Spring Update - Practice No. 8 - Scrimmage Open to Public
April 10, 2010
NORFOLK, Va. -- The ODU football team had their first open practice of the 2010 Spring Season today, as the coaching staff worked out the Monarchs in a scrimmage format.
On a gorgeous spring day, fans were able to take a look at new players at recognizable positions and recognizable players in new positions. Incoming quarterback Dominique Blackman made a few plays, including a touchdown pass to Mike Williams in the red zone, and then what looked to be another on a fade to the back of the end zone, but Williams was ruled out of bounds. Returning QB Thomas DeMarco also had a solid touchdown pass to Marquel Thomas and completed a pair of third-down converting strikes.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Craig Wilkins was seen at his new position, lining up as an outside linebacker. "He was fun to watch today," said head coach Bobby Wilder of Wilkins. "He was really fun to watch...He just brings so much speed to that linebacker position...Speed we didn't have last year."
The defense had a solid day for Coach Wilder, as the third team stuffed the offense on three straight downs within the five yard line. The defensive line deflected two passes in the scrimmage and added a forced fumble by Fred Credle and recovered by Alex Arain. The Old Dominion defense also had a sack and another red zone stand later in the day.
"It was great [out there today]. I thought we were playing a game; it was quite intense," said Wilder. "But I expected they would be intense today -- first time in the stadium, put the uniforms on, we brought the officials out, and there is some serious competition going on for positions, right now. So the intensity level is really where you want it. We try to make it as close to a game as possible."
Sophomore quarterback Thomas DeMarco extended a long drive with a pair of long third-down conversions. In what would end up being an 11-play drive, DeMarco hooked up with Jamar Parham for a 20-yard strike on third down and then again to Dorian Jackson for a long reception on the next third down chance.
The run defense was stellar today. According to Wilder: "They defended the run very well. Only a few times did the quarterback get out and other than that, you didn't see a running play get out today. So they were outstanding against the run, which was our biggest problem last year. Last year we couldn't consistently stop the run and we did that today. I was impressed."
Next Open Practice: The Monarchs will again be at Foreman Field next Saturday, April 17 at 2:00 p.m. Immediately following the practice, the players will be available for autographs and fans are encouraged to bring their Monarch gear to be signed by the ODU players.