Here are some notes and quotes from the event. Part 1 covers the MAC East. Part 2 will follow Thursday. Quotes are by head coaches unless otherwise noted.
(CLICK READ MORE TO CONTINUE . . . )
Last year (5-7, 4-4 MAC
2014 MAC Media Poll Rank – 2nd MAC East
HEAD COACH TERRY BOWDEN
ON OPTIMISM SURROUNDING THE PROGRAM:
We got some accolades in preseason. We were picked No. 2 in our division. Some people picked us to win the division . … Somewhere along the line, you have to get used to being called a front-runner. You’ve got to be used to people saying you are supposed to win.
We expect great things this year. Some of the prognostication was a little early but we’ll take that. We’ll take that on our shoulders.
You don’t always get what you want. You don’t always get what you need, but you almost always get what you expect, so we’re kind of expecting those things to happen.
We became a better team (in 2013) because defensively we became a better team. … We broke all kinds of offensive records the first year, but we couldn’t beat anybody. Now, we have adjusted our offense to realize that we are going to win ballgames with defense. You know, when it gets to championships or playing for championships, it’s going to be about defense.
ON RETURN OF QUARTERBACK KYLE POHL:
(We need) leadership and poise. … That comes with experience. This will be the first year since I came to Akron that I will have a starting quarterback returning. … There are no good teams in junior high school (and) there are no good teams in the NFL that don’t have an experienced quarterback that can lead your team. I think now we’ve got a little bit of that at Akron.
10-4, 7-1, FIRST IN MAC EAST
2014 Mac media poll rank – 1st in MAC East and favorite to win MAC Championship game.
HEAD COACH DINO BABERS
We want to go in with a blank slate. We’re not going to watch tape from the year before. … We’re going to wipe all that slate clean and give everybody an opportunity once again. … We like to give everybody a chance, and that’s the way we want to do it when we come in.
BATTLES WON AND LOST IN TRENCHES:
I don’t want anybody to forget the physicality of (football). It’s a game of toughness. … The offensive and defensive lines – that is what is going to be the key to most of these football games. We have some skilled players that can make some plays, but we are really interested … at making sure we are tough in the trenches so that these guys out there on the edge can get the opportunities they deserve.
UPTEMPO – AND THEN SOME:
We want to run plays fast, and when we choose not to go fast, we’ll let you know. For the most part, we want to run 85 snaps a game or more. We want to keep the defense under constant pressure. … Our defense is geared to be aggressive. … We need them to get the ball.
ON QUARTERBACK MATT JOHNSON
Matt is an excellent thrower and he’s got fantastic legs, something we weren’t allowed to do with Jimmy Garrapolo (at Eastern Illinois) because we did not run Jimmy Garrapolo. But there is an aspect of our offense that we can run.
LAST YEAR 8-5, 6-2 MAC, 2ND MAC EAST
2014 MAC Media Poll Rank – 4th MAC East
HEAD COACH. JEFF QUIN AND QB JOE LICATA
QUINN ON LOSS OF KHALIL MACK:
He “was one of the most exciting players I have ever coached over my 31 years of coaching.”
That national exposure was exactly what we needed. ... It’s going to be exciting to see this team compete.
QUINN ON QUARTERBACK JOE LICATA:
Joe provides us with a tremendous amount of leadership. This is one of the most talented quarterbacks I have ever coached.
This is the first time since I’ve been there – going into my fifth year – that we have a returning starting quarterback. … It’s exciting to see his development. He’s got to do it this year and then we get him one more year beyond that.
LICATA ON LOSS OF RB BRANDON OLIVER AND RECEIVER ALEX NEUTZ:
What makes me feel confident and comfortable is the offensive line. We’ve got great players up there. … Our offensive line, I think, is the best in the MAC. So it starts right there.
LICATA ON CHOOSING BUFFALO:
Obviously it was my hometown, and I love playing for them, but … MAC quarterbacks have had a lot of success at the next level. That’s what I am looking to do in the future.
QUINN ON 2013 SUCCESS:
They were able to have a great year (in 2013), and now it’s exciting to build on that. … Their training has been outstanding all summer.
4-8, 3-5 MAC 5th IN MAC EAST
2014 MAC Media Poll Rank – 5th in MAC East
HC PAUL HAYNES, RB TRAYON DURHAM
HAYNES ON RETURN OF QB COLIN REARDON:
I think there is a lot more we can do with him. When we … threw him in the fire last year, we kind of had to limit our package a little bit with him. …
HAYNES ON KSU’s OFFENSIVE LINE POTENTIAL:
We’ve got our offensive line back intact … so that should help in our run game.
DURHAM ON LOSS OF RB DRI ARCHER:
Losing Dri is probably a big part of the offense, but we’ve got a lot of young guys that is under the radar and ready to step up. … We had a lot of young guys last year, and now they are on the same page as us. … We should be headed in the right direction.
HAYNES ON IMPROVEMENT:
I think we are a much improved football team than what we were last year at this time.
1-11, 1-7 MAC, 6TH IN MAC EAST
2014 MAC Media Poll Rank – 7th in MAC East
H.C. MARK WHIPPLE
ON TAKING OVER A TEAM WITH ONE LAST YEAR:
I just told them this starts now. … I don’t really care what happened in the past.
“The kids have worked hard. We’re young, but I am excited about the challenge, and we do have a challenge.”
I am just looking to improve, and I think our guys have.
In the middle of spring, I looked at some things and said, ‘Hey, if we just do some things better, we are right in the mix.’
TWO INGREDIENTS TO SUCCESS:
I really believe coaching is giving the kids confidence and putting them in position to make the plays. I think our staff has done that.
ON QUARTERBACK COMPETITION BETWEEN RETURNEE A.J. DOYLE AND MARSHALL TRANSFER BLAKE FROHNAPPEL:
We’ll give them even reps in the beginning of camp … and them we’ll have two scrimmages – put them under fire … and see how they respond.
ON RUNNING BACK
It’s a real good competition. What I want to do is bring competition to every position.
0-12, 0-8 MAC, 7TH IN MAC EAST
2014 MAC Media rank – 6th in MAC East
COACH CHUCK MARTIN
ON RESTORING CONFIDENCE:
You’ve got a bunch of kids that were successful high school kids and at one point had a lot of confidence in themselves, but that’s hard on young men. Getting them to start believing that they can still win and … have success (was part of the challenge) and then getting them in the weight room and getting them bigger, stronger faster.
STYLE POINTS -- OF EMPHASIS:
The first thing that we want to establish is that we’re going to be hard to play against. The last year or year and a half we probably we’re very competitive in a lot of games. … We’re going to be a blue-collared, hard-nosed football team that is going to be no fun to play.
OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE STYLES:
We’re going to be multiple on both sides of the ball. We’re going to do a lot of things on offense. We’re going to have the quarterback underneath center (and) we’re going to be in the spread. We’re not going to be one or the other. We’re both. A lot of people like to argue which is better. We think both are better. The same thing on defense.
How multiple we can be in year one remains to be seen, but over our term in time here, you’re going to see us in a pro-style and a spread offense – and also in a four-down and three-down style of defense. Hopefully, we’ll get pretty good at all of it.
ON TRANSFER QB ALEX HENDRIX
(He) is very, very talented, physically, but (he’s also) an incredible kid. … He’s all for team first and Andrew second. It’s been awesome. … We expect a lot out of him. I know what he is capable of doing, because I have been around him. He’s excited about this opportunity just like we are. I think he can be one of the building blocks to get this program back to respectability.
ON 2013 PART-TIME STARTER QB AUSTIN GEARING:
Gearing is actually injured, and unfortunately he is going to miss this season. I see Gearing as being a major part of our football season, and I think time will tell (where he goes) when he comes back. Gearing is one of the best athletes, probably, in this league.
ON LINEBACKERS KENT KERN AND JOSH DOOLEY:
They’ve got to be the core leaders on defense, and they were already that before we got here.
7-6, 4-4 MAC, THIRD IN MAC EAST
2014 MAC media poll rank – 3rd in MAC East
HEAD COACH FRANK SOLICH
ON DEPARTED TALENT – CLASS OF 2014
They were tremendous for our program. … We had huge production from those guys. … We’re going to have some huge holes on the offensive side of it, but we are also going to be talented even though we are going to be young.
ON BOUNCING BACK FROM 2013 DISAPPOINTMENT:
I’ve not had to deliver a message. They came to me after the season. They were not happy by the season that we had. The off-season has been tremendous. Their work ethic has been as good a work ethic as I’ve been around in my years of coaching.
I do think we do have enough talent on our football team, when you combine it with great work ethic, that it’s going to give us a great shot at things.
ON DEFENSIVE STRENGTH:
I really feel good about the defensive front. … I think we’re going to have a better ability to stop the run with experience and quality players up front. Overall, it’s going to be one of the faster defensive teams … in my time at Ohio.
I expect we’ll be a very good defensive football team. I expect we’ll be very good on special teams. With that in mind, maybe it will give our offense a little time to develop.