In his weekly press conference, Ohio head football coach Frank Solich spoke about the athleticism of FCS opponent Norfolk State, his players' injuries and the "one-game-at-a-time" approach his team is taking as the season progresses.
Here are some quotes from the presser:
Solich on the inexperienced secondary – “I think [the secondary] has done a good job, if you look at us from coming off of last season, we were expected to have a secondary that was really experienced with our starters…The problem is we lost our two corners, the two starting corners…Lorenzo [Fisher], I think has stepped up and played very well. You look at Ian and you look at Devin, they are guys that are basically redshirt freshman, with no experience and they’ve been thrown in the mix. Jamil Shaw who had a lot of experience from the previous season, with a shoulder injury is done for the year. So we were without, really, our top three returning corners from last season. So when you look at it from that stand point, I think the guys that are playing now have done a remarkable job. I think the experience that is surrounding them has helped.”
Solich on the slow starts to games – “No one has just totally run away from us in the first quarter or second quarter, we did have a 14 point deficit in the first quarter this past game, but we ended up at half time 17-14. I don’t think we’re getting off to horrible starts, it’s just that it seems like we’ve been really more productive after we’ve settled in on what we want to do with our offensive game plan and defensive game plan as the game has gone on.”
Solich on Norfolk State's capabilities – “No question they’ve (Norfolk State) got a lot of transfers and junior college players in. They’ve got themselves a good football team and they’re very athletic when you look at them on tape. They’re a very good football team, they’re capable of winning."
Solich on the special teams' play against Marshall – “We had to be functioning well in all areas in order to win the game, as far as special teams play. If we had breakdowns in special teams, I thought it would’ve cost us the game.”
Solich on Norfolk State's athleticism – “[Norfolk State] can really run, their outside backers are really athletic. They’re good one-on-one football players. It’s not a deal where you’re just gonna knock them off the ball and think it’s gonna be an easy day, that’s not going to be the case.”
Solich on the notion that the two hardest games on the schedule have already been won – “As far as the toughest part of our schedule being behind us, we never see it that way. Those games are done with, the toughest part of our schedule lies ahead of us. One game at a time is the best way to prepare for football games.”
Solich on Matt Weller's kicking – “Weller is really in a groove right now, he is tremendously confident. Not only is he getting a great job done field goal wise, but if you look at the hang time on his kickoffs, and how instrumental that is in terms of starting field position, it's really critical.”
Solich on resting Tettleton in practice this week – “Tyler has been so competitive throughout his career here, he only has one gear, he only knows how to play the game one way. I can’t get him to not practice. He was banged up going into this ball game with an injury that bothered him, basically throughout the week. He got another type of injury during the game, so at the end of the game he was struggling throwing the ball and yet, was able to do enough to get it done. So we’re going to tie him up this week a little bit and let him heal up before he comes out and goes a hundred miles an hour like he usually does, whether he likes it or not.”
Solich on Blankenship's workload and the running back corps – “[Blankenship] was banged up coming off the previous game and there was one day he did not practice, but he’s a guy that you can’t keep off the field either. And you have got to love that about having those kind of guys in your system, because that’s not always the case. They’re setting great examples, but we’ve got to be conscious of their health. Ryan Boykin got some snaps in the game, he was not a hundred percent coming off a hamstring injury, I think he’ll be better this week and if he’s better this week he can get some more playing time…so both those guys are going to have a fresh tailback on the field for every snap. Daz (Patterson) got some playing time in this last game, so he’ll gain more and more confidence. Before it’s all over, we’ll have a pretty strong group of running backs.”
Solich on the defense – “Our starting group up front (defense) is really a very, very good starting group. We worried a little bit experience at the linebacker spot losing Noah, but Keith has played well and that seems to be working itself out.”
Solich on the defensive line – “We’re probably getting more pressure and more hits on the quarterback from just a four man rush than we have for quite some time. You don’t want to always have to rely on a blitz to pressure the quarterback.”