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Andrew Meyer (#9) and Brendan Cope (#85) celebrate after Ohio scores a touchdown against Toledo on Nov. 8. The Bobcats won 38-10. (FILE)

Football: How the Bobcats have looked this spring

As Ohio’s spring scrimmage — a glorified final practice — wound down Saturday, coach Frank Solich stood behind the line of scrimmage, watching his second team units that were going through full-contact reps. Most of the projected starters didn’t participate or saw limited action.

Once the scrimmage was over and the fans left the Peden Stadium bleachers, Solich had a message for his team: The spring was good, but if the Bobcats look the way they do now at the start of fall camp, he’ll be displeased.

Solich saw many things that improved in the 15 practices over the course of the last month. 

“We’ve got some talent,” Solich said. “It should come together. I feel good about coming out of the spring.”

As practices progressed, quarterback Nathan Rourke returned from offseason surgery, and the dynamic in the quarterback room changed back to the way it was toward the end of last season. The offense was still mostly under Quinton Maxwell’s control, though, as Rourke eased back into practice.

The stable of wide receivers wasn’t entirely intact for Rourke and Maxwell this spring. Elijah Ball is still rehabbing from an ACL tear. Andrew Meyer and Cameron Odom sat out the majority of camp. Although those two big-name receivers were out, the receivers impressed their coaches. Markel Davis was an outside threat throughout practice, and he has become a player who is set to have a breakout season.

“I really like what he showed us this spring,” Solich said. “He’s got good speed. He’s got good eye-hand coordination. He can go up and catch the ball. So he’s got a lot of things going for himself.”

The offensive line remains a constant for the Bobcats; four of the starting five are returning. The lone question mark will be at center. That position battle could be the best of the fall.

Defensively, the Bobcats were just trying to stay healthy and tidy up in the secondary. Kylan Nelson and Javon Hagan will lead an experienced group into the fall. In front of them, Dylan Conner and Eric Popp will join Evan Croutch at linebacker, as Ohio attempts to replace all-time leading tackler Quentin Poling.

One of the biggest concerns heading into the spring was along the defensive line. After losing nearly every starter from a season ago, the Bobcats picked up two junior college transfer defensive tackles: Zach Burks and Cole Baker. Baker fit right in, garnering reps with the first team. He is expected to make an impact in run-stopping and pass rush. Amos Ogun-Semore made his presence known in the backfield during the spring scrimmage, and he is expected to make plays come fall.

As a team, the Bobcats were looking to build from the successes of last season, when they went 9-4 and won the Bahama’s Bowl. With spring over and summer workouts looming, Solich expects his team to hit the weight room and come back to Athens in August, ready for another shot at winning the Mid-American Conference Championship.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to be a good football team,” Solich said. 


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