2007 Ohio Preview - Offense

Posted May 27, 2007

Preview 2007 Ohio Bobcat Offense Preview

Ohio Bobcats

Preview 200
7 - Bobcat Offense

- 2007 Ohio Offense Preview | 2007 Ohio Defense Preview
2007 Ohio Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Ohio Preview 

What you need to know: You know the fastball is coming, but can you hit it? Ohio will try to add more passing to the attack, but this is a running team that'll pound away with Kalvin McRae behind a good, though not as good as last year, offensive line. The attack has to be more versatile after being stuck in the mud against the good teams on the schedule, and that's where new starting quarterback Brad Bower comes in. He'll be looking to add more passing to the mix, but he doesn't have a great receiving corps to work with. The tight ends will get more involved this year to try to keep things moving.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Brad Bower
41-72, 426 yds, 1 TD, 7 INT
Rushing: Kalvin McRae
258 carries, 1,252 yds, 15 TD
Receiving: Kalvin McRae
29 catches, 280 yds, 1 TD

Star of the offense: Senior RB Kalvin McRae
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior OT Josh Leuck
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Chris Garrett
Best pro prospect: Senior OG Matt Miller
Top three all-star candidates: 1) McRae, 2) Miller, 3) OT David Shelby
Strength of the offense: Kalvin McRae, running the ball
Weakness of the offense: Passing game


Projected Starter
One of the worst passing offenses in the nation gets a better passer taking over with senior Brad Bower stepping in for Austen Everson. Bower's not the runner Everson was, but at 6-2 and 215 pounds, he has good size and a live arm. While Bower's stats aren't anything to get excited about with one touchdown pass and seven interceptions, he mostly stepped in when things were slipping away and he had to force his throws in a comeback mode. The former Illinois transfer has experience and should be solid.

Projected Top Reserves: An experienced backup who was the main reserve in 2005, sophomore Brandon Jones can step in if needed and things likely won't drop off the map. He redshirted last season and now has three years left with the hope that his passing accuracy can pick up after completing just 11 of 35 throws so far. At 6-0 and 190 pounds, he has to use his mobility to make plays.

Jones will battle with sophomores Josh Febus and Theo Scott for the number two job. Febus is a big passer who saw a little bit of mop-up time last year. A great runner, his improvement as a passer will be what gets him time. Scott. transferred from the JUCO ranks after initially gong to Cal. While he can run, his worth will be as a passer.

Watch Out For ... Bower to be better now that the job is his. He'll get to start and won't have to come in with the game out of reach. He'll add more to the passing game than the team has seen in several years.
Runners. That's what Ohio quarterbacks can do, and they can all move. Scrambling isn't a problem.
Proven production. Yeah, Bower is a thrower, but this isn't an offense designed around throwing it 35 times a game. Bower might not be the optimal player to run the attack, so if he's not completing 60% of his throws and keeping the interceptions to a minimum, he won't be what the offense needs.
Outlook: As long as you can hand off, you can play quarterback for Ohio. Basically, the Bobcat quarterback has to make the third down throw, occasionally connect on a deep pass to loosen things up, and be efficient. As a runner, Bower just has to make some positive plays here and there. There's decent experience among the reserves and they have to be at the ready if Bower isn't effective early.
Rating: 5

Running Backs

Projected Starters
Senior Kalvin McRae was the most valuable player in the MAC last season with seven 100-yard rushing games in a row before being held in check in the MAC title game. Basically, without him, Ohio wouldn't have come close to winning the East with his 1,252 yards and 15 touchdowns carrying the offense. How important was he? Ohio went 8-0 when he ran for 100 yards or more, and 0-5 against D-I teams when he didn't. If that wasn't enough, he led the team in receiving making 29 catches for 280 yards and a touchdown. At 5-11 and 208 pounds, he's not necessarily huge and he's not particularly fast, but he's the ultimate workhorse.

Paving the way is sophomore Mitch Morsillo, a 243-pound blaster who did a great job of opening things up for McRae while also serving as a dominant short-yardage runner. He only ran 20 times for 60 yards, but he almost always got the first down.

Projected Top Reserves: While it's hard to get a lot of work behind McRae, senior Josh Abrams will be a key number to runner as well as a top special teamer. He made the most noise blocking kicks, getting to three, while he ran 19 times for 36 yards. Tremendously quick, he's a speed back compared to McRae.

Also looking for time will be freshman Vince Davidson, who ran for 3,300 yards in high school before going through Harmony Community School last year. Donte Harden is another young speed back 8.2 yards per carry in high school. Backing up Morsillo will be 231-pound junior Jayson White, who's more of a runner at fullback and can play tailback if needed.

Watch Out For ... the coaching staff to do everything possible to save McRae for the big games. He's the lifeblood of the team and can't carry the ball any more than he absolutely has to.
McRae. The offense is tailored to him and he's exactly what head coach Frank Solich wants. He's not a game-breaker, but he'll get five yards a crack and make plays for the passing game.
Reserves. There aren't any. If the incoming freshmen don't shine right away, there will be big, big problems if McRae gets dinged up.
Outlook: The only issue is the depth. McRae will be the centerpiece of the offense again and should be a lock for a third straight 1,000-yard season, but someone else has to come in to help out the cause. The fullbacks are unsung but sensational, and they might be used more to carry the workload. Essentially, as long as McRae is healthy, everything is fine. The rating would be far higher if there was a backup worthy of note.
Rating: 7.5


Projected Starters
It's all about the new guys to the receiving mix. Sophomore Chris Garrett is a tremendous speedster who'll take over at the outside X position and try to become a big play target. He only caught ten passes for 84 yards last season, but was tremendous as a punt returner averaging a MAC best 14.5 yards per try. He can also run the ball averaging 5.1 yards per carry adding a speed element to the mix. Only 5-8 and 174 pounds, he has to prove he can hold up on a regular basis.

6-1, 184-pound sophomore Taylor Price will start on the inside Z position after seeing time in every game as a true freshman catching nine passes for 77 yards and also getting a little bit of work as a punt returner. He's a physical player with good speed.

At tight end, junior David Carter will get a shot a the Y position after taking a year off due to transfer rules. The former Vanderbilt defensive end is physical and athletic, and now he has to show he can be a steady receiver. Mostly, he'll be a blocker.

When the offense goes to a two tight end set, F-Back Andrew Mooney will step in after transferring from New Mexico State. While Carter will be a blocker, Mooney will be a receiver after catching 27 passes for 372 yards and two scores as a true freshman.

Projected Top Reserves: Senior Chido Nwokocha was a key JUCO transfer who made 20 catches for 201 yards turning into a key third down receiver. Not necessarily a deep threat, he's a good possession receiver who'll rotate with Price at the inside Z position.

Senior Justin Fitzgerald has been a regular in the rotation for the last three years with 37 catches for 379 yards and a score. Purely a backup, he brings size along with experience creating matchup problems with a 6-3, 198-pound frame. He can stretch the field a little bit with decent speed.

Backing up at tight end will be redshirt freshmen Kody Carr and Nate Caldwell. the 6-5, 199-pound Carr is a big receiver who can block bigger than his size, while the 6-5, 231-pound Caldwell is a big blocker with nice hands.

Watch Out For ... the tight ends to play a more prominent role. While there isn't a tight end on the two-deep who's taken a snap for the Bobcats, the offense upgraded with the addition of Mooney and Carter.
Blocking. If you're going to play for Ohio, you're going to block someone and these receivers can. Even the smaller ones.
Production. There isn't anyone who'll keep opposing defensive coordinators awake at night. Until someone turns into a burner of a deep threat, the receivers will be a big concern.
Outlook: The offense doesn't do much to help out the receivers, but there also hasn't been a who's who of top talent coming through Athens. The speedy Scott Mayle never got going in the offense, and now someone else has to step up and become a true number one in his place. In time, things will be better with several young players certain to get into the mix this fall.
Rating: 4

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters
The right side is set with the return of seniors Matt Miller and David Shelby. Miller is a 6-3, 312-pound rock at guard starting 30 times over his career and becoming a dominant run blocker. He went from being inconsistent as a sophomore to fantastic as a junior, and now he should be one of the MAC's top interior blockers. Shelby was one of the team's most durable players; he didn't get out of the lineup. At 6-4 and 296 pounds, he has a big frame will be one of the team's best pass blockers.

Junior Tommy Stuck will take over for J.J. Knabb at center after seeing time in five games last season. He's a strong 286 pounds who's been great in pass protection and now has to be consistent in the running game.

Senior Paul Johnson is a 318-pound mauler at left guard who should be one of the new stars after having a great spring. Staying healthy will be a must after having problems with an ankle injury two years ago.

6-3, 289-pound junior Josh Leuck has emerged as as a starter out of spring ball after coming over from the defensive line. He made two tackles before converting to the offensive line where he learned how to play tackle. Now he has huge shoes to fill replacing all-star Matt Coppage.

Projected Top Reserves: Junior Mike Eynon started nine times last season showing enough versatility to play tackle and guard. At 289 pounds, he's smaller than the 318-pound Johnson at left guard, and he could end up getting the starting spot again by the end of fall practices.

289-pound sophomore David White was a key reserve throughout last year making a start at center. He's a great run blocker and will see plenty of time behind Stuck.

Watch Out For ... problems with cohesion early on. With so many new faces in the mix, it might take a month or so to jell into the banging unit it was last year.
The right side of the line. The offense will run behind Miller and Shelby early on, and it'll be successful. These two are good veterans who'll pave the way for a big year for McRae.
Experience. The Bobcat line basically went with all the starters throughout last year and didn't get the backups much in the way of playing time. That'll be a big problem early on as everyone on the left side has to figure out what they're doing.
Outlook: For good and bad, the line was a rock last season with all the starters having a hard time being a part of a rotation. Now the line needs a former defensive lineman (Leuck) and has to hope for Johnson and Stuck to step in and shine right away. It won't be the killer for the running game it was last year, but it'll be fine in time as long as some of the backups get a little time to develop as the season rolls on.
Rating: 6


Related Stories
2007 Ohio Preview
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 27, 2007
2007 Ohio Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 27, 2007
2007 Ohio Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 27, 2007

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