August 10, 2010
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Aug. 10, 2010

NORFOLK, Va. -- After wrapping up their first practice on Monday at 5 p.m., the Football Monarchs were back on the turf on Tuesday at 9 a.m. for practice number two.

Tuesday's practice saw the installation of the punt team with Jonathan Plisco (Newport News, Va.), Marcus Lee (Wilmington, N.C.) and newcomer Orion Hall (Norfolk, Va.) all getting into the mix.

Plisco, one of two Monarchs with All-American honors a season ago, led the nation last year averaging 44.8 yards per punt. Lee begins his second season on the squad, while Hall walked-on to the squad just prior to camp. A product of nearby Maury High School, Hall averaged 45 yards per punt, including on 72-yarder his senior year. He was an Associated Press Group AAA First Team All-State, three-time First Team All-Eastern District and two-time All-Tidewater selection.

During the team drives, newcomer Rashad Manley (Hampton, Va.) made his first appearance of the preseason along with the other three Monarch signal callers.

Thomas DeMarco's (Palm Desert, Calif.) first play of practice saw him connect with Nick Mayers (Va. Beach, Va.) for a 40-yard reception. Later in practice, the defense broke the line sending DeMarco into a scramble. Despite the pressure, ODU's returning QB zigged and zagged his way to a first down.

Meanwhile Dominique Blackman's (Los Angeles, Calif.) first throw saw him hit former Los Angeles Harbor College teammate Prentice Gill (Los Angeles, Calif.) with Gill tearing downfield after the catch. Gill totaled 651 yards on 48 catches last year for his junior college, including five touchdowns. Each of his catches saw him average 13.6 yards and collect an average of 59.2 yards per game.

Defensively, linebacker Craig Wilkins (Washington, D.C.) managed a take-away, cornerback T.J. Cowart (Va. Beach, Va.) , and fellow cornerback Marquis Johnson (Newport News, Va.) picked off a pass for an interception.

The Monarchs went to go rest following today's two-hour drills. Newcomers will have orientation in the weight room with strength and conditioning coaches' Ryan Martin and Joe Makovec. Later in the day, the Monarchs will meet with their position coaches and review video from the first two days of practice.


Sophomore cornerback Markwell Wilkins (Hampton, Va.) will miss the 2010 season will a torn ACL suffered while working out with Phoebus teammate Reid Evans last week. "You feel awful for the kid," said Wilder. "If there is a silver lining, he does have a redshirt year available." Last season, Wilkins appeared in all 11 games making 28 tackles, including 21 solo stops.

Yesterday, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was on campus for a town hall meeting and the governor's helicopter passed overhead at practice. Today, Old Dominion President John Broderick stopped by the Monarchs' drills.

Who will and won't redshirt this year? "I tell our guys not to come in thinking that you are redshirting," said Wilder. "Come in thinking you are going to play."

Yesterday, head coach Bobby Wilder praised the improvement of his squad's communication, which is evident among many of the returning Monarchs. "What's great is that you see our veterans coaching up either the new guys or guys new to their position," he noted.

You can another to the roster...but this time the addition is to the coaching staff. Tuesday saw the addition of Corey Hetherman to the staff as a defensive assistant working closely with the ODU linebackers. Read about the newest assistant by clicking here.

Preparations for tomorrow's media day are underway with the arrival of Big Screen Network Productions to campus. BSN is an award-winning production company that has produced, developed, and directed in-stadium shows for nearly every major event in sports including the Olympics, NFL, and NCAA Championships. The crew was filming around campus earlier today and will be shooting the Monarchs on media day for the intro video for the 2010 season. Click here to see the intro video BSN produced for the 2009 season.

The 2010 Monarchs meet the media tomorrow. Make sure you are following @ODUFootball on twitter and Old Dominion Athletics on Facebook for photos, videos, and media links from media day.