Convos By The Convo is a series featuring exclusive interviews with various student-athletes and coaches of Ohio University.
Before his long football career as a player and coach at Nebraska and Ohio, Frank Solich grew up in Cleveland and was an All-American at Holy Name High School. This season, “Frank The Tank,” as the Marching 110 calls him, has the Bobcats off to a 2-0 start and hopes are high for the Green & White.
CB: You’ve been in the game as a player or coach for over 50 years. What would you consider the proudest moments in your career?
FS: I’m not very good at hanging on to moments. As a coach, getting to the MAC Championship game in our second year at Ohio was special. Getting to three national championships under Tom Osborne, being a head coach in a national title game – those are defining moments.
CB: Is there a certain play or certain games as a player that stand out when you think about it all?
FS: As far as a game, my junior year, we played Colorado in Boulder. It was a very physical football game. I didn’t do anything exceptional, but I kept getting the ball in running situations. Every yard was earned. It wasn’t a deal where I got a ton of yards. It was one yard at a time, man. That was a great football game, good ending, but I respected them and respected our ball club in terms of how that game was played. It sticks out in my mind. (EDITORS NOTE: Solich is referring to 21-3 victory on October 24th, 1964.)
CB: What impact have Walter Fieldhouse and the plans for the Sook Center had on recruiting?
FS: I think it’s huge in terms of what we’ve been able to do. I think our last two recruiting classes have maybe been as good as any we’ve had here. Certainly having the indoor facility helps with recruiting. Any improvement we can make is important because everyone around us. If you look at the MAC in general, there’re a lot improvements going on. Obviously, we want to keep pace. Do we have weak spots? Are there areas where a player will say this isn’t what I’m looking for? If you can’t continue to show that your program is growing, you can have problems. If players perceive it to be a stagnant program, we’re not going to attract quality.
CB: You say you want to keep pace, so where would you rate Ohio’s facilities compared to the competition?
FS: I don’t really mean keeping up. We’re not behind, but I don’t think you have to have the best facilities in the MAC to recruit well. You have to have a certain level of facilities, and we have that. So we’re able to recruit the quality of player that we want to recruit. There are schools that are investing a great deal of money into their athletic departments. My interest is in the players that we have in our system and making sure that what they have is sufficient to help them get where they need to be, on and off the football field.
CB: Does it benefit your program to see three Ohio Bobcats on NFL rosters this season and many more getting tryouts or on practice squads?
FS: It shows our guys that players are coming from our system and making it to the NFL. If you have the talent, there’s a chance that maybe it can happen for you. Obviously, a lot of things have to line up for it to work, but guys have done it, There’s a track record that you can show guys in the system as well as recruits.
CB: Would you consider your current QB situation to be murky at this point?
FS: It’s pretty clear where it’s at to me. What we’re really looking for is consistency. Not just a guy that can show flashes of being great. We need a guy that takes care of the ball, makes good decisions, gets the ball where it’s supposed to be and has leadership abilities, All those things are qualities that you have to show to be a great quarterback.
CB: Do you think there’s any hostility between Derrius and J.D.?
FS: I don’t think there’s hostility, I think there’s competitiveness. They both want to be the guy and they both feel like they are the guy. Obviously that comes out, and that’s okay.