Coach Frank Solich addressed the media Monday and discussed how the Bobcats will tackle their first game of the season Saturday against Rhode Island.
— The Bobcats will likely use multiple running backs against the Rams even though Julian Ross, who missed spring camp and a limited-participant in fall camp with an injury, will likely play. Ross is a strong candidate to assume the starting running back role at some point this season, but Solich said offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tim Albin will use the first nonconference game to evaluate the running back depth.
“There’s very little game experience in the (running backs) room,“ Solich said. “Julian, him being able to come back and hopefully stay healthy will be a key. He’s one of the fastest, if not the fastest players on our team. He has a chance to be a breakaway threat kind of running back.”
— Solich expects to give snaps to inexperienced players at other positions, too. The Bobcats have a lack of experienced wide receivers and interior defensive linemen, and Solich wants to see which players could be capable of stepping into key roles.
“There’s young guys that we want to see what they’re all about. Some of them have been in the system and have yet to get playing time to where they’ve proven themselves. We have to find out a little more about those guys.”
— Solich is still evaluating the backup quarterback situation, but Joe Mischler appears to be the frontrunner. Mischler redshirted last season and should benefit from an additional season with the team, and Kurtis Rourke is a true freshman who showcased a strong arm in fall camp.
“We’re still practicing and evaluating,“ Solich said. “Both of them have great potential in that regard. They are two guys that have an ability and are fighting for the position right now.”
— Solich spoke highly of Rhode Island head coach Jim Fleming. The Rams improved to a 6-5 record last season after winning just three games in 2017, and Solich believes their football program has made substantial improvements under Fleming.
“He’s got a good staff put together,“ Solich said. “There’s a lot of reasons to not take them lightly.”