats' second scrimmage of the 2006 preseason.
His first scoring run on Saturday came when he took a short-yardage play designed to go up the middle and bounced it outside for a 26-yard touchdown run.
"The first one was actually a big risk," Abrams said. "Coach (Tim) Albin told me about that later on. That play is actually supposed to hit up the middle, and it was third-and-two. I just followed my fullback and guard, and they led me to the outside. From there it was just a footrace."
Two possessions later, Abrams took another conservative play call in for a score. On third-and-16 from the 31-yard line, the Bobcats ran a screen pass to try and get into field goal range. Abrams took the pass from redshirt freshman Josh Febus (Dublin, Ohio), broke a tackle and outran the defense down the right sideline for the score.
"At first we just wanted to run at play that would get us in field goal range," Abrams said. "It was just a simple screen pass. (Josh) Febus threw me a good ball where I was able to get catch it and run at the same time. Shane (Yates) was in good position, so I was fortunate to break his tackle. After that it was another footrace."
Unofficially, Abrams had two carries for 24 yards and a touchdown to go along with three receptions for 62 yards and a score.
Abrams began to show his aptitude for big plays last spring. He was the leading rusher in the Green & White game with 87 yards on six carries, including a 44-yard touchdown run.
"I'm still working some things that Coach Albin wants me to work on," he said. "I use my practice time to work on some mental things. Now when we get into scrimmages its just react and let things flow."
Abrams' touchdown catch was Febus' second scoring throw of the day. On his first series, he connected with freshman Robert Mercer (Cleveland, Ohio) for a 42-yard score. In the Bobcats' first scrimmage, Febus threw a 55-yard touchdown to another freshman, Terrence McCrae (Vanderbilt, Pa.). Febus finished Saturday's scrimmage 6-of-12 for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Senior quarterback Austen Everson (Brentwood, Tenn.) took the first snaps of the day. Everson played two possessions, connecting on 5-of-7 throws for 37 yards. Junior Brad Bower (Burr Ridge, Ill.) was 12-for-17 for 130 yards and one interception.
The Bobcat special teams also got on the scoreboard. During the kickoff return portion of the workout, senior Scott Mayle (Philippi, W.Va.) brought one out of the end zone for a 100-yard score. On the next return, freshman Chris Garrett (Bristow, Va.) went 98 yards for a touchdown.
Senior Matt Lasher (Copley, Ohio) showed his prowess in all three phases of the kicking game. He averaged 45 yards on two punts and his one kickoff reached the end zone. He also connected on both of his field goal attempts, a 29-yarder and a 50-yarder. Lasher was 3-for-3 on point-after attempt. Freshmen Justin Gomes (Erie, Pa.) and Matt Schulte (Cincinnati, Ohio) were also 3-for-3 on PATs. Gomes hit his 29-yard field goal attempt and barely missed a 50-yarder, hitting the crossbar.
Defensively, junior safety Todd Koenig (Nanty-Glo, Pa.) accounted for the only turnover of the day, making his second interception in as many scrimmages. He was able to tip a pass to himself and return it 47 yards up the right sideline. Koenig and junior defensive tackle Landon Cohen (Spartanburg, S.C.) added sacks.
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.
Junior quarterback Brad Bower
On his last week of practice:
"Scrimmage speed is a lot faster than when we're out there on the practice field. It's just a matter getting back in the groove, not forcing things and being smart with the ball. I felt I did that this week."
On his improvement from the first scrimmage:
"I was probably trying to do too much which is where I was making a lot of mistakes. Today I just came out, settled down, tried to run the offense efficiently and not turn the ball over, although I did that once. I just have to take care of the ball and be smart, and I thought I did a better job of that."
On the increased number of big plays for the offense:
"Everybody all around - up front, the backs and receivers - are doing a great job. We're working our butts off. We're not where we want to be, obviously. We still have a week-and-a-half, two weeks left so before that first game we're definitely going to pick it up and be right where we want to be going into that game."
Senior defensive back Michael Hinton:
On his impressions of the scrimmage:
"We definitely came along this past week. We worked on some things that didn't go so well last week. This scrimmage we came out and looked a lot better. I think the offense came out hot. They had a nice gameplan put together, and they looked real good. As far as the defense goes, we were working hard and getting to the ball. Each week we're getting better, each day we're getting better. That's all we can ask from each other."
On practicing at cornerback after starting the season at safety:
"I'm enjoying the position. I definitely feel comfortable there. I'm comfortable at safety, but I feel more comfortable out there at corner locked on man-to-man. I think it will help this defense for me to be out there as a bigger corner that can help on the run as well as the past. It's working out well for me to be out there. We're just looking forward to the season to see how it goes."