Ohio’s season kicks off today against Penn State in one of the biggest games in the history of the program. This story is for those who need a guide on why being an Ohio Bobcat fan this year is so vital. From A to Z, here are the key points for the upcoming Ohio Bobcats season.
A – Air Control Squad
With captain Travis Carrie looking like he’ll miss the entire season due to shoulder surgery, two young corners will have a chance to shine. Look for Larenzo Fisher and Ian Wells to be big contributors in the Ohio secondary this year.
Larenzo Fisher saw time as a freshman but will be key in stopping the pass this season.
B – “B” Backs
Beau Blankenship and Ryan Boykin can be a scary tandem if both stay healthy. They will be the flash and bang Tyler Tettleton will need in the backfield with him to make this team go.
C – Conference Foes
Last season’s schedule looked a lot like this year’s, a BCS school, New Mexico State and Marshall were the major non-conference games. Switch Rutgers for Penn State for the upcoming season. Ohio struggled early on in MAC play against Buffalo and Ball State and later lost to Northern Illinois in the conference championship game. If Ohio can remain flawless during conference competition, this season will be a treat.
D – Dreadlocks
Not talking about junior defensive end Nic Barber. Not talking about freshman wide receiver Dayne Hammond. Junior running back Beau Blankenship, in the words of rap genius, MURS, will have dreadlocks crawling all over him. Blankenship will need to match his style of play to the flashiness of his hairstyle for the Bobcats to be successful.
E – ESPN
Six games can be seen on the ESPN family of networks this season, including the season opener at Penn State on Sept. 1. Unfortunately, all ESPN knows about the ‘Cats is they won 10 games last season. Go show them who Ohio is.
F – Friends from Foxboro
Welcome to the MAC, Massachusetts! UMass jumps up to the FBS level in the Mid-American Conference and Ohio will travel up to New England to face the Minutemen on Sept. 29.
G – Gerald Moore
Travis Carrie was placed on the preseason Thorpe Watch List and has since sustained an apparent season-ending injury. Senior safety Gerald Moore could have just as well been named to the watch list. In 2009, Moore was named a Freshman All-American by the Sporting News. He’ll look to live up to the hype in his senior season.
H – Hashtag
The team (not just football, all Ohio sports) need a hashtag. I’m motioning #SUAC, which stands for “Stand Up and Cheer.” #MakeItTrend
I – Intangibles
The ‘Cats losing Noah Keller and LaVon Brazill means much more than losing to vital players from a football standpoint. Those two gentlemen embodied everything about Bleeding Green. Who will be the guys to step up this year to give their heart and soul to the Green and White?
J – Jesse Williams
Neal Huynh will be huge for the ‘Cats defense this season if he can stay healthy.
Coming over from New Mexico State, Williams inherits a defensive line that can be the best in the MAC. Four seniors, Tremayne Scott, Corey Hasting, Neal Huynh and Carl Jones, are the foundation of a defense that can be very stalwart this season.
K – Kings of the MAC
Ohio has been picked by Mid-American Conference coaches and members of the media to win both the MAC East and the conference title. It means nothing. 21-0 against Northern Illinois means nothing.
L – Legacy
Last year’s team was the first to win ten games and capture a bowl win. This is a new team. Can they go undefeated? Will they win the MAC? Who will we be seeing at the next level?
M – Magic Man
The ball always seems ends up in Nate Carpenter’s hands. Last season, the Magic Man had two interceptions and recovered three fumbles. He is the ultimate defensive X-factor. Ohio’s Tyrann Mathieu, if you will.
N – No Noah
Noah Keller’s impact on that defense is gone with him graduating. No one was running up the middle on Noah. Keith Moore steps into the inside backer spot and will be flanked by Alphonso Lewis and Jelani Woseley. New backers need to prove they can handle the load without one of the best players to step onto Peden’s field.
O – Ohio
Mostly for freshmen, you go to Ohio. Green and White. Not the team from Columbus. Get that mentality in your head now that you are an Ohio Bobcat fan. #SUAC
P – Packing Peden
Ticket sales are up 92%. If the awesome people of Athens and surrounding areas can start filling the press box side, you as students can fill our section. And stay past halftime to cheer your ‘Cats to victory.
Peden’s atmosphere during the blackout of Temple was unreal. It should be like this every week.
Q – Quickness
Daz Patterson is one fast dude. He will be replacing Donte Harden as the speedster back. Listed at 5’7”, make all the Harden references you want, but by the time you’re done, Patterson will be long gone.
R – Replacing Recievers
No more ‘Von. No more Riley. No more Phil. No more Jerry. Donte Foster and his freak athleticism will step into the No. 1 role but it’ll be up to guys like Mario Dovell, Bakari Bussey, Chase Cochran, Tyler Futrell and Landon Smith to step up and be solid targets for Tettleton.
S – Skyler Allen
Losing Joe Flading and A.J. Strum will be huge on the offensive line, but Skyler Allen will be the anchor. Two guys touch the ball on every play, Mr. Tettleton and Mr. Allen.
T – Tight Ends
Of course Jordan Thompson returns for his senior season as a captain, but the depth gives Tett more big targets in the passing game. Troy Hill comes off injury to be the No. 2 guy and will use his big athletic frame to spread the field. And don’t forget Derek Roback, who hauled in the big touchdown in Ohio’s win over Utah State.
U – Unfinished Business
This year’s motto for the team. Blowing the 21-point lead to Northern in the conference championship is not sitting too well on the Bobcats’ stomachs.
V – Venus
What Tyler Tettleton should never throw on the Spider 2, Y Banana. Who knows, maybe his campaign this season will put him in a position to be talking to Jon Gruden on ESPN after next season?
Tyler Tettleton dives for the goal line in Ohio’s win over Temple. Tettleton could very well be the favorite to win MAC Player of the Year.
W – Watch Lists
Tyler Tettleton (O’Brien,) Eric Herman (Lombardi,) Travis Carrie (Thorpe,) and Matt Weller (Groza) all getting some preseason love. I like it.
X – X-Factor
Ryan Clark could be huge for the ‘Cats this year. Switching from defensive back to receiver will let him utilize his speed in a group of inexperienced receivers. He will also be a dangerous return man with Carrie injured.
Y – Young Guns
Back ups will be vital in order to assure success, especially in case the injury bug hits Ohio again this year. Wells and Fisher will be key to the secondary and Antwan Crutcher will be a force on the D-line along with true freshman Kurt Laseak.
Z – Zero
Could be the figure seen in Ohio’s loss column at the end of the season…