Frank Solich, the Nebraska head coach who was fired after decades of service to his alma mater by a brash young AD, is back. And the new head coach of the Ohio University Bobcats has the town of Athens, OH abuzz. There’s real excitement in the air, and with only two winning seasons since 1982, the Bobcats haven’t had much to cheer about, gridiron wise.
Billboards around town declare, “Got Frank!”â€”an emphatic play on the dairy question. Solich is probaby embarrased by the media coverage, but it must feel good. The guy went 9-3 in his final season and had the Huskers in the Rose Bowl national championship game a few years before, and he gets tossed out. Things have changed in Lincoln in more ways than one. The program has a glossy feel now, a certain smugness. Whatever it is, it feels foreign. It’s not Nebraska.
Right now, I’m watching Solich’s team on ESPN2, and they’re tearing into Pitt. The players believe and the fans believe and that type of positive thinking can work wonders. Pitt’s down 10-7 at the half.
Solich grew up in Cleveland and spent a lot of time recruiting Ohio players while coaching in Lincoln. My guess is he’ll do even better getting these players to come to this classic college town to play in front of 24,000 psyched fans. Yes, it’s an intimate setting. But that’s what I’d want as a player. The chance to learn first-hand from a coach who helped Eric Crouch and Mike Rozier win the Heisman Trophy.