The sustained success of Ohio University’s football program under Frank Solich is no mystery.
Solich, the former Nebraska mentor, is 59-44 in Athens and has taken the Bobcats to five bowl games in his eight seasons. Ohio has been a bowl team the past four years.
“From the start, we wanted to build it right,” Solich said Tuesday during Mid-American Conference Media Day at Ford Field. “We did not just want to try for quick fixes. I wanted to establish an excellent walk-on program, which we have done. We get a tremendous group of walk-ons now and many of those guys are able to play on special teams. Some of them earn starting spots, and we’re able to build depth that way.
“We’ve also been able to recruit better in Ohio. I think when we first got here, we weren’t able to attract the top-of-the-line players from Ohio. They had to pass up a lot of MAC schools that were winning and we weren’t. We’re isolated down there, so we couldn’t get them down for visits.
“Now we’re on TV all the time, we’re winning, and those guys are all coming down. We have 14 commitments right now for next year’s recruiting class. Never have we ever approached that many (at this point in the year).”
Solich, who’s approaching his 69th birthday, is short on flash and long on results. His overall head coaching record is 117-63. He was a standout fullback during his playing days at Nebraska and is a member of the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.
“I feel great,” said Solich, who grew up in Cleveland. “I am really excited about this next season. I’ve got a lot of energy.”
Staying grounded: New Kent State coach Paul Haynes is looking for a No. 1 quarterback. So why is this man smiling?
It’s probably because he’s got a dynamic rushing tandem — Dri Archer (159 carries, 1,482 yards) and Trayion Durham (276 carries, 1,346 yards) — returning from an 11-3 squad.
“I think you have to be able to run the ball to win in college football,” Haynes said. “I’m kind of a 60-40 guy. Now what is that going to be? I have no idea. If we throw the ball a little bit better, it may be more 60-40 pass-to-run. If we run the ball better, then it’ll be the other way.
“Even in those so-called spread offenses, the one who does it the best to me is Oregon, and they run the ball 60 percent of the time. You’ve got to be able to run the ball and stop the run.”
Senior David Fisher and redshirt freshman Colin Reardon are the leading candidates at quarterback.