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Football: What we learned from Tim Albin's week 1 press conference

Ohio is in a week of firsts. 

In less than a week, it will host Syracuse in its season opener. The two are playing each other for the first time in the 21st century. Coach Tim Albin is in the final stages of preparation for his first game at the helm. Saturday will be an important benchmark for both Albin and Ohio. 

A win against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent is a strong possibility for Ohio in week one, and that potential win would be a massive morale boost out of the gate.

Albin met with the media Monday to discuss how Ohio is preparing in the final days before Syracuse comes to Athens. Here’s what The Post learned from Albin’s first press conference of the regular season:

A familiar coach

Albin spoke highly of Syracuse coach Dino Babers. The two have known each other since Babers’ tenure as coach of Bowling Green from 2014-15, and Albin knows not to underestimate him. Babers led Bowling Green to a Mid-American Conference Championship in 2015.

Albin knows Babers. Syracuse hasn’t played Ohio since 1921, but Babers is only six seasons removed from his tenure in the MAC. He’s played in Athens before, and Albin knows he’ll be ready come Saturday.

“I can't speak to Syracuse and as far as them being here before, but I know that he'll have his group ready,“ Albin said. “We'll be ready, and it should be a heck of a contest for sure.”

Locking down Syracuse’s key receiver

One of the biggest threats facing the Bobcats is wide receiver Taj Harris. He racked up a combined 1,857 receiving yards in his first three seasons with the Orange. Albin said it won’t be possible to shut Harris down completely, but keeping an eye on him and containing him is the best possible bet.

“We'll have to do our best to contain him,“ Albin said. “There’s no way we're going to shut him out. That's not going to happen. But we're gonna have to do a good job of mixing it up with them.”

Two teams with two-quarterback systems

Ohio announced Monday evening that Kurtis Rourke will start against Syracuse on Saturday. Albin believes the competition has been good for the progression of both Rourke and fellow quarterback Armani Rogers. Although Rourke is the definite starter, it is expected that Rogers will also see time on the field against the Orange.

“Both have had a really good fall camps,“ Albin said. “I think both of them had great offseasons, worked on some things that they needed to. Both will play at some point in time ... I'm excited about seeing both play under the lights and going live.”

Syracuse, like Ohio, is working with a two-quarterback system this season. Redshirt junior Tommy DeVito currently sits at the top of the depth chart, but there is a strong likelihood that sophomore Garrett Shrader will make an appearance.

Albin is prepared for both situations. He understands the unpredictability of a two-quarterback system, and his staff is evaluating both DeVito and Shrader.

“Our scout team is showing looks from both quarterbacks,“ Albin said. “You never know. So, I think Ron (Collins) and the staff’s doing a good job as far as preparing those guys the best that we can.”

No pressure

A coach in the first week on the job is often nervous. Albin, on the other hand, is treating the week as business as usual.

He credits the ease of his transition into a head coaching role on the rest of Ohio’s coaching staff. If he had to deal with a new staff, his new responsibilities might’ve been more stressful.

“We've been together so long, and it’s such a strong staff. It's made it very, very easy,“ Albin said. “There's a lot of positives. The staff has really made the transition very smooth.”

@thejackgleckler

jg011517@ohio.edu

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