August 22, 2012
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Aug. 22, 2012

Preseason Practice Update #16:

NORFOLK, Va. -- The Football Monarchs went about 70-80 plays on Wednesday night in their final preseason scrimmage prior to the 2012 opener against Duquesne. While many of the familiar names saw limited action, it was another chance for the freshmen, redshirt freshmen, and others to impress the coaching staff.

"The emphasis was really on that part of the roster from 25-65, right in that area," said head coach Bobby Wilder. "We've got a pretty good sense of who the top roughly 24 players are going into next Saturday night. Those players got about 45-50 snaps, which was really good for them, particularly for the freshmen and redshirt freshman to get a lot of work in."

In addition to the speed and pace of the scrimmage, Wilder also praised the defense.

"I thought the defense was really good for the most part. They had a stretch of about plays where it seemed like (Taylor) Heinicke hit four or five touchdown passes, but other than that, solid performance. Good pressure up front and a number of sacks" he said particularly noting a number of veterans including linebacker Craig Wilkins linemen Chris Burnette, and Erik Saylor, along with corner T.J. Cowart.

On offense, Wilder pointed out the play of running backs Colby Goodwyn and Tyree Lee and the "exceptional job" by the wideouts with Antonio Vaughan, Blair Roberts, Marquel Thomas, Larry Pinkard, and tight end Mitch Castleberry all getting turns in the end zone.

While the staff got a good sense of where the Monarchs are stacking up, it'll be back to the videotape for some analysis before any decisions are made.

The last three practices before the Monarchs break camp will be focused not only Duquesne, but also situational football.

"We've got to get to some of the exotic situations that you rarely see where you might have to punt after a safety or receive a punt after a safety, last play of the game, the hail mary play...we'll spend a lot of time practicing fourth and 29, which we remember from last year," Wilder said with a smile in reference to last season's Towson game.

There was one particular play that got some "oooh's" and "aahhh's" out of a solid crowd on hand at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

"Since this was our first open scrimmage for the public, I told coach (Brian) Scott to go ahead and throw in the double reverse pass," laughed Wilder. "Let's break it out and have a little fun with it, which he did."

With the offense backed up towards the student section at the seven-yard line the ball went from Colby Goodwyn to Nick Mayers to Antonio Vaughan who threw it to Larry Pinkard for a touchdown.

"The ball was in the end zone for a couple of those, which normally in a game I might not feel good about," Wilder wants to warn fans.

"It's something that we've done, we do those specialty plays," he continued bringing up the reverse pass touchdown against William & Mary. "Those are things we embrace doing and like to do and wanted the 12th Monarchs to enjoy it."

Dropping by to talk to the Monarchs was former tight end James Edwards. Edwards was one of a 107 ODU students that tried out for the team in the very first walk-on try out in the spring of 2008 as ODU brought back football after a 69-year absence. He would go on to graduate in December of 2010 with a degree in criminal justice and is currently a law enforcement officer in Virginia Beach.

The Monarchs have three more preseason practices before school starts on Monday and a normal game week resumes for the next 12 weeks. The team will be in uppers Thursday afternoon and early Friday and Saturday.