Updated Wed, Jul 25, 2012 4:27 pm
On a day when every team in the Mid-American Conference gets a portion of the media's attention, the Ohio Bobcats managed to steal the spotlight.
Ohio was picked as the preseason favorite to win the MAC East Division and also received five votes to win the MAC championship.
Representing the Bobcats at MAC Football Media Day on Tuesday morning at Ford Field in Detroit were captains Tyler Tettleton and Travis Carrie. In addition to fielding questions surrounding the hype behind the 2012-2013 Bobcats, both players also received plenty of inquiries regarding their individual recognitions.
Tyler Tettleton's name can be found on the 2012 Manning Award Watch List and the 2012 Davey O'Brien Award Watch List; both awards are given to the nation's top college quarterback. Travis Carrie, meanwhile, was recognized and noted as a player in the running for the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award as the best defensive back in the country. Despite their preseason accolades, both players were quick to put individual attention aside and focus on the team as a whole.
"It's a great honor to be a part of those lists," Tettleton said. "but I'm more of a team-oriented guy and all about what we want to achieve on the field."
The atmosphere at media day was filled with enthusiasm and eagerness to get the season started. Each team, represented by two players and the head coach, showed a passion to make this season one to remember. For Ohio, the season starts with a bang: the Green and White open up the 2012 campaign in front of a national television audience against Penn State in Happy Valley. For Tettleton, a matchup against a Big Ten program is an opportunity to show the college football world the Bobcats are the real deal.
"We're always excited about those games, especially these past three or four years with what we've been doing at Ohio. With the success we've had we want to go out and prove that we are a team to talk about and we can maybe sneak in to the top 25. It all starts with Penn State. We're excited for that, the guys are ready for it and I just can't wait to get it going."
The 'Cats first game will be the first chance for Ohio fans to see the team without some familar names and faces. The Green and White lost 10 starters from last year's squad including Noah Keller, Lavon Brazil and Donte Harden. Carrie said while being one of the returning leaders to step in and fill their shoes, it won't be easy.
"I think it does add pressure," Carrie said. "It's not bad pressure; it's good pressure in a sense because I already established some sort of leadership."
Tettleton added that the support group around the leaders is just as important as as the leaders themselves.
"I have to take it upon myself to lead these guys but we have a lot of good guys around me, a lot of guys that are coming back that have been a part of the success we've had here."
However, success can be a finicky word. Past success can either drive a team to new heights or crumble a team under high expectations. The word Tettleton and Carrie want to avoid is complacency.
"After the season we reflected on the past year and it was an amazing year for us," Tettleton said. "This year we want to take it up a notch and get one more win, 11 wins, (and) obviously win the MAC.
"Our role is not to feel comfortable with where we were at last year," Carrie said. "Every day you still have to work. That was one of the great things we did last year: working towards what we wanted to achieve. This year we have to work even harder because now we have more targets on our back. Being able to feel that last year was the start, not the finish, of greatness is something we have to really take control of."
A common theme among all 13 MAC schools at media day was the goal of returning to Detroit in December for the Mid-American Conference Championship at Ford Field. Ohio's last experience in Detroit wasn't a memorable one. After leading for the majority of the game, Northern Illinois came from behind to win 23-20 and steal the glory from Frank Solich's squad.
Tettleton made it clear that collapse at Ford Field has not escaped the memory of his team.
"We have unfinished business there."