August 15, 2011
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Aug. 15, 2011

NORFOLK, Va. -- Monday saw the Football Monarchs with a morning practice and starting to gear up for its first scrimmage on Tuesday night. Sporting shoulder pads for preseason practice number eight, the Monarchs installed their punt block unit and worked on goal line situations.

"The play was very physical," said head coach Bobby Wilder of the goal line drill, "but both sides won a segment."

On the first segmen senior redshirt quarterback Thomas DeMarco (Palm Desert, Calif.) hit a relatively new face for a touchdown, tight end Mitch Castleberry, on third and goal. Castleberry, who has been impressing the coaching staff, was one of the 18 Monarchs to join the team at the start of camp from Westfield High School in Herndon, Virginia. At Westfield, the First team AAA All-Northern Region selection totaled 150 receiving yards, averaged 15.0 yards per reception.

The defense, however, were the winners in the following segment. Alex Arain (Va. Beach, Va.), has definitely been one of the Monarchs who embraced the "bigger, faster, stronger" mantra from the spring. Arain, who went from 200 to 220 pounds over the summer, stopped the offense at first and goal.

On specials teams, the Monarchs installed their punt block unit. To date, ODU has 12 blocks in its history, but only three have been blocked punts. Arain blocked the first punt in ODU history against Monmouth in a 35-21 win. ODU also had two blocked punts against Hampton by former Monarchs Deron Mayo and Desmond Williams. Both resulted in Monarch scores in the 28-14 win after the Pirates had not had a punt blocked since 2004.

The Monarchs are gearing up for another two-a-day tomorrow with the first practice focusing on special teams and the second being a controlled scrimmage over at the stadium.

"We're hoping to get in the ballpark about 90 plays," said Wilder, as the coaching staff would like to see the No. 1s, No. 2, and No. 3 get in about 30 reps each. "It's really about evaluating where we are as a football team right now. Just as importantly as it to our veteran players, it's evaluating the 30 players new players, to see who might contribute. Tomorrow night will go a long way in helping to determine that."


The Sports Network/ FCS Top-25 College Football Poll was released. While the Monarchs are among teams receiving votes, seven CAA teams were featured among the Top 25. ODU opponents William & Mark were ranked third with 20 first place votes, Delaware came in fifth with a pair of first place votes, Villanova placed 14th also with a pair of first place votes, Oyster Bowl opponent James Madison was ranked 15th, with Richmond right behind in 16th, and UMass rounding out the poll at No. 25. New Hampshire, who is not on the Monarch schedule this season, was also ranked No. 10 with one first place nod. To view the entire poll click here..

Check out the CAA's interview with quarterback Thomas DeMarco and linebacker Craig Wilkins about joining the league in CAA First Look over at We Are the CAA.