SPRING PRACTICE UPDATE: Installing More of the Package

April 02, 2012
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

April 2, 2012

MONARCH MEDIA: Practice #5 Update:

After practicing in full pads on Saturday, the coaching staff was concerned with what the energy level of the Football Monarchs would be on Monday morning, but the team managed to get in a solid set of 18 five-minute period drills. The defense will be installing more of the package including blitz and man coverage.

Aquante Thorton and Darrius Jennings, a pair of defensive backs that redshirted in the fall, moved to wideout in Monday's drills. Aaron Evans was moved to wide receiver at the start of spring drills with Reid Evans out for the spring and Marquel Thomas and Chris Lovitt nursing injuries.

While the offensive line returns a host of experienced players, one of the biggest positions the Monarchs will have to fill will be at center with the graduation of Jeremy Hensley, who was featured at the position for much of the team's three-year history. Josh Mann, Brandon Carr, and Wes Moulton have all been taking turns taking the snaps giving the Monarchs perhaps the most depth its had at the position in the four years of the program..

"Josh has shown tremendous improvement," said Wilder on filling the position noting how the rising sophomore rebounded from an average practice on Saturday, for a very focused and physical practice on Monday.

Another position the Monarchs have graduated is at holder on special teams. That role was filled by Thomas DeMarco the last three seasons, who even while nursing a high ankle sprain, held the ball for kicker Jarod Brown to collect 101 points on field goals and extra points last year and even allowed the team to run offensive plays out of the PAT/Field Goal Unit.

"What we're trying to do is find someone dynamic at that position," said Wilder.

Back-up quarterback Nate Ong had been slated at the position, but a recent finger on his throwing hand has set him back a bit and has forced the coaching staff to look at other possible options including Nick Mayers, Aaron Evans, and Antonio Vaughan.

"The similarity with all three of those players is they have been quarterbacks at some point in their careers. They can all run the wildcat for us," noted Wilder, "with the goal being we want to have the ability to run offensive plays when we are lining up for a PAT or a field goal."

With Nate Ong sidelined and Taylor Heinicke and Tyler Clark getting a majority of the reps in practice, the coaching staff had Antonio Vaughan working out of the wildcat package late in practice.

"He's now officially 2-for-2 on touchdown passes," Wilder joked referring to this morning's pass to Nick Mayers in the end zone on a corner route and Vaughan's 27-yard pass to Reid Evans in the third quarter of ODU's 35-31 win at William & Mary.

Vaughan was a dual-threat quarterback coming out of Hertford County High School where he completed 43 of 69 passes for 857 yards and 14 scores as signal caller.

"That's one more dynamic in our offense that a defense has to prepare for,"

Congrats to William LaBelle of Suffolk, Virginia and Karen Ward of Virginia Beach who are the first two winners in the 15 Days of Prizes promotion for renewing season tickets. William won an autographed game football, while Karen was the winner of two pre-game sideline passes to an upcoming home game.

There's still time for you to renew your season tickets and win more great prizes through April 15th. Click here for more information on how you can win.

Football Monarchs hit the field for practice number five on Wednesday morning.