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Ohio coach Frank Solich knows a little about replacing a well-known predecessor. He took over at Nebraska after Tom Osborne retired as head coach in 1997. Osborne has since returned to Nebraska as athletic director.

Solich, Osborne’s hand-picked successor, was 58-19 with the Cornhuskers before being fired following six seasons.

“But the challenge of replacing a successful coach prior to you is daunting,” Solich said this week. “The expectations (at Penn State) are very much the same from when I took over at Nebraska … there are some things that have transpired there that obviously have complicated things more.”

Lately, things have been looking up for Solich in Athens, Ohio. The Bobcats finished 10-4 last year including a 24-23 victory over Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl _ the school’s first-ever postseason victory.

“Now it’s time,” he said, “for this group to take another step in terms of forward movement for the program.”

Ohio is so happy with Solich, they gave him a five-year extension this week to keep him with the Bobcats until 2017. Solich has 50 wins in seven seasons there.

“There is no better college football coach in the country than Frank Solich,” Ohio athletic director Jim Schaus said in a statement.

The Bobcats won’t be the typical season-opening pushover for Penn State. They return eight starters on defense, while Tyler Tettleton is one of the MAC’s top quarterbacks after setting 12 new school records last season.

The quarterback situation is settled at Penn State, as well, after two seasons of a two-QB system. Matt McGloin was tabbed the starter after the spring game, and Rob Bolden transferred to LSU.

That means McGloin had a full offseason to master the new playbook instituted by O'Brien. It is modeled after the Patriots’ high-scoring attack. And it is not easy.

“The comfort level in myself and the offense is very high right now because everybody is very comfortable with what they’ve been doing,” McGloin said. “Hopefully we can control our emotions on Saturday and play that (same way) the whole game.”


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