Coach Frank Solich addressed the media Monday to recap the Bobcats’ thrashing of Ball State and preview the upcoming mid-week road game at Western Michigan.
— After calling Ohio’s win over Bowling Green last week its most complete game, Solich said this past win over Ball State was even more complete than that. He also provided a sentiment for the remainder of the season.
"I think you can look and see that was our best game of the year,” he said. “We're moving in the right direction, but we're coming up to the part of our schedule where the next four games will tell it all. If you look at all of those teams we'll be playing they're all in contention for MAC Championships at this point. They're going to be very competitive football games.”
— Solich was complimentary of A.J. Ouellette’s running style, and he said the coaching staff didn’t know he would be a career 3,000-yard rusher upon arriving to campus.
— Experience is beginning to play a big role in Ohio’s defensive growth. After being gashed for explosive plays in the first half of the season, the Bobcats have buckled down and become one of the best defenses in conference play.
“I think now it's a combination of young guys getting better with experience, and defensively we have a football team that's capable of running well,” Solich said. “We have been showing that in the past games when we've done more line stunts and blitzing than we've done in the past."
— Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo is the only Mid-American Conference stadium Solich has not won in: “We've had some chances against them but they've played very well against us,” Solich said.
— The last time Ohio and Western Michigan met, the Broncos beat the Bobcats in the 2016 MAC Championship Game in Detroit. Many players from that team are still with the Bobcats. Solich doesn’t think that carries any weight going into this matchup, however.
“There were two really good football teams. That was really in the past. These guys have a tendency to look forward,” he said.
— Ohio has used its speed and movement on the defensive side of the ball since its early season struggles. It’s produced results, and Solich contributes the recent defensive success to scheme.
“We have mixed it up very, very well, and I think that has been huge for us in terms of helping us play better defense,” Solich said. “I've mentioned this before: we're a team that runs pretty well. When you have guys that can run there's no sense in having them stand still all the time. So we're trying to create a lot of movement with some of the concepts that we do with the defensive side of it and I think that's been a plus for us.”
— Solich likes where the Bobcats are right now.
"I think a couple weeks ago it showed to us that we're a football team that's going to rise to the occasion,” he said. “We had really good practices after coming off of a loss; the next couple of weeks of practice were really, really good. So I think our team is set to give their best and that's something that in the middle of season or towards the end of the season is not always the case with football teams, regardless of whether they have a chance to be in the running for a conference championship or not.”