After finishing spring practices with the annual spring game on April 12, there’s less than five months remaining before the Ohio football team begins its 2014 campaign.
Ohio finished last season 8-6 and earned a berth into the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, but lost 37-20 and failed to win a third consecutive postseason game.
Despite the shortcoming to end last season, the Bobcats are eager to return to the gridiron and will see their first action in an unconventional season opener against a Mid-American Conference rival. Ohio will travel to play Kent State on Aug. 30 to begin another quest for a MAC title.
But before the Bobcats play their first game of the 2014 season, let’s continue to look back at last year.
The biggest troubles came on the defensive side of the ball, as the Bobcats were outscored overall on the season. But after the defense defeated the offense 7-3 in the spring game, Ohio is optimistic to continue its improvement.
“I like where we’re at defensively,” coach Frank Solich said after the game. “I think we can be a very strong, talented defensive unit. … I think if you go around the country, you’re not going to find too many head coaches being very happy coming out of spring ball; that’s just the way spring ball is.”
To start the year, Bobcats were blown out on national television to begin the season against Louisville in what turned out to be a roller coaster of a season. Ohio won six of its next seven games, but then lost three straight games before winning the regular season finale.
And with the departure of quarterback Tyler Tettleton and running back Beau Blankenship — the Bobcats’ passing and rushing leaders, respectively — for the first time in a while there will be some offensive changes.
It’s easy to get excited about the potential explosiveness of the new batch of starters, but there’s no guarantee that Ohio will replace eight offensive starters without a year of a drop off.
The schedule will help ease the growing pains — Ohio plays eight teams projected 102nd or worse — but with an offense figuring things out and a defense trying to recover from a bad year, 2014 could quite possibly see a step or two backwards.