#98 Old Dominion 2018 Football Preview

Old Dominion Monarchs
Overall Rank: #98
#9 Conference USA
 Old Dominion Logo
Despite only restarting their football program recently, Old Dominion has quickly raised their expectations. That is why last year’s 5-7 record was disappointing after winning a bowl game the previous season. The Monarchs certainly finished strong last season, winning three of the last four, and bring back more than enough talent to repeat their bowl success of 2016.
2017 Record: 5-7, 3-5
2017 Bowl: None
Coach: Bobby Wilder (72-37 at ODU, 72-37 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Brian Scott
Defensive Coordinator: Rich Nagy
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jeremy Cox, RB, 621 yards
Passing: Steven Williams, QB, 1,528 yards
Receiving: Isaiah Harper, WR, 462 yards
Tackles: Marvin Branch, LB, 96
Sacks: Oshane Ximines, DE, 8.5
Interceptions: Sean Carter, DB, 3
Other Key Returnees: WR Travis Fulgham, WR Darrell Brown, OL Isaac Weaver, LB Jordan Young, DT Miles Fox, CB Joe Joe Headen
Key Losses: RB Ray Lawry, WR Melvin Vaughn, DL Bunmi Rotimi, DB Brandon Addison
Steven Williams took over the starting job midway through his freshman campaign. On the year, the 6-4 signal caller threw for 1,528 yards and six touchdowns. He will need to boost his 55.9 completion percentage and reduce his 11 interceptions, but that experience will do him well heading into 2018. The return on wide receiver Jonathan Duhart, who missed most of 2017 with an injury, will help bolster the passing game. Isaiah Harper is also back after leading the team with 39 catches for 462 yards. Travis Fulgham is a solid deep threat and averaged over 13 yards per catch in 2017. Ray Lawry is gone after rushing for 742 yards, but Jeremy Cox rushed for 642 yards and is poised for a big senior season.
Old Dominion’s defense was disappointing last season, but there are high hopes for drastic improvement thanks to the return of plenty of talent up front. Oshane Ximines led the team with 8.5 sacks and fellow senior Daniel Appouh is ready to step into a full-time starting job on the other end. The interior of the line is just as experienced with Miles Fox and Pat Toal. This is a group that will get plenty of pressure on the opposing quarterback and that bodes well for the rest of the defense. Linebackers Marvin Branch and Jordan Young combined for 181 tackles in 2017 and will again be the team’s main run stuffers. And the Monarchs will need the experience in the front six in order to cover for the inexperience in the back five. Safeties Sean Carter, Justice Davila and Justin Noye are all experienced seniors who will need to step up their production. At cornerback Jamez Brickhouse and Joe Joe Headen earned at least a few starts in 2017.
The Bottom Line:
This group has a lot of potential. If Williams can be consistent under center, the offense could make big strides. The defense has bigger holes to fill, but there is experience in the secondary and if that unit can be productive, the defense will be quite good. If the pieces come together, Old Dominion could find themselves towards the top of the Conference USA’s East Division.
Projected Bowl: None
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 163.9 (66th in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 168.4 (111, 11)
Total Offense: 332.2 (113, 11)
Scoring Offense: 20.7 (113, 11)
Rushing Defense: 204.2 (104, 12)
Pass Defense: 223.5 (65, 9)
Total Defense: 427.7 (93, 12)
Scoring Defense: 31.7 (92, 10)
Turnover Margin: -0.33 (93, 7)
Sacks: 2.58 (27, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.67 (41, 4)