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Sieh Bangura #22 gaining yards during todays game against Central Michigan at Peden Stadium on October 9th, 2021.

Football: Ohio is ready for the road ahead

CLEVELAND — It’s been a little over a year since Ohio head coach Tim Albin was hired.

Since then, the Bobcats have ridden the college football rollercoaster over and over. There’s been highs, such as defeating Mid-American Conference rival Miami, lows during nonconference play and hard stops where it seemed as if nothing was working for the Bobcats. 

Ohio had nose-dived to the bottom of the MAC and it was not comfortable with being there. The Bobcats needed to create change after a dismal 3-9 season. 

“In the offseason, I had some time,” Albin said. “Number one thing was redefine positions on our staff, and most importantly, let them do their jobs.” 

Looking back on last season, Albin knew that he struggled to delegate as a head coach. He wasn’t able to let things happen naturally. There wasn’t a clear definition of who was doing what and the roles within the football staff were blurred.

Albin took to hiring new staff members to help clear his vision for the 2022 season. Doing so ultimately helped clear the eyes of his players. 

The Bobcats sit ready to go this fall. They’ve got a hunger that began earlier this year during their spring practices. It was the first chance the 2022 squad got to truly interact with the new coaching staff. 

“Coming off of last year’s record, we went into spring focused on how we can get better,” defensive tackle Kai Caesar said. “Growth — that has been the focus since day one. We attack that growth through our workouts, through practice, through whatever we can and understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”

Ohio’s ability to turn the microscope inward has allowed it to work on the nuances before it kicks off against Florida Atlantic on Sept. 3. However, that is just the first stop on Ohio’s intense non-conference schedule. It still has to look ahead toward several heavy-hitters such as Penn State. 

But, the Bobcats aren’t worried, they’re excited. 

“We’re going to take them one at a time,” Albin said. “We’re not going to fear anybody. We’re going to every game to win the game, period.” 

The Bobcats are on the same page across the board. There’s a different air coming from Peden Stadium this year. They’ve got a unified front, and when it comes time for the ball to be snapped, the best 11 Bobcats are going to be on the field. 

“We know our potential,” quarterback Kurtis Rourke said. “We know we can be a force in this league.” 

Rourke likes to think back to the 2021 season. He sets in on the two-game stretch where Ohio defeated Eastern Michigan and Miami because it showcases what Ohio can do when things click. 

Despite placing fourth in the MAC East preseason media poll, the Bobcats aren’t discouraged. They have a mission this season and nothing will stand in their way. They’ve got bright eyes and a will to win. 

Only 39 days remain until kickoff and Ohio’s counting them all.

@ashleybeachy_

ab026319@ohio.edu

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