#10 Old Dominion FCS Football 2012 Preview

George Hammond

Old Dominion Monarchs

Overall Rank: #10
#3 CAA
Old Dominion FCS Football 2012 Team Preview
Old Dominion Team Page


It’s been a whirlwind summer for Old Dominion University as it announced plans to join Conference USA for the 2015 season. In the meantime, the Monarchs are focused on this year and the team’s adopted theme of “One Team, One Year, One Shot.” Because of the pending move, ODU isn’t eligible for the Colonial Athletic Association crown, but it is eligible to garner one of the 10 at-large spots in the FCS playoffs. The timeline for its move to Conference USA is this: 2013 — transitional FCS team; 2014 — independent at FBS level; 2015 — full member of Conference USA. ODU finished 10-3 last year and finished second in the league to Towson. The Monarchs advanced a round in the playoffs in just their third year of competition and their first year as a competing member in what many consider the best FCS conference in the nation.

2011 Record: (10-3, 6-2)
2011 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Bobby Wilder (27-8 at ODU, 27-8 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Brian Scott
Acting Defensive Coordinator: Bill Dee

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Angus Harper, RB, 633 yards
Passing: Taylor Heinicke, QB, 2,385 yards
Receiving: Nick Mayers, WR, 698 yards
Tackles: Craig Wilkins, LB, 93 tackles
Sacks: Chris Burnette, DT, 3.5, Craig Wilkins, LB, 3.5
Interceptions: Eriq Lewis, CB, 5

Other Key Returnees: RB Colby Goodwyn, WR Reid Evans, WR Antonio Vaughn, P Jonathan Pilsco, OL David Born, OL Robbie Duncan, RB Tyree Lee, LB Alex Arain

Key Losses: DT Ronnie Cameron, DE Eddie McClam, DE Chad King, OT Ryan Jensen, C Jeremy Hensley, WR Prentice Gill, LB J.J. Williams, QB Thomas DeMarco

The offensive numbers are scary. This is a team that finished in the top three in most major CAA offensive categories, and the majority of those players return. Heading the unit is sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke. Taking over in the second half of the October 1st game against UMass, Heinicke went on to complete 211 of 307 passes with one interception (and that was on a Hail Mary pass). ODU’s receiving corps is solid, too, with the return of Nick Mayers (62 catches), a first-team all CAA performer in 2011. Reid Evans and Larry Pinkard should complement Mayers while the rushing chores are in the capable hands of Angus Harper, Colby Goodwyn and Tyree Lee. Plus, the Monarchs boast one of the best punters in the league in Jonathan Plisco. A preseason All-American, Plisco led the CAA and ranked second in the nation with an average of 46.2 yards per punt.

Coach Bobby Wilder made no secret of the fact in the spring that he wanted to improve the team’s overall defense. The Monarchs were 81st in the nation last year in total defense and yielded 27.77 points a game. They were ninth in the CAA in total defense, and that’s with a talented defensive front that included Ronnie Cameron, Chad King and Eddie McClam. Wilder made an offseason change at defensive coordinator where he made Bill Dee (formerly offensive line coach) the coordinator. Wilder thought ODU was a poor tackling team in 2011 so he’s tweaked a few positions — most noticeably moving outside linebacker Craig Wilkins to middle linebacker.

The Bottom Line:
There’s excitement and much anticipation in Norfolk, Va., and rightfully so. Wilder has done an outstanding job in three short seasons, and there’s no reason to think 2012 won’t be any different. It’s a long way off, but mark November 17th on your calendar. That’s the regular-season finale at James Madison (7 p.m. kickoff), and while a CAA title won’t be on the line because of ODU’s ineligibility, national rankings and possibly at an-large berth could be. The overall schedule appears manageable with the toughest stretch perhaps coming in late October when ODU travels to Towson, then hosts Delaware. This team is talented, deep and experienced. That’s a good combination to have.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2011 Team Stats
Rushing Offense: 168.15 (38th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 270.92 (18, 2)
Total Offense: 439.08 (10, 1)
Scoring Offense: 36.69 (5, 1)
Rushing Defense: 143.69 (43, 3)
Pass Defense: 242.38 (104, 10)
Total Defense: 386.08 (81, 9)
Scoring Defense: 27.77 (72, 5)
Turnover Margin: 1.00 (12, 1)
Sacks: 2.77 (16, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.62 (39, 5T)

Madness 2012 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#51 Andrew Everett
#132 Cal Cook
#139 Rashawn Proctor
#150 Andrew Maddox
#181 Anderson Miller