Bobcats think they have plenty of leaders
Team brings back unity council this season
By Lonnie McMillan / Contributor
Sunday, August 26, 2012
ATHENS – Despite having three less captains this season that last year, the Ohio football team expects to have plenty of leaders.
The Bobcats named seven captains in 2011, but have given that honor to only four players this year.
However, the team has brought back the concept of the unity council, with representatives from each position group responsible to aid in team decisions.
Captains this year are seniors cornerback Travis Carrie, safety Gerald Moore and tight end Jordan Thompson and junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton.
“I like our overall leadership on our team,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said. “I think we have as many leaders this year as we’ve ever had.”
Last year, the Bobcats elected seven captains, linebackers Eric Benjamin and Noah Keller, wide receivers LaVon Brazill and Riley Dunlop, offensive lineman Joe Flading, defensive lineman Jeff King and tight end Jordan Thompson.
All of the captains last year were seniors except for Thompson, repeats this year as a second-time captain. This year, Tettleton is the non-senior captain and he said he is ready to step up after learning from the more experienced players last year.
“The guys that I had around me allowed me to have that type of season and I try to give all the thanks and praise to those guys,” he said. “Hopefully it will just carry on to this year being more experience and being more of a leader. I think that will allow me to have a better year this year.”
In terms of starters returning, the Ohio offense has more experience than the defense. Those players on that side of the ball are ready to step up, Moore said.
“Our returning starters are all leaders, we all want to be leaders, we’re all pushing the young guys and teaching the young guys,” he said.
Back this year to give more of a representative voice to the players is the unity council, which is something Solich said he picked up from former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne.
“It is made up of two players from every position plus kicker,” Solich said. “That enables us to throw forward more guys with leadership ability. … I like the direction that that’s headed.”
He said Ohio used to have the council in the past but went away from it as the teams started electing larger numbers of captains. This year, it was appropriate to bring it back, he said.
“It allows them to feel like they have some ownership in the program,” Solich said. “They can bring anything to the table that they want to bring to it. It’s not a coach that’s running it. They’re able to discuss a lot of things.”
Members of the unity council are wide receivers Mario Dovell, Bakari Bussey and Chase Cochran, tight end Thompson, defensive linemen Tremayne Scott and Corey Hasting, defensive backs Moore, Carrie and Josh Kristoff and kicker Matt Weller.
There are some decisions, Solich said, in which the coaches seek the input from these players. There also are decisions the coaches leave entirely to the players.
“To be very honest with you, there are a lot of decisions that as a head coach it doesn’t really matter which direction you go with it, but to a player, it means a lot, and allowing them to make those kinds of decisions is meaningful to them,” Solich said.