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GMAC Bowl Invitation Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 28, 2006

Murray Cape, Chairman GMAC Bowl Selection Committee
"We would like to congratulate President Roderick McDavis, Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt and your great coach Frank Solich and his staff, and of course, all the students, fans, alumni and supporters on a fantastic season. 9-3, what a great year! We at the GMAC Bowl want to officially invite the Ohio University Bobcats to participate in the eighth annual GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on January 7 at 7 p.m. We also want to extend an invitation to all Bobcat students, fans, alumni and supporters to come and spend a few days with us and attend the game. We are all very excited, and I guarantee our city will roll out the red carpet and you will have the time of your lives."

Jerry Silverstein, President GMAC Bowl
On why they selected Ohio:
"The product that Coach Solich is putting on the field this year and the record of 9-3, having the best record in the Mid-American Conference, and the attention that coach has gotten around the country and what it does for your program and for our bowl game. It's a team that is hungry for a bowl game. We feel that the university well represents the Mid-American Conference and will be a great attribute to our bowl game."

On why the game is being played January 7:
"When we originally formed the bowl back in 1999, we were the first game out and it gave us the exposure of people hungry for bowl games. Going through a few years of it and looking at our date and the other proliferation of bowl games that have come out there, we lost a little bit of our luster. We were looking for a way to regain that, get more exposure nationally and working along with the information and comments we've had from universities and our community, which is so much involved in this bowl game, we asked how can we better serve it. When the opportunity came up that the BCS championship game moved a week after the regular BCS bowl games, it presented an opportunity and we were able to move some things around with the help of our mayor, city, county, convention bureau and GMAC to re-arrange their schedule to give us that opportunity and put this on a different date. It highlights us in prime time at 7 p.m. central time and 8 p.m. eastern time on ESPN. We'll be the only college football game on that night. There will be two pro games on during the day. The exposure we're going to get across the country, we felt the opportunity was too great to pass by."

On some of the other events during the week of the GMAC Bowl:
"Mobile, Alabama is the original founder of Mardi Gras. A lot of people think it is New Orleans, but it was founded in Mobile. One of our highlights of the bowl game is going to be a full Mardi Gras parade through the streets of Mobile, which will probably have approximately 75,000 to 100,000 people being on Saturday night with beads, balloons and candy. This is not a waving parade. This is a Mardi Gras parade. The organizations get together with the bands. We're happy to have the Ohio Marching 110 come in and participate with that. Afterwards, we'll have a pep rally and fireworks and concerts on the river walk in our area."

Head Coach Frank Solich
"Thank you very much for the invitation. It's obvious that were excited about the opportunity to get down to your city and the GMAC Bowl. We know it's a great bowl. We know we're going to a great city so we're anxious to be part of the great event."

On the schedule for the players between the MAC Championship Game and the GMAC Bowl:
"What we're going to do is right now is that it's a 65-man travel roster. It's an away game. This is really something like what we consider to be our eighth away game of the year. In any case, there will be 65 players traveling. There are 105 we're practicing with right now. Those that aren't part of the travel squad will be dismissed. They'll be able to go home. Those that are part of the travel squad will be dismissed once we get back here from the MAC Championship Game. They will have approximately a two-week period where we'll have a workout and conditioning program for them where they can be home, go through the workout program and make sure they keep themselves in good shape. If they don't, the format that we've go won't work. This gives them an opportunity to get home. It gives them an opportunity to get away from football for a little bit. When we do bring them back, we'll have a rigorous practice schedule that will lead up to the 22nd (of December). We'll then give them about a four or five-day period for Christmas where they can again go home. We'll bring them back and then practice leading up to the bowl game."

"When they come back from their time off and report, 105 will report in order to have an opportunity to practice properly for the bowl game."

On the advantage of the extra practice time:
"There's a lot of advantages to being in a bowl game, and of course the additional practices is one of them. That's something we've not been able to do here for a number of years I guess. What normally has happened is players would go home like the student body would after the last game and you wouldn't see them for six weeks. If you're a coach, you get very nervous during that six-week period. This allows you to have workouts, help them continue to progress and develop as players. As a team, it will have benefits as we start out with the season next year in terms of the extra practices that we have. They'll be in the weight room. They'll be lifting so they actually have an opportunity to continue working on strength development and size and the things you like to do in the offseason if you have your team present."

On how the program reached this point:
"A lot of things have to come together to have any chance of having success. I think that's happened here, and I'm appreciative of that. We've gotten excellent support from President McDavis and the administration. I think we have the right guy as the AD in our program. Those things are in place. The players have been great. The support staff has been great to work, and we have an excellent staff. Without those things coming together, you probably don't have a great chance of moving forward like this team did this season. We're appreciative of the fact that all those things were able to combine and lead us to the point we are at with a chance to be in a championship game and a bowl game."

On his success in only two seasons:
"I expected it to turnaround. I wasn't real sure as to the time frame of it. That's why when I did come in, I made no promises other than this program will move forward. The fact that it has moved forward so quickly I think is a real tribute to the staff and a real tribute to the players. They bought into what we asked them to buy into. They went right to work. They're a football team that conditioned year-round, which is imperative to having a good football team. They had that carry on over into fall camp and into the season. We went through an early schedule that was difficult. Three road games in a row were very challenging for us. We came off of that mentally and physically beat down a little bit. We had a loss there that could have had this team in a downward spiral. They did not let that happen. They continued to battle and put themselves in games in the fourth quarter with a chance to win. They found a way to do that. To me, it's been somewhat of a special year in terms of how the players have responded and how they've hung in there to get done what they've gotten done."

Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt:
On the financial impact of the game on the athletic department:
"The relationship between the GMAC Bowl is with the Mid-American Conference. There is a bowl reimbursement formula that is in place. That reimbursement formula is a combination of the GMAC pay out for the game as well as the ticket sales that we will experience at Ohio University. The goal of the reimbursement formula is that Ohio University will not lose money participating in this bowl. There will be enormous exposure opportunities for us over the course of the next month. I think Ohio University is going to be talked about in all the national newspapers, obviously on all the bowl game talk shows so it's hard to pinpoint the value this bowl game will bring to this institution. It will be enormous. Financially, it's going to depend a lot upon our ticket sales from our alumni and ticket base. We just encourage everybody to attend the bowl game, purchase a bowl game ticket. We're going to have information on travel packages on Friday. Those will be available on our web site. I would encourage folks that if you can not get to Mobile and attend the game to still purchase a ticket. There will be opportunities then to send that back and send a child or a group in Mobile to the game that night. The bowl reimbursement formula's goal is to ensure that Ohio University does not lose money financially participating in this game. At the same time, we face challenges that some of our other schools do not face in the fact that we're on the quarter system. From now up through our participation in this bowl there are certain expenses that we're confronted with that other schools in our conference that have participated in this bowl game have not had to address. That's going to be extra challenging for us financially. It's a great opportunity. I'm so proud of our team and Coach Solich for what they've achieved this year. It's going to be a great experience for the institution."

On being in this position for the first time since 1968:
"It speaks enormously for this institution and the direction our athletics program is heading. For me to sit here and see former student-athletes, to see community leaders, to see supporters of this program, to see the president of our booster club here, I'm so excited, not only for Ohio University, but for our fans, our alumni and for our students, especially for our coaches and football student-athletes. It's a great day for Ohio University. Thirty-eight years is a long time. We're going to cherish every moment of these next few months, but understand too that there's unfinished business on Thursday night and also in Mobile. It's a great opportunity."

Senior defensive lineman Shane Yates:
On what it means to be playing for a championship and being invited to a bowl game:
"As a player, it is a tremendous opportunity. As a college football player, you always dream of two things - playing for a championship and winning a bowl game. We have the opportunity to do both. As a football player, it is a dream come true. You couldn't wish for anything more."

On the impact Coach Solich and his coaching staff have had on the program:
"I think one of the most important things is that when Coach Solich and his staff got here we set a goal early that we were going to become a MAC champion. Right away you saw that a lot of players believed. Last year we had a lot of difficulty and early on this season we had a lot of difficulty, but it really helped our team come together. Now when games come down to the fourth quarter, we know that we can overcome adversity. It's really given us an advantage this year. Now we believe we can win. Not only do we expect to play in a MAC championship game and a bowl game, but we expect to win these games. The big games come around, and we see them all as opportunities."

On making sure the long layoff between games won't affect the team's play:
"This will be a nice opportunity. It's going to be pretty exciting. A lot of people are going to want to be here, want to practice and get ready for a bowl game. It's a dream come true. The players couldn't ask for anything more than the opportunity we have in front of us. If you're not excited about this, then you're not going to be excited about anything as a football player."

Senior quarterback Austen Everson:
On what it means to be invited to a bowl game:
"I think guys came here hoping to get one chance. We just wanted to play in a bowl game. We've worked hard. It presents a unique challenge. It's something we've never been through before. Guys are going to enjoy it and definitely cherish the opportunity we have."

On being from Tennessee and playing a bowl game in the south:
"I think that's one of the better parts about it. It'll be warm. We'll have good weather. We have a lot guys on the team that are from the area, whether it be Louisiana or Texas or Georgia or Tennessee. There's going to be families in the area that are going to be able to see us, and maybe some fans that may make it to Athens might be able to catch us in Mobile. I think it'll be a tremendous place to play a football game."

On the differences in the program this year compared to last year:
"With Coach being here just two years, I think that down the road younger players are going to realize what tremendous work goes into something like this and won't take it for granted. They'll realize how tough it is and really be able to work hard. I think we as players see the coaches and the staff working really hard to prepare us. In the same turn, we have to work hard for them. That'll keep going, especially down the road."

On what the team leaders need to do to make sure guys are ready to play after time off:
"I think the coaches will make sure we're ready. We're not worried about getting ready. They know what they're doing, and we'll be prepared. It will be nice to have some time off and have some nagging injuries heal up and guys be ready to be full go come January 7."

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