Sunday, August 22, 2010
MAC 2010-Ohio Bobcats
2009 Record: 9-5 (7-1)
Head Coach: Frank Solich (6th season, 32-31...90-50 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Gerry Gdowski (6th season) and Tim Albin (6th season)
Defensive Coordinator: Jimmy Burrow (6th season)
2009 Bowl Game: Pizza Bowl, lost to Marshall 21-17
Offense: The Bobcats could not run the ball last season. That was a killer at times, but Ohio still managed to win 9 games with 50% of their offense at functional strength. That will have to change this season, but who will lead the way? Boo Jackson is back st QB after suffering injuries most of last season. There is no clear cut favorite to be the man carrying the ball out of the backfield, so running the ball again appears to be an issue. Steven Goulet is the lone returning WR, and will need help from TE Jordan Thompson. The line was suspect last season, and three starters return from that group. If there is no improvement, than Ohio has no shot at repeating those 9 wins.
Defense: Ohio tied Texas for defensive take aways last season, but returns only one player (FS Gerald Moore) in the secondary. The news is awful in the LB corps, where not one player returns from last season's starting group. Noah Keller is that returnee, and picked up 155 tackles in 2009, so at least there is talent to build around.
Special Teams: Matt Weller is an all MAC PK, and has a big leg. He will be leaned on a great deal. Paul Hershey is in line to inherit the open Punting job.
Wins: 9/4 Wofford, 10/2 @ Eastern Michigan, 10/9 Akron, 10/23 @ Miami (Ohio), 10/30 Louisiana-Lafayette, 10/30 Buffalo
Toss Up Games: 9/11 Toledo, 9/25 @ Marshall, 10/2 Bowling Green, 11/26 @ Kent State
Losses: 9/18 @ Ohio State, 9/16 @ Temple
That Ohio State game will be ugly. The rest of the schedule is manageable. Don't be fooled. Every team on the schedule has potential issues, which makes many of them beatable. Ohio can navigate this slate, and then contend for another bowl bid.
Outlook: This team has a chance because of Frank Solich. There is a great deal of uncertainty, and there were many injuries in the spring to overcome, but Solich is one of the best coaches in the MAC, and he wins with less talent than others do. The Bobcats have a shot, but they also have a shot to fall hard if the injury bug continues on his reign of terror, and if the inexperience does what it does to teams.