OHIO COLLEGE INSIDER
Beckman borrows from mentors
There was brain overload for Toledo coaches and players two weeks ago on the long flight home after losing 57-14 to then fourth-ranked Boise State.
The Rockets were on the run from the opening kickoff against a team that wanted to pile up style points for the polls. Afterward, the media took the Toledo coaches to task for juggling quarterbacks Austin Dantin and Terrence Owens.
How second-year coach Tim Beckman handled everything from his talks with the team to practices might set the tone for a young team the rest of the season.
Toledo responded with a 34-21 victory over Kent State to move to 3-0 in the Mid-American Conference West.
"I go back to the people I learned coaching from, and (bringing a team back from a loss) was one of the things that was stressed when I was with Urban Meyer at Bowling Green,'' Beckman said. "The team is different after a loss. Our team meeting (Sunday) was different than it was after the Boise game. We had to correct and make sure we got the team back after Boise State. Now, after the Kent game we're feeling good about ourselves, but we have to realize we have a lot of mistakes.''
The coaches stayed with Dantin, a sophomore, for the entire game. He rewarded their faith by completing 30 of 47 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown and running for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Beckman said the turnaround was more about mental preparation and execution than anything else.
"Nothing new or anything we invented. It was just playing football,'' Beckman said. "We talk every week about being able to block, tackle and catch. The credit has to go to the players and the staff.
During his days as head coach at Nebraska, Frank Solich coached triple-option football because that was the Cornhuskers' style when he was a running back there and when he was an assistant under Tom Osborne.
The forward pass was called only when it was desperately needed.
At Ohio University, however, Solich has turned the Bobcats into an efficient blend of the run and pass. In a 38-10 victory over Akron, quarterback Boo Jackson and receiver Terrence McCrae hooked up for two touchdowns to set team records. Jackson tied a team career record for touchdown passes with 29 and McCrae set a career record for touchdown receptions with 16.
The New England Patriots chose receiver Taylor Price of Hilliard Darby in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft after he set the Ohio career record for receptions with 149.
"I've always loved the passing game, but at Nebraska we had a system that was in place and was successful for so many years,'' Solich said. "We had the right personnel in place. We had some of the best running backs in the country. We were putting points on the board and stayed with it.''
Things changed when Solich was hired by Ohio in 2005. He had visited numerous NFL training camps and took notes on the passing game.
"When I came to Ohio I wanted to establish more of a balanced football team,'' he said. "Tim Albin, who was with me at Nebraska when I was a head coach, has a brilliant offensive mind. I knew he could bring a balanced offense here (as offensive coordinator). Gerry Gdowski was a great offensive mind at New Mexico before he joined our staff (as co-offensive coordinator). It just made sense for us to throw the ball.''
Life has been difficult for Ohio Dominican in its first season in NCAA Division II, but the Panthers broke through for victory No. 1 with a 20-10 win over Findlay on Saturday after five straight losses.
The defense forced three turnovers, interceptions by Jeff White of Gahanna and Jason McCurdy of Watterson and a fumble recovery by Eisen Hardy of Pickerington Central.
Ohio Dominican (1-5) also stopped Findlay (1-6) on downs in the second half.
"Our defense was huge,'' coach Bill Conley said. "Our blitz reads and cover packages were spot on. We always seemed to have the perfect play called for their offense.''
Linebacker Mark Markakis, a sophomore, was named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference defensive player of the week for making a team record 20 tackles.