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2003 PREVIEW: Ohio Bobcats

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Ohio's offense is unique and always hard to prepare for, but it was downright stagnant over the first part of last season only scoring 39 points in the first four games. Being held to six points by Florida is one thing, by getting shut out 31-0 by Northeastern is another. The Bobcats had problems with sneaking by the Bulls for a 34-32 win, and then came the nadir getting blasted 72-21 by . Things turned around out of the blue as in came quarterback . Providing the spark the team needed, the offense exploded scoring 105 points over the following two games in wins over and . O.K., so those two aren't going to challenge for the national title, but it was a good two-week span to turn around the fortunes of the program.

Bobcats
Team Information
Head Coach: Brian Knorr
3rd year: 5-18
Ten Best Players
1. RB , Sr.
2. LB , Jr.
3. QB Fred Ray, Sr.
4. SS , Jr.
5. RB , Jr.
6. QB , Jr.
7. FS Chip Cox, Jr.
8. LB Spencer Tatum, Soph.
9. RB , RFr.
10. LB . Sr.
2003 Schedule
8/28 SE State
9/6 at
9/13
9/27
10/4 at
10/11
10/18 at
10/25 at
11/8
11/15 at
11/22 Miami (Ohio)
11/28 at
No one ever wants to play Ohio's offense. It's hard to practice for a precisely run option attack, and this group should be able to run on just about anyone in the MAC. The key will be the defense as it tries to overcome several personnel losses while wanting to erase memories of the first part of last season. It got better as the year went on holding Marshall to 24 points and to ten. Now the Bobcats have to keep up the positive momentum on both sides of the ball to have a bigger season. The Schedule: It's not going to be easy to start things off. , , , UCF and all have good enough offenses to score in bunches on the Bobcat D. Things get easier with a three-game stretch at , and at . Those are all must wins with Miami and Marshall finishing things up. Best Offensive Player: Senior RB . He can do it all for the Bobcat offense. As the leading returning rusher and last year's top receiver, he'll be asked to be a multi-dimensional threat again. Best Defensive Player: Junior LB . He went from being a strong reserve to the most dependable defender on the team. The new linebacking star made 116 tackles, four sacks and 14 tackles for loss. Key player to a successful season: With the pass defense having so many problems at times last year, it's important that the Bobcats get stronger in the secondary with great passing attacks like UCF's, 's, Miami's and Marshall's on the schedule. Corners and Andre Bradford have to shine and turn into top playmakers. The season will be a success if ... Ohio wins six games. If the Bobcats can pull off an upset or two and beat a team like in Athens, a .500 record is very possible. Key game: Sept. 27 vs. . With games at , UCF and at coming after the home game against the Broncos, this becomes a must win game. If Ohio can win this game, it should be at least 2-2 before facing the meatiest part of the slate. 2002 Fun Stats:
  • Second half scoring: Opponents 216 - 154
  • Rushing attempts and fumbles: 649 (27 fumbles, 16 lost) - Opponents 454 (27 fumbles, 11 lost)
  • Sacks: 20 - Opponents 11
  • Passing TDs: Opponents 24 - 6
    2003 Recruiting Class
    Star of the Class
    Taj Henley OLB 6-1 203 Richmond, Va. (George Wythe HS) Ryan Antle TE 6-4 250 Wrightwood, Calif. (Serrano HS/Pasadena City College)
    LB 6-2 210 Miamisburg, (Miamisburg)
    Damion Booth DB 6-2 180 Burlington, N. C. (Graham HS)
    Ralph Bracamonte, Jr. OL 6-3 290 San Pedro, Calif. (San Pedro HS/LA Harbor)
    *Andre' Bradford DB 5-11 187 St. Louis, Mo. (Pattonville HS/Pasadena City College)
    Craig Donahue K/P 6-1 202 Powell, (Olentangy HS)
    Austen Everson QB 6-2 220 Brentwood, Tenn. (Brentwood HS)
    Jonathan Hartsook DB 5-11 172 Gahanna, (Lincoln HS)
    Theodore Jefferson QB 6-2 202 Washington, D.C. (Fort Military Academy)
    Kalvin McRae RB 5-11 195 Decatur, Ga. (Avondale HS)
    OL 6-3 290 Mechanicsville, Va. (Atlee HS)
    Ivann Parker DL 6-1 280 Woodbridge, Va. (Potomac Senior HS/Hargrave Military Academy)
    William Brett Sykes DL 6-2 250 Eastlake (Eastlake North HS)
    John Taylor RB 6-0 215 Richmond, Va. (L.C. Bird HS)
    Andrew Tyson MLB 6-2 225 North Ridgeville, (North Ridgeville HS)
    *Potential Instant Impact Players
  • Tagged: Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Marshall, Eastern Michigan, Miami (OH), Western Michigan, Buffalo, Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, Akron, Ohio, UCLA, Florida, Kentucky, UCF, Missouri, Iowa State

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