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Spring Update - Practice No. 13 - Model Program

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: April 21, 2010
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April 21, 2010

NORFOLK, Va. -- The ODU football team had its last practice of the spring session at the Powhattan Sports Complex on Wednesday. The Monarchs will have a walk-through on Friday at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium prior to Saturday's spring game at 1:00 p.m. at the stadium.

The Monarchs spent time on the "coming out drill", which pits the offense down at their own one yard line. Three out of the four sets where the defense made the offense punt out of the endzone.

"That's phenomenal for 75 percent for our defense in that situation," mentioned head coach Bobby Wilder. "What that now means is that we've now flipped the field. We force a punt, so even with a great punt, we're gonna catch it at around the 50 and probably return it to around the 40. So now we've got the field position back."

"The goal on offense is of course to score," he continued, "but to also get at least two first downs. That will flip the field back."

In the final set run in the drill, the No. 2 offense managed to push up to the 25 yard line with Dominique Blackman (Los Angles, Calif.) connecting with Jamal Johnson. However, the No. 2 defense immediately punched back. The next play produced a sack pushing the offense back 10 yards and then linebacker Mychael McJunkins (Kansas City, Kan.) changed field possession with an interception.

"That was great learning situation for the kids because two things happened within one situation," noted Wilder. "The offense got the field flipped, but then the defense got it back with the turnover. We are so big philosophically as a program on field position. That's how we base what we do and how our offense, defense, and special teams are set up. Those situations for the kids is big and helps us."

The day also featured more red zone drills and the special teams unit working on blocking field goals.

Returning starting quarterback Thomas DeMarco (Palm Desert, Calif.) needed just one play to lead the No. 1 offense in one of the final plays of the day in the red zone. The redshirt sophomore hit Nick Mayers (Va. Beach, Va.) in the corner of the endzone.

Meanwhile, the No. 2 offense got to fourth and goal only to see Mike Mason (Suffolk, Va.) capture Blackman's pass intended for Chris Lovitt (Stafford, Va.) in the endzone.

The PAT/FG block unit also managed to thwart three field goal attempts. Last season, Old Dominion blocked seven kicks.

MONARCH MOMENTS:

MODEL PROGRAM:
Members of the UT-San Antonio athletic department were on campus on Wednesday taking a look at the ODU football program and its facilities. Among the Roadrunner staff in Norfolk was head coach Larry Coker, who many may remember at the helm of the Miami (Fla.) Hurricane program from 2001-06. Coker posted a 60-15 (.800 winning percentage) in his six seasons with the Hurricanes, guiding them to the 2001 National Championship. UT-San Antonio begins practice this fall and will play the 2011 and 2012 season as an FCS Independent before joining the Southland Conference in 2013.

HELP SAVE A LIFE:
The Football Monarchs will again sponsor a Marrow Donor Registry Drive on Thursday, April 22nd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Hampton/Newport News room in Webb Center. The Monarchs have once again partnered with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) to add ODU students, faculty and staff and the Norfolk community to the bone marrow registry, where they can potentially capitalize on the opportunity of a lifetime - the opportunity to save a life.

YOUTH CLINIC GALLERY NOW AVAILABLE:
Prior to last Saturday's scrimmage, the Football Monarchs hosted a clinic for kids grades 5th-8th. Over 60 youngsters came to Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium to learn and work along side the Monarchs. To see photos from that day click here.

TAKING A VOCAL LEAD:
"We are a communicative bunch now. They are doing a much better job of communicating now and I think its knowledge of the system now. Two guys that have brought a lot to that have been (Ronnie) Cameron and (Deron) Mayo. They've been there, have played a lot of games, and are very vocal, so they are really getting the rest of the guys to do that. Its been a big key to the change of attitude on our defense."

WILDER'S TAKE ON SPRING BALL:
"I'm very pleased with the progress we've made," said Wilder "I think we're a different football team now and have made tremendous strides on defense. Our defense last year had difficulty stopping the run and couldn't get to the quarterback. This spring, the two things we've done well is stop the run and rushed the passer. On offense it was a matter of getting players that have redshirted and new players into the mix. I expect that it will be an improved unit. It was really about polishing some things up, getting a look at some new players, looking at some new positions in the offensive line and making some adjustments with personnel. I have been very happy with what I've seen this spring. We are a better football team now than when we were at the end of the season at VMI."

TWO-DEEP SOON:
The spring two-deep will be available on ODUSports.com on Thursday afternoon. Stay tuned!

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