Back for 2020?

Ohio head coach Frank Solich (center) prowls the sideline during the Bobcats’ 24-21 loss to Miami inside Peden Stadium on Nov. 6, 2019. On Friday, Solich confirmed that talks about a contract extension with Ohio are underway. Solich’s current contract is set to expire in January.

Ohio University head football coach Frank Solich indicated Friday that he’s not planning on going anywhere.

Solich, now in his 15th season with the Bobcats, confirmed that he and Ohio are “discussing” a contract extension that would keep him in place as OU’s head coach.

“Yeah, there’s been discussions,” Solich said during his weekly press conference inside Peden Stadium.

Solich declined to mention any specifics, however.

“No. That’ll eventually come out. You can go obviously from there,” he said.

Solich has a record of 110-81 in his 15 years at Ohio. He ranks second in program history in coaching wins behind Don Peden (1924-46, 121), and Solich is currently tied with Herb Deromedi (CMU, 1978-93) for the most wins by a MAC coach.

If Ohio and Solich can agree to another extension, it will his eighth contract amendment at OU. Solich’s seventh extension was signed on June 27, 2018 — three days before his contract was to expire — and extended his contract through Jan. 3, 2020.

With that due date approaching, Solich was asked about his contract status on Friday.

A couple of minutes following the conclusion of the press conference, Solich returned to the scene to make a follow up point about the status of his on-going discussions with Ohio.

“I might have left that off a little abrupt,” Solich said. “I just want to make sure that everyone knows I feel good about where the discussions are going.”

Solich, now 75, is the oldest Football Bowl Subdivision coach in the country. He owns a career record of 168-100, and his 168 wins is fourth among all FBS coaches behind Alabama’s Nick Saban (240), North Carolina’s Mack Brown (231) and TCU’s Gary Patterson (171).

Although neither Solich nor Ohio has issued a release for any of his last five contract amendments, the coach may have reason to want news of a pending extension to be known publicly. The early signing day for FBS football recruits is Dec. 18, 2019, or just a month away.

Making plans

Ohio (4-6, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) was officially eliminated from contention in the MAC East Division on Wednesday, when Miami thumped Bowling Green 44-3.

The Bobcats have two regular-season games remaining, and will need to win both in order to become bowl eligible. Solich, however, said there have not been any bowl discussions up to this point.

Ohio’s sole focus now, he said, is trying to win the next two Tuesdays — at BG and then at Akron.

“That’s all we can do at this point is work at winning those two,” Solich said. “There’s absolutely been no discussion. I haven’t discussed it with them. They haven’t, to my knowledge, been discussing it with any coaches.”

Ohio knows it has two, perhaps three, games left in the season. With the NCAA redshirt rule allowing player to participate in up to four games and still maintain a year of eligibility, it’s possible OU could work in some freshmen who have not seen the field.

Solich said it was possible.

“We’re obviously taking a look at that. There’s some guys,” he said. “Interior defensive line, for instance Jeremiah Burton is a guy we’re trying to find ways to get him in the game.

“It’s not been easy because everything has come down to the stretch. We’re still looking for opportunities for him to play.”

Other spots to keep an eye on in the final two games would be linebacker, and the offensive line. OU has a handful of players across the two position groups who could benefit from late-season playing time moving forward should the game situations allow or dictate it.

Honor for Conner

Fourth-year junior OLB Dylan Conner represented Ohio on the 2019 CoSIDA Academic All-District 5 Division I Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), the organization announced last week.

Conner, a biological sciences major, has a career-high 66 tackles this season and ranks second on the roster. Conner has started all 10 games at strong side linebacker for OU, and has career-highs of 3.0 tackles for loss and half a sack.

Time change for the finale

Ohio’s regular-season finale, on Nov. 26 at Akron (0-10), will now kickoff at 6 p.m. from InfoCision Stadium.

The game was originally set for a 7 p.m. start, and the contest will be broadcast live on ESPN+.

That game will be the second of two in a row on the road to end the regular season for the Bobcats. Ohio will travel to Bowling Green (3-7) on Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. start against the Falcons in a game that will air live on ESPNU.

Email at jarkley@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @JasonAmessenger

Load comments