EASTERN KENTUCKY COLONELS
OHIO VALLEY CONFERENCE
SEPTEMBER 2, 2006
Head Coach: Danny Hope
Record at EKU: 20 – 14 (3 years)
2005 Record: 7-4
The start of the 2006 season won't be an easy one for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats football program. Ohio Valley Conference favorite and nationally ranked Eastern Kentucky will bring their high power offense into Nippert Stadium looking to knock off the Bearcats and make a statement. While many remember the glory days of the Colonels' program under legendary head coach Roy Kidd, the new look Colonels are now coached by a former Colonels player from their glory days. The Colonels' fourth year head coach is also a student of the spread offense having coached with Joe Tiller and John L. Smith.
While this is the first meeting between Cincinnati and Eastern Kentucky, it's not the first time Hope has battled the Bearcats. As a former assistant coach at Louisville, Hope knows his team will be in for a battle when they enter Nippert Stadium.
The Colonels will bring into Nippert Stadium a very solid team on both sides of the ball. Since taking over the program, Hope has enjoyed great success bringing in and developing talent from across the country. His teams have played solid special teams and have set single-season program records on offense in completions, attempts and passing yards. The Colonels averaged 31.5 points per game last season and return OVC Offensive Player of the Year Josh Greco (quarterback) to lead the offense. The 6'1 native of Naples, Florida enjoyed a great sophomore season passing for 2,861 yards while completing 222 out 387 pass attempts and 25 touchdowns. All those numbers set program single-season records.
While the Colonels have a high powered offense, it's their gains on the defensive side of the football that have allowed for their return to a national ranking. In 2005 the Colonels led the OVC in pass defense efficiency, while finishing second in stopping the run and sacking the quarterback. While they still return some of the core unit from last years defense, they must replace OVC Defensive Player of the Year Justin Rivers this fall.