Monarchs Wrap Up Week One Of Spring Practice
By ODU Athletics
March 21, 2009
Norfolk, Va. – The ODU football team wrapped up its first week of spring drills on Saturday afternoon with a spirited practice at the Powhatan Sports Complex. Despite players being in just helmets and shoulder pads, the session was very physical and set the stage for Monday’s practice which will be the first in full gear. The Monarchs will practice on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week and hold a public scrimmage Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Powhatan Stadium. Following Saturday’s practice we caught up with Coach Bobby Wilder to get his take on week one of spring practice.
Coach Wilder On The Competition Through The First Three Practices
"The level of intensity has picked up tremendously since the fall. The fact that we’re closer to game time, they can see it now, it’s more real to them and that’s motivating them. We’ve gotten it to the point now where the competition has increased. The fact we brought in the junior college players and the prep school guys the competition at every position has increased and through the first three practices you can see the intensity level, guys are really challenging each other."
Coach Wilder On The Monarch Offense
"The biggest thing I’m excited about offensively is the improvements that the players who were here last fall have made. The improvements they made in the weight room they’ve brought it out here on the field and their intensity level is up. I’m proud of what they’ve done improvement wise. You add the five linemen that we brought in and that immediately makes us better along the offensive line. Adding the quarterback has created more competiton at that position. Those four guys are now competing where as in the fall there were three guys who were trying to learn the system and adding a fourth guy with college playing experience has really picked up the level. We’ve seen definite improvement in the timing of what we’re doing."
Coach Wilder On The JUCO Transfers Listed On The First Team Depth Chart
"Those junior college players who have played two years have a leg up on our younger players right now and it will help the development of our young players. Those veteran guys are doing a great job of helping our young players to develop as well. There’s no question that guys we have in the starting lineup right now deserve to be there. They are good football players and you can see that through the first three practices."
Coach Wilder On The Offseason Conditioning
"Out of the 69 guys that went through our offseason program 58 of 69 guys made significant gains which is not normal. And the reason I say it’s not normal is because normally when you have a team and you’ve got some veteran players you don’t see huge jumps, you see continual gains. In 58 of 69 guys we saw huge jumps in the core lifts, their running and their conditioning which we hoped to see because they were all so young. Matt Carrillo has definitely gotten stronger there’s no question about that. The strongest guys we have on the team overall were the transfers we brought in which they should be. But we had some guys like James Edwards who made some tremendous strides in the weight room. He’s one of our strongest players right now pound for pound. There are a number of others who also did well, but like I said the big number is 58 of 69 guys showed significant improvement."
Coach Wilder On The Monarch Defense
"The biggest change that we’ve seen thus far on defense is by adding those veteran players. That has made us faster and more intelligent on defense, guys are understanding the system. I’m really proud of the guys who went through the entire fall, went through the entire offseason, I mean you look at the defensive linemen we brought in, those guys have worked their tails off and they’ve made big gains in the weight room and you can see it through the first three days out here. I can see it in Chris Burnette, Erik Saylor Jeff Crawford. Those guys have made improvements and when you add Ed McClam to the mix, that’s a guy who looks the part and can get off the ball. He’s quick and that raises the level of the offensive versus defensive line 1-on-1 drills. And then the two guys we added inside at linebacker. Mateus Porter, who is right now our most physically fit player on the team, He’s pound for pound one of the strongest guys on the team and one of our quickest players. Then you have J.J. Williams and adding those two guys at linebacker has raised the bar at that position. I keep going back to that word competition, but it’s creating competition now within different groups. So that’s been our biggest jump defensively by adding those three transfers coming in and by what the guys did coming back since last fall, we’ve made a lot of gains."
Coach Wilder On The Monarch Special Teams
"Dustin Phillips has come in and done exactly what we brought him here to do, he gets that ball back quickly. Steven Schesventer has improved, he’s gotten stronger and he’s gotten quicker because he had all offseason to work on it, so we’re going to have competition at that long snapper spot. Again I go back to that word competition. In the fall we didn’t have a lot of competition, but now all of a sudden we have competition at long snapper and at defensive line and linebacker and quarterback and all of these positions we supplemented and when we get these other 20-25 guys that we bring in this summer, it’ll raise the bar even higher. Schesventer has picked his game up, Phillips has been excellent, Drew Hareza has made improvements and you can see it with his leg strength, he’s hitting the ball very well right now. Plisco has gotten stronger and we’re seeing it in his improvement as well."