Updated Sun, Aug 10, 2014 10:51 am
If you rewind to the end of the 2013 season, one of the biggest questions amongst the Bobcat fans and the media was who would replace Tyler Tettleton as the Bobcats quarterback in 2014.
Fast-forward to today, and that question remains unanswered, as redshirt junior Derrius Vick and redshirt sophomore J.D. Sprague are locked in an intense competition for the position.
Two weeks ago during MAC media day in Detroit, Ohio coach Frank Solich stated that Vick held a slight edge in the battle. However with a few days of training camp in the books, Solich made it clear that the battle is still ongoing.
“You want the guys that starts to have earned the position,” Solich emphasized during Ohio’s own media day on Friday. “We have excellent competition there for the [starting QB] position. They are pushing one another.”
Sprague, a former walk-on, told me Friday that he believes he has done enough to earn the position.
“I’m confident in everything I’ve done this summer,” Sprague said. “I’ve put in the work, and I’m ready to go.”
Solich said there is no timetable as to when the decision will be made, but did say he would prefer it not drag out too much longer, as Ohio is just 21 days away from its week one matchup with Kent State.
Young Guys Ready To Step In
Along with losing star quarterback Tyler Tettleton to graduation, the Bobcats offense also saw the backfield duo of Beau Blankensip and Ryan Boykin move on as well.
In their spot at the top of the depth chart is speedy tailback Daz Patterson, whose focus has changed this summer as he prepares to be the go-to guy this season in the backfield.
“I can start thinking about the games now, as opposed to the guys in front of me,” Patterson said. “I’m looking forward to just playing the season, and getting in the mindset that’ll suit me best for the season.”
With the expanded role comes expanded expectations, and Patterson says that he will do anything to reach Ohio’s ultimate goal this season.
”What ever it takes to get a MAC Championship,” Patterson said with a smile. “It would be nice to have 1,000 yards rushing and all that stuff, but I just want to win.”
The defensive side of the football also saw a program great leave by graduation in defensive back Travis Carrie.
With Carrie gone, guys like Devin Bass and Ian Wells are now the top guys at the cornerback position, which is a new experience for Wells.
“It’s a good feeling,” Wells said, “but I also know I have to keep working hard because we have a talented group of young guys coming in that can play. But me and Devin are very confident in what the coaches put us through.”
Bass, a redshirt junior, was named to the All-MAC Second Team after the 2013 season, but knows that he can’t get complacent coming as the 2014 season rolls in.
“One thing I keep in the back of my mind, there’s always expectations,” Bass said. “If you play a certain way one year, people are going to expect it the next year. But I know I’m still not there yet. I have two seasons left at Ohio, so I have to come with the same competitive edge as I have before.”
Solich Talks Power 5 Conferences
A few days ago, the college football image saw another major change, as the NCAA approved the proposal for the “Power Five” conferences (Big 10, Big 12, SEC, PAC-12, ACC) legislative autonomy, meaning that the 60-plus schools in those five conferences have the right to govern themselves separate from the now “Group of Five” conferences--which includes the MAC, Mountain West, American, Sun Belt, and Conference USA.
In the proposal, the headlining item the Power Five schools brought forth was increasing the value of the athletes’ scholarships to include the full cost of attendance, as the NCAA looks for ways to quiet the media storm of compensating college athletes.
Frank Solich was asked about this matter, and responded by saying "it's a wait and see."
“I think that if the idea is to help players during their time in college," Solich said, "then there’s certain ways to help players that’s good for college football. Where it all leads remains to be seen.There are so many things that I believe are going to be popping up on the surface that no one really has the answer to yet, that I hope this is going to be a slow process and when decisions are made they are really thought out about college football in general, and it is really good for the game and really good for the players.”