MONARCH SPOTLIGHT: Off-Season Strength & Conditioning

March 05, 2012
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

March 5, 2012

"By far the best off-season conditioning program that we've had," said Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder on the Monarchs' off-season workouts.


For the second year in a row, the Monarchs did their off-season strength and conditioning workouts as a competition.

Once back from the winter break, members of the Football Monarchs were drafted into 10-teams. Those 10-teams then for all eight weeks of the off-season program competed in a point system devised by strength and conditioning coaches Ryan Martin and Joe Makovec.

"The competition was outstanding," remarked Wilder. "One of the goals was to get `bigger, faster, and stronger' but also to try to make it as close as possible to game-like competition."

For each of the eight weeks, a week was devoted to focusing on an upcoming CAA opponent starting with New Hampshire in week one all the way through James Madison in the final week of the regular season.


"Craig Wilkins was number one by far," noted Wilder on those Monarchs that stood out this off-season. "His numbers are off the charts. I compared him to the linebackers at the NFL combine and his numbers would have been near the top of every category."

Wilkins, a 6-2, 230 lbs. rising senior linebacker, led the Monarchs in the bench press with 425 lbs., the squad with 560 lbs., and hang clean with 360 lbs.

He also ran the 40 in 4.52 seconds and the pro shuttle in 4.24 seconds and captured a 40.0-inch vertical leap. Wilkins' body fat was calculated at 5.9 percent.

Other notables from the eight-week strength & conditioning workouts:

• Rising sophomore wide receiver Jakwail Bailey clocked in the fastest 40-time: 4.43 seconds.
• Fellow classmate Antonio Vaughan ran the second fastest 40-time on the squad: 4.49 seconds
• Rising senior safety Devon Simmons captured the fastest pro shuttle at 4.08 seconds and the top distance in the broad jump at 10 feet, 7 inches.
• Redshirt freshman corner Brandon Bacchus also had one of the top distances in the broad jump: 10 feet, 4 inches
• Quarterback Taylor Heinicke ran a 4.67 40-yard dash and the 6-1, 190 lbs. signal caller is down to 5.3 percent body fat.


To see how far the Monarchs have come from season one, you just have look at the latest 40-yard dash times.

In the first spring season back in 2009, the team average was 5.05 seconds. Over the last three years, the Monarchs have shaved off two-tenths of a second registering a team-averaging of 4.81 entering this spring.

"Our philosophy as a team is to be as lean and as fast as we can," said Wilder. "So to make that improvement, was very impressive."


The word of the spring has been: competition.

With 76 players going into the spring, there's a lot of competition at positions for the Monarchs that are either competing to start or who are trying to be a part of the 56-man travel roster.

The coaching staff is taking a similar approach to last year, where the Monarchs need to be a starter on special teams before you can start on offense or defense.

"You have to make the All-Star Team," said Wilder, referring to his nickname of the special teams unit.

"Its kind of backwards from the way every one does it," joked Wilder. "You have to be the best player on the team to be on the All-Star Team. Well, here you`ve got to be on the All-Star Team before you can play."