Returning Starters – Offense: 9 Defense: 6
Preview: The Ohio Bobcats reached bowl eligibility last season, but they weren’t invited to postseason play after turning in a 6-6 campaign. Ohio will hope to improve in last season with 15 returning starters back to a team that should compete in the more wide open MAC East. Head coach Frank Solich has had a lot of success during his time at Ohio leading the team to a 72-56 record over his 10 years with the program.
The Bobcats look to be a lot of efficient on the offensive side of the ball with nearly every starter back from last season. Ohio will be set at QB with both Derrius Vick and JD Sprague returning after both made starts last season. Look for Vick to get the nod as the starter baring any more injuries for the senior. The offensive line will be a significant strength with all 5 starters back to a unit that should be one of the better units in the MAC. The RB position is set with the young A.J. Ouellette ready to build off of an encouraging 2014. Ohio is hoping to get more out of a receiving corps that didn’t put up big numbers last season. The unit returns 2 starters and the staff looks for Reid and Smith to step up.
The defense returns 6 starters to a unit that could be very steady again in 2015. The defensive front will be in rebuild mode with only 1 starter returning. Look for this part of the defense to build around stud pass rusher Tarell Basham who’ll get his share of double teams again this season. The LB corps will be ready to produce with 3 starters back. This part of the defense is glad to have back Johnson and Brown on the outside along with the emerging Poling in the middle. In the secondary the CB position looks solid with guys like Layton, Bass, and Wells all having starting experience. Safety is the concern though with this unit lacking depth.
Prediction: Ohio will look to build on a 6-6 campaign with a healthy amount of talent and depth back on the roster. Ohio’s defense should be one of the better all-around units in the conference and the offense should be better with nearly every starter back. The Bobcats should be a factor in the East, but better offensive teams get the nod over Ohio as favorites in the division. Making a run at bowl eligibility should be the focus of this squad in 2015.
Projected Record: 6-6 (4-4)