Spring Practice Update: Changes

March 26, 2012
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

March 26, 2012

MONARCH MEDIA: Practice #2 Update:

One of the changes to spring practice has been the move from afternoons to mornings. The Monarchs, whose spring weekday drills are on Mondays and Wednesdays, start their day beginning at 6 a.m. getting taped by Marty Bradley, Nate Miker, and the rest of the athletic training staff.

"In the fall we are going to practice Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday on the same schedule," noted Wilder. "We will be completed with everything by 10:30 in the morning. All their classes will be from 11:00 a.m. on."

One of the reasons for the shift is that a majority of Monarchs' upper level and graduate courses are offered in the afternoon and evening.

"I'm never going to have a player miss a class for practice," said Wilder. "Doing our research, with this morning block, we are not going to have as many class conflicts."

Three changes of note on the roster this spring are Aaron Evans to wide receiver and Alex Arain and Kai Blanco to the defensive line.

"The great thing about spring practice is you can look players in different situations," said Wilder on the changes.

On Evans, Wilder noted his abilities on special teams on the return unit and the fact he was a two-way player in high school as a natural progression to get the ball in his hands in moving him from corner to the receiving corps. At Woodside High School in Newport News, Evans played quarterback passing for 1,522 yards and rushing for 1,261 in 2009, while the last two seasons at corner for ODU he has collected 40 tackles.

"With a four receiver offense, we play 10 wide receivers," said Wilder noting that Reid Evans is out for the spring and Marquel Thomas and Chris Lovitt are participating in drills but nursing injuries. "I wanted to give Aaron a look. Based on what I saw this morning, he can do it," he said mentioning that Evans could play as an outside receiver, an inside receiver, or even running back.

Also in playing four wide receivers, "I don't want to see Kai standing next to me on the sidelines, he's one of our best players," said Wilder on the move of Blanco from tight end to the defensive line, "so we are going to give him a shot."

Arain makes the move from linebacker to a stand-up defensive end. "We feel like we can take advantage of his speed and athleticism. We are going to make him an edge rusher and really try to get after people with their athleticism," stated Wilder.

"We are always trying to find the best 11 and get them on the field."

Taking a look at the receivers, numbers one and two have been getting a lot of reps in. Jakwail Bailey has moved to #1 from #81 and Kirk Spellman has moved from #82 to #2.

However, two mainstays had two big plays on Monday morning. Nick Mayers, ODU's leading receiver had an 80-yard touchdown reception, while Antonio Vaughan caught a 40-yard touchdown pass.

The pace of the Monarchs' first two practices have been noticeable faster. Where as in a five-minute team period in the past the Monarchs might have gotten in six to eight reps, the squad is now getting more in the range of 12 reps in. With more reps to be had, it means more Monarchs are getting in more plays and giving the coaching staff added opportunity to evaluate the best 11 to make the field of play.

Monarchs return to the field Wednesday morning.