Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ohio Bobcats 2010 Review

Ohio Bobcats
2010 Record: 8-5 (6-2), 2nd MAC East
2010 Bowl Game: New Orleans Bowl, Lost to Troy 48-21

     One thing that Ohio football is good for is that they always find a way to surprise you. The hiring of Frank Solich to run this program was an absolute blessing from heaven, as he has kept the Bobcats competing at the top end of the league since he has been in Athens. Last season was no exception, as Ohio climbed to the top tier once again, before falling short, and before they got absolutely hammered by Troy in the bowl game.
     The Bobcats are not going to ever be considered as a passing juggernaught, and last season was no different. Boo Jackson was, however, probably one of the better passers in recent Bobcat history. Jackson passed for 18 TDs on the season while passing for 1897 yards, but he also tossed 17 picks. Jackson managed to also rush for an additional 7 TDs on the season.
     The run game is normally solid, but it wasn't really great at times last season, as nobody stepped up to be a prime time back. Vince Davidson led the team as a senior, as he rushed for 545 yards and 6 scores, but he only averaged 3.95 yards per carry. Jackson himself never managed to average even 3 yards per carry. Backup QB Phil Bates was 2nd on the team with 519 yards and 3 scores, and averaged 6.65 yards per carry, and he will likely take over the reins as Jackson moves on.
     The top two receivers were seniors last season, and Terrence McCrae actually had a decent season by Ohio receiver standards. McCrae put up a line of 35-505-9 for the year, becoming by far the number one target for the Bobcats. Steven Goulet (insert joke or Will Farrell impersonation here) was 2nd on the team with a line of 25-388-1. He too was a senior. Receiver Riley Dunlap (27-387-3) and TE Jordan Thompson (21-204-3) return next fall and should take the reins as the go to guys.
     When you look at the Bobcats statistically speaking, you are hard pressed to figure out how they were as succesful as they are at times. Chad Clemons led the team in tackles with only 75 in 13 games, while Donovan Fletcher (73) and Steven Jackson (71) fell in behind him. Nobody else managed to collect more than 60. Shannon Ballard, Eric Benjamin, and Stafford Gatling all managed to pass the 50 mark. Out of that entire group, only Benjamin returns next fall.
     The Bobcats were not especially adept at pressuring the run last fall, as only Gatling managed to record double figures in TFLs. Gatling managed 13.5 TFLs on the season, and the next nearest producer was Travis Carrie with 5.5. The Bobcats were not getting after the QB on a huge basis either, as Gatling led the club with only 6.5 sacks in 13 games.
      The Bobcats had two serious standouts in the secondary last fall. Senior DB Julian Posey led the team with 12 passes defended on the season. Omar Leftwich had 7 as well, but only Leftwich will return next fall. Donovan Fletcher led the team with 5 picks on the year, and returned one of those for a score. Fletcher was a senior.
     Matt Weller was highly dependable at PK last fall as a sophomore, as he hit on 11 of his 14 attempts on the season. He did stumble some when it came to PATs, as he hit 40 of 44. Junior Paul Hershey handled the punting duties, and he was solid, as he averaged over 41 yards per punt. The kicking game looks to be in good hands next fall, and it may be the only stable part of the team. Travis Carrie was the only real standout in the return game, as he averaged more than 10 yards per punt return last season, and he'll be back to handle the job again next fall.
Final Notes
     The Bobcats started out 1-3 last fall, but they then tore off on a 7 game win streak that propelled them to a bowl game before dropping their final 2 games to end the season. The Bobcats propelled themselves to a level that they probably weren't expected to play at last season, but they lose a ton of talent coming into next fall. Expectations should be lowered, and the Bobcats, as is not normally the case, should meet those lowered expectations.

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