As Ohio football coach Frank Solich enters his 16th season with the Bobcats, he and the team will face problems never experienced before. But despite COVID-19, Solich and the Bobcats look to make the most out of the shortened 2020 season.
Solich addressed the media for the first time this season on Monday and here were some of the highlights on what he said:
On how the team is managing its day to day operations with COVID-19
At the age of 76, Solich is considered to be at a higher risk when it comes to COVID-19, so it’s important for him to be cautious when out on the field. During the interview, Solich kept his mask up the entire time, providing a reminder to his players to be aware of the environment they’re in.
“I try to socially distance myself from the players,” Solich said. “You have virtual meetings with the players. We have a daily meeting but its in our auditorium where we’re really socially distanced apart.”
“And we wear masks 100% of the time, we’ve kind of gone above and beyond,” Solich said.
Ohio players, coaches and staff must test four times a week.
On Ohio’s quarterback situation
For the last few seasons, Nathan Rourke has been a constant for the Bobcats as quarterback, but now that he’s graduated, someone will need to fulfill the role. Before the summer, the job looked like it would fall to Rourke’s younger brother Kurtis, but with the arrival of Armani Rogers, a graduate transfer from UNLV, things are a bit complicated under center.
Solich said Monday that it was a possibility that the Bobcats would play two-quarterbacks like it did with Nathan Rourke and Quinton Maxwell a few seasons ago. Solich would like to make a decision by the Nov. 4 season opener, but Rourke, Rogers and freshman CJ Harris all have made their cases for the job.
“It could take us into the season before we know for sure how that’s going to play out,” Solich said.
When asked about his quarterbacks Solich mentioned that freshman Harris’ potential has kept him in the mix but he can often be the odd man out for the share of reps.
“Kurtis is a pure passer,” Solich said. “He’s really an excellent thrower. You know he’s got all the ability to make all the throws...he’s got good enough movement to be able to slide in the pocket and find his receiver. But he is inexperienced.”
Rourke does possess the best arm talent on the team, yet he’s years behind Rogers in terms of experience. And while Rogers' time in Athens has been short, it’s also been impressive.
“Armani has the ability to be a great runner,” Solich said. “He’s a good passer right now and he seems to be getting better all the time.”
Don’t get your hopes up that a decision will come soon. Both Rourke and Rogers carry talent that warrants playing time. The Bobcats have three scrimmages remaining and Solich’s decision could be influenced by them.
On why he came back
Coach Solich is the oldest head coach in college football, so he wasn’t bashful when he told the media that his family tried to persuade him to take a year off. He knew the risks when he signed up and he’s looking forward to taking care of his job.
“You know I’ve been in this business for 54 years,” Solich said. “I wake up every morning and I jump out of bed, get ready to come down to the office. I got things on my mind in terms of the game and coaching and our players and coaches. There’s going to be a day when that’s all gone, but for right now I want to help people.”