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2013 Pre-Season Preview: Ohio Bobcats

2012 Record: 9-4 (4-4 in MAC)

Head Coach: Frank Solich (59-44 at Ohio, 117-63 All-Time)

Four Year Win Trend: 9 wins and 4.5 losses per year (5.75 wins and 2.25 losses in MAC)

Last Bowl Game: 2012 Independence Bowl: beat ULM 45-14

Stadium: Peden Stadium in Athens, OH (capacity = 24,000)

Home Field Advantage: ranked 16th out of 55 mid-major teams

Schedule Glimpse:

2013 Schedule Link

Out of conference: 9/1 at Louisville, 9/7 vs North Texas, 9/14 vs Marshall, 9/21 vs Austin Peay

Revenge: 10/26 vs Miami (OH), 11/12 at Bowling Green, 11/19 vs Kent State

Swing Games: 10/12 vs CMU, 11/5 at Buffalo

 

Statistical Snapshot:

2012 Statistics Link

Stat to Fear: allowed opponents to convert on 89.47% of red zone trips (last in MAC)

Stat to Cheer: +1.15 turnover margin (2nd in MAC)

Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 70th out of 124 teams

 

Personnel:

Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 6, Defense 5, Special Teams 1

Key Defensive Returnees: LB Keith Moore (98 tackles), CB Travis Carrie

Key Offensive Returnees: QB Tyler Tettleton (2844 yds pass, 18 TD, 4 INT), RB Beau Blankenship (1604 yds rush, 15 TD), WR Donte Foster (59 rec, 8 TD)

Top Recruits: OT Zach Murdoch, S Corey Quallen, TE Mason Morgan, WR Cedric Brown

 

Inside Scoop with Bryan Vance of Hustle Belt:

CFBZ: Ohio started out 2012 on a seven game win streak but then dropped four of their last five to finish the regular season. What changed at the end of the season?

Bryan Vance: The easy answer here is injuries. It's no secret that Ohio was ravaged by injuries all around last season. Tyler Tettleton was playing banged up for most of the season, Jordan Thompson was lost halfway through the season. Travis Carrie and Jamil Shaw were both out for the whole season. Injuries were a huge factor. But the more honest answer is their schedule got harder. 
 
While Penn State was certainly no chump, the rest of the first half of Ohio's schedule left much to be desired. From New Mexico State in week two to Akron in week seven, Ohio's opponents finished with a combined record of 16-55 (three of those teams finished 1-11). In Ohio's final five games its opponents were 25-26, and Eastern Michigan was responsible for 10 of those loses. Long answer short, Ohio's competition got better.
 
 
CFBZ: Most college football fans have heard of Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton and RB Beau Blankenship. Who are the other impact players for the Bobcats?
 
Bryan Vance: Carrie and Shaw, who I mentioned earlier, are certainly two of the biggest impact players on Ohio's roster. Both are excellent lock-down corners who's presence was missed last season. The pair are easily two of the best corners in the MAC and are 100 percent healthy for their final go around this season. They're chomping at the bits to get to square off with Teddy Bridgewater in week one. Those are certainly the two non-offensive players to look out for this season.
 
 
CFBZ: What are the weakest areas of this Bobcats team?
 
Bryan Vance: Injuries weakened a lot of positions this spring, but by far the biggest weakness for this team heading into the 2013 season will be their defensive line. The 'Cats lost all four of their starters to graduation and few of the players on roster have much game experience. Of those returning redshirt senior Ty Branz and junior Nic Barber are the most experienced and will be relied heavily upon this fall. The team is opting for an eight-nine man rotation to make up for the lack of depth and Branz and Barber will have to help pick up any slack left by a large crop of newcomers.
 
 
CFBZ: What will make the 2013 season a success in your eyes?
 
Bryan Vance: Tettleton and Blankenship are back for their final season and the team knows what it takes to win now. They also have an incredibly easy schedule after their week one road trip to Louisville, and even then you can't count the 'Cats out of that game (Penn State anyone?). They consistently seem to draw the easiest teams from the MAC West and their only real threats on their schedule are week nine at Buffalo, week 10 at Bowling Green and Week 11 home vs. Kent State. If they can avoid injuries and win all the games they should plus pull off one win during that three game stretch, there is no reason why this team won't have a 10 win season capped by a third straight bowl victory. Anything less is a failure.
 
 
Verdict:
 
Frank Solich has put together a nice run at Ohio. The Bobcats have four straight bowl appearances and have won at least nine games in three out of the last four years. The Bobcats have been very consistent and I expect the same from them this season with their veteran leadership.
 
Tyler Tettleton and Beau Blankenship are a solid tandem in the backfield and if Tettleton can stay healthy this could be a big year for the Bobcats. The OL could be a concern as they lose Eric Herman and Sklyer Allen (both All-MAC selections last season) but do return four players with more than ten career starts. If Ohio can stay healthy on defense, they should be in good shape with the return of the players that Bryan mentioned in the above Q&A. 
 
On paper, this schedule looks among the easiest in the FBS. Ohio plays a MAC conference schedule that doesn't include NIU, Toledo or Ball State and they get Kent State at home. Ohio looks like it's headed for a nine or ten win season and if things fall the right way they could find themselves playing for the MAC Championship.
 
 

Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews:

C-USA- FAUSouthern Miss
Independent: Georgia StateOld Dominion
Sun Belt- Texas StateULM
The American- Memphis

 

Kevin Causey

About Kevin Causey

dry humorist, beer snob, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Student Section and founder of College Football Zealots

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