Neal Brown previews Ohio University

We had good work today. A lot of good energy for a Tuesday. I think we’re building some confidence after going out and playing well on Saturday, which we needed. But really good focus, really good energy. Ohio University: very solid football team; I’m impressed with them. I think they’re very well-coached; Frank Solich has done a very good job. Their defensive coordinator has been there since Solich got the job. They’ve traditionally played very, very good on defense.

“They’re not going to do a whole lot (unusual); they will blitz their linebackers, but they play base defense, mix up their coverages. They tackle really well; their guys aren’t out of position very often at all. I thought they played really, really well last Saturday night. Obviously Kent State had a very hard time rushing the ball on them. I very much know what happened the last time they rolled in here to town, so we’ll be ready to roll.”

On Stoops saying some plays Saturday made him feel relief, as they were evidence some playmakers are developing: “Yeah, well, it really happened early in fall camp. I knew we were better. I kept telling you that. I know you probably got tired of hearing it. But I knew we were better. How much better, I don’t know. I think it’s still to be determined, to be honest with you. I think UT Martin is a good football team, but we went out and performed like we needed to perform. I think a lot more of the story will be told this week. See how we do against a good football team that’s been to five bowl games in a row, I believe. But there were some moments – we threw the ball and caught the ball; that didn’t happen one time last year. We threw the ball, we caught it, we were able to get it to them in a position so that they could run after the catch. Those things were positives.”

On if anything surprised him about the new guys: “Nah. You know, and I’ve said this before: The summer rules really helped. We played a lot of young guys – a bunch at running back, receiver, even the redshirt freshmen that we played up front (and they) really benefitted from the summer. Because over the summer we had those two hours we could watch video with them and really teach them what to do. So when we got to fall camp, they already knew what to do, and they did it full speed. So that was really beneficial. We were relatively simple. So I wouldn’t say anything happened that surprised me, no.”

On if there will be a lot more wrinkles in the offense this week: “No, we’re gonna be — have you looked at our depth chart? We’re playing pups. So we’ll be pretty simple. We’ll always do things to get our guys that we think can make plays the ball, but we’re gonna try to play with good tempo and be simple.”

On Patrick Towles saying he never threw a pass longer than 7 yards, but guys made plays after they caught them: “No, no. That’s not true. He hit Javess on a deep post ball. He hit Blake Bone on a go ball. He hit Ryan Timmons on a ball up on the sideline. Now, the Demarco — the biggest one — you and I could’ve made that throw, probably. But no, he made some really good throws down the field.”

On what he honed in on when he reviewed film with Towles: “I think fundamentally there were some things he did. He was a little late on some throws that he got away with in that game that he won’t moving forward. So getting the ball out on time. There’s, like I said, a couple fundamental (things) — a little bit of some wasted movement in the pocket. We’ll get those things corrected. But all in all, I was really excited about how he went out and performed. He played relatively clean. I think I told you all after the game, the thing that I was, I guess, the most excited about or the thing that he did that I said, ‘Hey, man, I think this kid’s got a chance’ is he had a bad first drive second half, came back and really played well after that. He played, I think, two series after that, and we got touchdowns.”

On not throwing to running backs and if that was by design or a lack of need to check down to those: “I don’t know. I did recognize that. I definitely did recognize that. I think you’ll see that. That’ll be a rarity.”

On how the offensive line played: “I thought the redshirt freshmen did a nice job. That’s the thing that stuck out to me. Ramsey Meyers played really physical. Kyle Meadows went in there, and I think he had one MA (missed assignment) the whole game, which was really good. I thought he played physical. I thought he did a nice job in pass protection. He had to block 40 one-on-one a couple a couple times. That kid was a good player. Nick Haynes came in and did a nice job. Obviously (Jon) Toth has got the award. He played his best game since he’s been here. The rest of those guys, I thought were solid.”

On having two drives over three minutes and if they’ve hit the tempo he wants: “I don’t know. That was a weird game. That was a really weird game. We hit some big plays. We didn’t have very many plays. I don’t think it was because our tempo was bad. It was just weird. We’ll take that. Anytime the defense wants to return a touchdown 90 yards, we’ll take that and hang out over on the sidelines for awhile. But, it was a weird game. I think our tempo is better. I thought we got up and were ready to play. Obviously once we got the big lead we didn’t really push it a whole lot. I think we’ve got to prepare — that’s what we worked on today — we’ve got to prepare to play this bunch for four quarters.”

On status of Braylon Heard and Javess Blue: “Braylon and Javess, neither one of them practiced today. We’re optimistic. We’ll see.”

On what he liked about Demarco Robinson’s game: “He played super hard. I think Coach Stoops talked about it yesterday. He played really, really hard. We targeted him seven times. He maybe had a chance to catch one other ball, but just bad things happened, things that weren’t under his control. We made a mistake on protection one time. They covered him one time. But we tried to get him the ball seven times, and he caught one ball. The one ball he caught, he made a huge play on it, as good as we’ve made after the catch around here since I’ve been here. But I was pleased. I thought he played really hard. That’s the thing: he played unselfish and really hard.”

On not seeing many miscommunications between Towles and young receivers and if that was another benefit of those summer coaching sessions: “I think summer. I think also us being cognizant of that too and being relatively simple. The other thing too is we only had one — maybe it was a drop, maybe it wasn’t. I thought we caught the ball well. That’s something we’ve got to continue to do moving forward.”

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at
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