Ohio coach Frank Solich said on the MAC conference call Monday that he will play quarterbacks Phil Bates and Boo Jacksonin the season opener Saturday against Wofford. Though he has told the players who will start, he said he did not want to make the announcement public because he wanted to keep his opponent guessing.
Solich said both quarterbacks give his team a different look, making it harder for the opposition to game plan.
"Phil’s by far the best rusher we’ve got. Boo, when he’s scrambling, has a unique way of finding guys in the open field," Solich said. "They bring something a little different to the table, so it probably makes sense for us not to announce that to allow preparation for a specific type of quarterback. Right now one will start, another will come in at some point during the game, and it will be an evaluation process throughout the early part of the season. If we feel like there’s a reason to play two guys, we’ll work it that way."
Bates, at 6-foot-2 and 224 pounds, is an Iowa State transfer and hasn't played in a game since 2008. Jackson, 6-1 and 202 pounds, took a medical redshirt last season because of a shoulder injury. He started 10 games for Ohio in 2008, passing for 2,355 yards -- the second-highest single-season total in school history.
Solich said Jackson was still working through the shoulder injury during fall camp and got tired at times. He said both players understand they will play and everyone was on the same page.
But eventually, Solich would like to settle on a starter.
"We could go the season playing two if it calls for it -- again that’s not what I’m interested in doing," Solich said. "I would like one guy to take it and go, but both guys have ability and there could be a time and place for both of them in a game to use that ability. It would be extremely difficult to prepare for the two quarterbacks with the same game plan. They shine at different things, and yet theyr’e good at the other things. We feel maybe we can have the best of both worlds there. I don’t want to project what’s going to happen. We’ll start it off, see how they play and make decisions based off of that."