Head coach Frank Solich, offensive coordinator Tim Albin, defensive coordinator Ron Collins, and special teams coach Brian Haines offered statements and answered questions for the media about the 2019 Bobcat football team. The coaches covered a number of subjects such as the importance of developing depth, 2019 captains, camp competitions, injury updates, and the status of 2019 commits not in camp. Here are some of the highlights:
Five captains for 2019 (number of times voted captain):
Javon Hagan, Safety (3)
Nathan Rourke, Quarterback (2)
Cameron Odom, Wide Receiver (1)
Will Evans, Defensive End (1)
Austen Pleasants, Left Tackle (1)
Ohio lost a number of great players in 2018 including ALL-MAC players LT Joe Lowery, LG Joe Anderson, RG Durrell Wood, RB A.J. Ouellette, and LB Evan Crouch.
Speaking about the 2019 Ohio outlook generally, coach Solich said “...the fact that you have 23 guys returning who have played significantly is good. Teams look at returning starters in different ways, and I look, rather than at returning starters, I look at more along the lines of returning athletes.”
Developing Depth at Offensive and Defensive Tackle is a Priority
Coach Solich: “Generally speaking, I really like our football team, I like the depth at many positions, but there are some where were gonna have to bring some young guys along...that’s in the offensive line certainly, and also in the defensive interior line...”
Status the two 2019 commits not in camp
CB Keniuel Gates and DT Denzel Daxon are the only 2019 commits not known to be in camp. Denzel Daxon’s status has drawn some interest from Ohio fans because he is Ohio’s 2nd highest-rated recruit in 247 sports.com history (Ohio’s highest rated recruit according in 247 sports history is offensive lineman Jon Lechner). Also, as noted above, developing DT depth is a priority and Denzel Daxon could have the physical size to compete early if Daxon weighs 315 pounds as reported on 247 sport’s website.
Julian Ross, RB: In the mix for the starting job in 2019. Coming off a should injury in 2018, limited so far in camp
Shane Hooks, WR: Hernia surgery, limited in camp. May not be a full participant until the season starts.
Tyler Tupa, WR, in the mix in 2019, out for a few days with an undisclosed injury.
Walter Wilbon III, RB: Three-Star back out of Plant High School in Tampa, FL, is out with an undisclosed injury. Wilbon III may be able to return later in camp.
With the graduation of running backs A.J. Ouellette (Cleveland Browns) and the Maleek Irons (CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats), Ohio lost over 2,000 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns from last year’s squad. The running back position could unfold like A.J. Ouellette’s freshman year where multiple backs got a look before the competition resolved.
Both coaches Solich and Albin were confident that the RB room was in good shape, whomever emerges as the starter (likely two players will share the position if possible based on recent history):
Coach Solich: (when asked if they would need to rely on QB Rourke more early in the season due to the loss of Ouellette and Irons): “No, we’re expecting the running backs to be ready to go right from the start and play great football...”
Tim Albin: ‘the RBs-I think we’ve done a good job recruiting but we’ll find out in the end.’
Louis Zervos, K, had offseason hip surgery and is taking limited reps but is on track for the season
Freshman Tristian Vandenberg is working at both kicker and punter according to Brian Haines. Current punter Michael Farkas and K Louie Zervos are seniors.
Tim Albin on WR DL Knock: “one of the best special teams players in the league.”
Tim Albin on QB Nathan Rourke, who, according to Albin, participated fully in the offseason conditioning program for the first time in his Ohio career “...he’s a different guy...you get with Dak (Dak Notstine, Director, Strength and Conditioning) for a full year, you’re a different dude.”
Each coaches’ comments can be heard in their entirety at the following links: