Updated Wed, Oct 5, 2011 1:03 am
Frank Solich talked to the media after his team's 17-10 win over conference foe Kent State on Saturday. The head coach addressed the injury concerns plaguing his team and how Ohio will prepare for 1-4 Buffalo in this weekend's contest.
Sights From the Sidelines - Kent State
Nate Carpenter, Troy Polamalu Without the Hair?
Nathan Carpenter didn't play a down for the Ohio Bobcats last season. The 5 foot 9 inch redshirt freshman safety is picking up the game fast. He has 22 total tackles, a sack, two interceptions, two pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble so far this season. He easily had his best game this Saturday in the MAC-opening win over Kent State. Carpenter had a beautiful, diving interception that highlighted his 10 tackle and one sack day. What stood out more than the numbers though, was Carpenter's alignments on a given play. He is listed as a safety on the roster, but a single position doesn't describe where he plays on the field. We saw number 35 lined up as a third cornerback in nickel formations, he moved to outside linebacker on a handful of snaps, and every now and then played the traditional safety position. Kind of remind you of Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu? Do not overreact. Not saying Carpenter is as good the Steeler safety who has made six Pro Bowls and been named First Team All-Pro three times, but the versatility is similar. Carpenter can be found in a number of spots on the field on any given play; the same is true for Polamalu. Watch the Green and White's number 35 next time you have a chance, your eyes might get tired trying to follow him around.
Tettleton is Tough
Tyler Tettleton suffered through a lower leg injury for most of Saturday's game. Coach Frank Solich said it was a "deep contusion," somewhere in the lower leg that hampered his ability to push off his right leg on passing attempts. The pain was evident. Number four had a slight limp from mid-first quarter on. Good news for the 'Cats came when Solich said in the Monday press conference that Tettleton "should be able to play this week." Now the question is if this leg contusion will be in Tettleton's mind when he goes to plant and rip a pass down the field or take off and run. The deep pass and T Tett's ability to run for big gains has been a key to Ohio's explosive offense.
Boykin is Huge
Physically and strategically, Ryan Boykin is a huge target for Ohio. He tied LaVon Brazill for a game-high eight receptions versus Kent State. Boykin is currently second on the team in all-purpose yards with 402, 80 yards on average per game, and leads the team in rushing with 314 yards. The eight grabs against the Golden Flashes totaled 47 yards; the biggest, not by distance, but importance, was a 7-yard touchdown catch on a swing pass to the left flat on third-and-goal that put the 'Cats up 17-7 with 2:15 remaining in the 3rd quarter. The score put the score at 17-7 in Ohio's favor. Had Boykin not scored the Bobcats probably settle for a field goal. A one possession, 13-7 game would have had a much different feel than a 10-point, 17-7 game. The way Boykin scored explains the physical half of his hugeness. Boykin lowered his shoulder and popped KSU's Darius Polk. Number 20 in green is 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 221 pounds. Darius Polk's measures are 6 feet tall and 183 pounds. Boykin took advantage of his almost 40-pound advantage and lowered the boom on Polk on his way to the end zone. We saw him in a sleeveless undershirt after the game and it makes sense. His shoulders and arms are massive; probably why he chose to use them to demolish Polk.
Team Is Mentally Strong Despite Injury Bug Having a Permanent Residence in Athens
Omar Leftwich, Neil Huynh, and Xavier Hughes did not finish Saturday's game. Leftwich left in the first quarter with a shoulder injury, Huynh also out before the first 15 minutes had expired with a knee injury. Hughes did not return, but the outlook is positive for him coming back. Huynh will miss four weeks and then be examined after that; Leftwich will also miss several weeks, but the thought on both of them after Saturday was they would miss the rest of the season, so several weeks is good news. These new injuries pile on top of DL Jeff King missing his fifth straight game and RB Donte Harden not having played since the first half of the Marshall game. With the lack of bodies, the Bobcats scrambled to fill holes on the field with guys like Josh Kristoff, Ryan Clark and others, who played well. The level of play by the inexperienced 'Cats is a testament to the Ohio coaching staff, who appears to have everybody on the sideline ready to play. In preparation for this week, freshmen DL Antwan Crutcher and Brandon Purdum will prepare to see time. They were scheduled to redshirt this season.