Improved talent excites Grobe

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 4, 2000

Jim Grobe has never seen anything like this.

Friday, August 04, 2000

Jim Grobe has never seen anything like this.

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Oh, Grobe has been to the Ohio University Southern Campus. In fact, this was his sixth trip, matching the number of seasons Grobe has been the Ohio Bobcats head football coach.

But the OUSC campus isn’t what has Grobe a little excited with guarded optimism. It’s his team.

"This is going to be our most talented team since I’ve been here," Grobe said during Thursday’s annual Kickoff Classic on the OUSC campus.

"We’ve never started a season with this much talent, but we’re still young and we’re not very deep. Finding a third tackle and a third guard is our biggest challenge. And we’ve got some defensive holes to fill."

The Bobcats youth was never more apparent than last season as they posted a 4-7 record.

"We were up and down all year, but that’s because we were so young. We’ve got some veterans back for the next couple of years. Even though they’re experienced, they’re still young," Grobe said.

Grobe came to Ohio from the Air Force Academy where the offense was the wishbone. The Bobcats have employed the same system, but the passing game has been weak in the past.

That may be about to change.

Quarterback Dontrell Jackson was the only true-freshman starting in Division I last season. He completed only 44 percent of his passes last season.

But Grobe is quick to point out his ability as a runner and thrower. He said Jackson will be an improved product this fall.

"He has all the characteristics a coach looks for. You can’t find a better kid characteristic-wise. He does everything drawn up by a coach," Grobe said.

Adding to the passing game will be a new, talented corps of receivers led by Ironton’s James Taylor who is considered the top deep threat.

"James Taylor is a worker. He’s one of the best workers we’ve had around here. He’s one of those guys who’s going to help us throw the football," Grobe said.

A native of Huntington and former Marshall assistant, Grobe is very much aware of Marshall and its capabilities.

"I think the marquee players in the league (Mid-American Conference) will be defensive players. I think Marshall has two good players back (Maurice Hines and Daninelle Derricott)."