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2008 Ohio Preview - Offense
Ohio WR Taylor Price
Ohio WR Taylor Price
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 9, 2008


CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Ohio Bobcat Offense

Ohio Bobcats

Preview 200
8 - Bobcat Offense

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2007 CFN Ohio Preview
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What you need to know: The offense became more balanced last season averaging 214 passing yards and 151 rushing yards per game, and the trend should continue as the attack uses more spread formations and gets away from the power-I that Kalvin McRae used to run for huge yards. McRae is gone and there isn't much in the way of power to replace him. There's plenty of speed and quickness in the backfield, but there isn't a true No. 1 back. The passing game will be efficient with either Theo Scott or star JUCO transfer Boo Jackson under center, and the receiving corps could be the best the Bobcats have had in years. The tight end tandem of Andrew Mooney and David Carter is tremendous. The line will be serviceable, but nothing special.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Theo Scott
462-108, 743 yds, 5 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Theo Scott
41 carries, 104 yds
Receiving: Andrew Mooney
33 catches, 473 yds, 9 TD &
Taylor Price
33 catches, 461 yds, 4 TD

Star of the offense: Senior TE Andrew Mooney
Player who has to step up and become a star: Junior OT Chris Rodgers
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR LaVon Brazill
Best pro prospect: Mooney
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Mooney, 2) TE David Carter, 3) OT Josh Leuck
Strength of the offense: Tight end, running back speed and quickness
Weakness of the offense: Offensive line depth, power running back

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter
:
Junior Theo Scott stepped in at times and provided a nice boost for the offense finishing second on the team with 104 rushing yards while completing 57% of his passes for 743 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. The former JUCO transfer has decent 6-1, 197-pound size and excellent mobility, but he'll be in a big-time battle to get the starting job. His experience will be a plus, but he has to be a consistent passer.

Projected Top Reserve: Star JUCO transfer
Franshaw "Boo" Jackson came to school early and started out horribly. He was off on his throws, didn't seem to have much touch, and struggled with his command of the offense. And then things slowly started to turn and by the end of spring ball, he became the team's best quarterback complete with a great spring game completing seven of 12 passes for 102 yards. However, he threw two picks. At 6-0 and 197 pounds, he isn't all that big, and while he's a good runner, he made his name in the JUCO ranks as an ultra-efficient passer.

Watch Out For ... rotating quarterbacks. Frank Solich has never been afraid to change things up when needed, and considering the two main quarterback options were so close this spring, it'll be a shocker if they each don't see time.
Strength
:
Mobility. It's not like Ohio is only going to run the ball, it balanced out the offense last season with an efficient passing game, but it wants its quarterbacks to take off at any time. Scott and Jackson can do that.
Weakness
: A true number one. Brad Bower was the team's best passer last season, and while Scott was good when he came in, he was never the main man for the offense. Now the quarterback competition is so tight, it'll be next to impossible for either one to take command of the attack.
Outlook: The Ohio quarterback has to keep the chains moving. He doesn't have to throw for 300 yards and he doesn't have to carry the offense on his shoulders. Basically, he has to hit the third down throws, run now and then to keep the linebackers at bay, and make the right reads without turning the ball over. Scott and Jackson should be able to do that, but Jackson has the potential to be dynamic.
Rating: 5.5

Running Backs

Projected Starters
:
It's a four-way logjam for the starting running back job, but former slot receiver Chris Garrett has the inside line on the job. At 5-8, 174-pound junior caught 11 passes for 54 yards last season and was third on the team with 99 rushing yards and a 5.8-yard-per-carry average. While he's not going to pound the ball, he's quick enough to make big plays on the outside and he should be ultra-effective if he only has to carry the ball 15 times a game.

Back to pave the way is 6-1, 243-pound junior fullback Mitch Morsillo. Almost exclusively a blocker, he got 37 carries on ten yards last season and caught three passes for 16 yards. He's a hard-nosed player and, with his size, a luxury for the attack.

Projected Top Reserves: 5-11, 190-pound Vince Davidson was a tremendous high school back rushing for 3,300 yards before going through the prep school route to get to Ohio. He didn't see as much action as originally expected last season with just 47 yards and a touchdown on seven carries, to go along with a 30-yard catch, but he has a tremendous burst and will be in the thick of the starting hunt all season long.

Redshirt freshman Donte Harden averaged 8.2 yards per carry in high school and has the flash to hit the home run every time he gets the ball. At 5-11 and 180 pounds, he's not going to hit anyone, but he can cut on a dime and should be lethal in open space.

JUCO transfer L.J. Flintall is yet another smallish, thin runner who can move. At 5-11 and 175 pounds, he fits in with the rest of the Bobcat runners. Given plenty of opportunities this spring, finishing up with 19 yards on six carries in the spring game, he'll be a big part of the rotation.

Backing up Morsillo at fullback will once again be 6-1, 231-pound senior Jayson White, who's more of a big tailback playing full back. He only ran four times for 11 yards and caught two passes for 13 yards in a limited role.

Watch Out For ... running back by committee. And then some. Expect four backs to see work as the coaching staff rotates the options in and out to find the hot hand, or legs, on a game by game basis.
Strength
:
Quickness. Nothing against former superstar Kalvin McRae, but he didn't have the wheels, breakaway speed, or cutting ability that the current Bobcat backs have. All four options can cut on a dime and all four can fly.
Weakness
:
Power. There isn't any. While McRae could run inside and out, and was most effective at pounding the ball and wearing teams down, the current Bobcat backfield doesn't have anyone who can hit someone. These are flashy backs who need room.
Outlook: No back monopolized more of his team's carries than McRae did. Last year the coaching staff wanted to give McRae some help, but he ran the ball 294 times for 1,434 yards and 19 touchdowns. The team's No. 2 back, Chris Garrett, ran 17 times for 99 yards. Now the four options, Garrett, Davidson, Harden and Flintall, will all get work and will all get their chances to make plays. There isn't any power, but there's a whole bunch of speed and quickness. The offense will miss McRae, but it'll be more versatile with this group.
Rating: 5.5


Receivers


Projected Starters
:
The passing game needs a number one wide receiver, and junior Taylor Price could be it. The 6-1, 184-pound junior tied for first on the team with 33 catches for 461 yards and four touchdowns averaging 14 yards per grab. While he came up with a six-catch, 75-yard day against Kent State, he was mostly good for two to three catches a game, and now he'll have to stretch the field even more at the outside X position.

Working at the inside Z is one of the off-season's breakout players, 5-10, 172-pound sophomore LaVon Brazill. After a decent first season with 209 yards on 14 catches, and a 14.9 yard average, he showed throughout spring ball that he's ready to become a major weapon with good toughness on the inside, strong blocking ability, and excellent speed after the catch.

The tight ends are the stars of the passing game with senior Andrew Mooney tying for the team lead with 33 catches for 473 yards and nine touchdowns. Not only is the former New Mexico State Aggie a good blocker, but he can stretch the field averaging 14.3 yards per catch. Consistent all season long, he came on strongest at the end with four touchdowns in his final two games. The 6-3, 233-pounder will be involved in two tight end sets in an F-Back role.

At tight end, senior David Carter will fill the more traditional role as a good blocker and excellent receiver. While he's not Mooney when it comes to catching the ball, Carter came up with 19 grabs for 299 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 15.7 yards per grab. The former Vanderbilt defensive end is physical, and at 6-5, 246 pounds, is bigger than Mooney.

Projected Top Reserves: Working as the third man in the wide receiver mix will be 6-5, 197-pound sophomore Robert Mercer after missing all of last year. He has the size to pose a matchup nightmare, and he has good speed and athleticism to finally become a factor. Fast enough to play on the outside X and big enough to be moved inside, he'll be used in a variety of ways.

Sophomore Terrence McCrae is one of the team's most promising targets. At 6-3 and 203 pounds, a top recruit, and a great get for the program a few years ago, will work on the outside and could see plenty of action if Robert Mercer plays on the inside. McCrae made just one catch last year for 22 yards.

Watch Out For ... Brazill. He certainly looks the part. He's smooth as silk with good speed and decent hands. Now he's going to be a bigger part of the attack and he could blossom into a big-time playmaker with defenses having to pay so much attention to everyone else.
Strength
:
Tight ends. Mooney is one of the MAC's best receiving tight ends, while Carter does a little of everything well. Having safety valves like these two makes the passing game efficient.
Weakness
:
Proven depth. Price and Brazill will be solid starting receivers, but Mercer and McCrae haven't done it yet. Considering 16 players caught passes last season, several other receivers have to develop.
Outlook: Finally, the offense has balanced out with a nice mix of talented tight ends and good, up-and-coming receivers. The passing game will never be a consistent bombs-away attack, but it'll be efficient, and with everyone having to deal with the running game, it will come up with some big plays. Mooney and Carter will be lethal on short to midrange plays, while Price and Brazill should provide some pop.
Rating: 5.5

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters
:
The left side returns intact with senior Josh Lueck back at tackle and senior Mike Eynon at guard. The 6-3, 289-pound Leuck moved over from the defensive line last year and was solid from the start. He still needs a little polish in pass protection, but he's a strong, tough run blocker who can dominate at times. He plays much bigger and stronger than his size.

Eynon is one of the team's most versatile blockers seeing time throughout his career at tackle. He beefed up over the last year to get up to 305 pounds on his 6-3, frame, but he's still mobile. While not a dominant run blocker, he's good and reliable.

Also returning is junior David White at center after a good year after Tommy Stuck got hurt. At 6-1, 289 pounds, he's a short, squatty blocker who gets good leverage, and is insanely strong. He has few problems generating a push from either center or guard, and he could move over to either guard spot if injuries strike.

6-4, 302-pound junior Michael Philibin saw a little bit of time last season and now has to prove he can be a mauling run blocker. With his size and experience in the system, he'll be fine from the word go. He'll open up some big holes.

Junior Chris Rodgers is an athletic 6-5, 289-pound career reserve who started out as a tight end before beefing up and moving a step over. With good quickness and nice feet, he should emerge as a solid pass blocker, and with a long 6-5, 289-pound frame, he should be able to keep pass rushers at bay with his long arms.

Projected Top Reserves: Working at center along with White will be 6-1, 286-pound senior Tommy Stuck, a strong player with good experience. He missed two games hurt and ended up being moved out of the job, but he's excellent in pass protection and is more than good enough to step in and start.

Adding bulk at both tackle spots is 6-5, 326-pound sophomore Cole Bunner, the main backup behind both Leuck and Rodgers. he saw minimal action last season, but he's been a top practice player and is ready to become more of a contributor. He'll be great for the ground game.

Watch Out For ... a bit of a battle at center. With a veteran like Stuck able to start without the line missing a beat, White will have to keep producing this summer.
Strength
:
Strength. This is a very strong, very tough line that should do a better job for the running game. It wasn't dominant last year, and it has to replace two starters, but this is a good weight room line that will push some people around.
Weakness
:
Veteran depth. There are enough issues with the newcomers on the right side, much less having regulars ready to step in at the backup spots. The versatility of the line will be key with a few players able to move around where needed.
Outlook: It was a patchwork group last season with several new faces needing to come through. It was average, by Ohio standards, for the running game and struggled in pass protection with injuries playing an issue. This year's group will be fine, but nothing special with a decent group of veterans in Leuck, Eynon, White and Stuck able to form an experienced core, and big, strong backup options in what should be an eight man rotation. Versatility will be vital if injuries hit.
Rating: 5.5