August 10, 2011
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Aug. 10, 2011

NORFOLK, Va. -- Practice stepped up a notch for the Football Monarchs as the squad donned shoulder pads and started contact drills on Wednesday.

Video interviews today include head coach Bobby Wilder's thoughts on today's drills and linebacker Craig Wilkins (Washington, D.C.) chiming in. Wilkins was awarded the "summer workout award" in front of his teammates by Strength and Conditioning Coach Ryan Martin at the end of Wednesday's practice.

Also check out the latest Q&A with senior offensive lineman Jeremy Hensley.

Bobby Wilder on Wednesday's Practice:

Junior Linebacker Craig Wilkins on Preseason Practice:

MONARCH Q&A: Jeremy Hensley

Jeremy Hensley has been a stalwart of the offensive line for the Monarchs the last two seasons and after suffering a broken ankle against nationally-ranked Cal Poly and missing the final five games of the 2010 season, he is ready to lead the team into its first season of CAA action.

"I fully expect that this season Jeremy will be a top player in this league," said Wilder of his staring center. " I can see him being an All-CAA offensive lineman. He's the leader up front. He's the guy that makes it go. He's in charge of all the line calls and he knows every position up front."

In his first season with the Monarchs, the business finance major helped paved the way for Old Dominion to rank ninth among FCS school in rushing offense and 18th in total offense. Even though he only appeared in the first five contests of the 2010 campaign, Hensley was key in the Monarchs' moving up a spot in the national rankings to eighth in total offense.

Q: What were you up to this summer? A: Trying to keep in shape and growing my hair out a little bit. I'm trying to catch up to Jack (Lowney). But seriously, mostly keeping in shape, working on my conditioning, and concentrating on summer school so I can graduate on time.

Q: How have you seen the team improve since first stepping foot on campus?
A: Dramatically! It's a completely different team from when I first got here. When I first got here, it was trying to get used to the atmosphere. Now, three years in, it's a lot of the same players, a lot of experience, everyone knows what they are doing. Its not people trying to showoff. Guys are here to play football and doing what they are supposed to be doing. A lot of growing up happened since I've been here.

Q: How has the offensive line improved during your time?
A: It's more of a unit. When we first got here, people were just piecing in here and there and no one really knew each other. Now after a few years of hanging out, everyone knows each other and trusts each other. You can depend on the guy next to you that they are going to do their job right and that makes a big difference on the offense line.

Q: How would you describe the o-line?
A: We might not get the recognition, like stats and stuff, but inside the o-line we recognize what's going on. We push each other to go to the limits and do the best we can. Everyone respects each other to do their thing because we know we're all watching each other and we're tyring to do the best for each other.

Q: If you walked out to practice, there's a bench with the words "Malibu Bench" stenciled on it. Where did that come from?
A: Initially there were a lot of guys from California. As we would get ready for practice a lot of us would hang out on the bench. Coach would make a joke of it telling us to pretend its Malibu and act like we're back home in California hanging out. We went along with it and there it is.

Q: How was it coming back from your ankle injury against Cal Poly?
A: It was a big thing. I've been injured before and missed half of my freshman season with an injury. This time when I got injured again, it was disappointing, but I took it serious and tried to come back as soon as possible. I rehabbed as hard as I could. I ended up coming back early and since then I've been trying to push myself to the limits and to get better than I was before and finish off my senior year strong.

Q: What type of advice would you give those coming back from an injury?
A: Make sure you do everything they tell you to do, because there is a reason behind it. Its going to help in the long run. It might not be fun at the time, but push through it and do things right and it'll pay off in the end.

Q: What is your favorite Bobby Wilder saying?
A: He's got a few of them. Right now I like "In It To Win It", because everything I do I want to win. That's my number one goal. There's no point in competing if you aren't trying to win. Right now I'm trying to win as many games as possible this year.

Q: What does PMA (positive mental attitude) mean to you?
A: When things are tough, always try and find the best things out of it. For example, when you are tired during conditioning, you've got to think that this is to help you win games next year. When you are tired, you've gotta just push through it and think this could be a game we could win, this could be the play that helps me beat the guy in front of me that helps scores a touchdown or makes a tackle to win the game. Always pushing yourself and thinking positive of why you are doing something instead of saying `man, this is hard.'

Q: Who is your favorite NFL Team?
I'd have to say the San Diego Chargers. They're close to my home (La Palma, Calif.). I haven't been to a game yet, but I'm looking forward to it sometime soon.

Q: What is your favorite moment as a Monarch?
A: I would have to say the first season, the first game, the excitement coming out of the tunnel and everyone there. That was my first time playing a big game in a stadium like that. It was a great feeling.

Q: What does it feel like to finally be playing in the CAA?
Everyone's excited. People don't know what to expect from us and we just want to do our best out there. We want to show the fans we've been working hard for this. We're not going to let them down and will be pushing ourselves out there to compete at the highest level.