College Football Preview: The 2015 Old Dominion Monarchs
Old Dominion Monarchs Preview
2014 Record: 6-6
Bobby Wilder is tasked with replacing prolific passer Taylor Heinicke and plugging holes in a porous defense for the Old Dominion Monarchs to succeed.
Overview: In 20014 Old Dominion depended on the passing attack to light up the scoreboard because their defense wasn’t able to get stops on a consistent basis. The defense is still a huge question mark until proven otherwise.
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Offense: With star quarterback Taylor Heinicke taking nearly 3,500 passing yards with him the obvious question is who gets the job. Shuler Bentley (RS freshman) might have the inside track although JUCO transfer Joey Verhaegh shouldn’t be counted out. Whoever gets the job will have a talented receiving corps to lean on with Zach Pascal (59-743), David Washington (47-599) and Blair Roberts (46-560 –2013) expected to be back from a back injury that cost him all of last season. Ray Lawry ran for 947 yards on 134 touches for a hefty seven yard average so running the ball should be productive once again with seven lineman back with starting experience although All CUSA center Josh Mann is gone.
Defense: The defensive line that struggled lost four of their top six but there is some depth and plenty of new faces so perhaps this isn’t a bad thing with Poncho Barnwell the only player able to generate any pressure with 6.5 TFL and 3.5 sacks. TJ Ricks leads the linebacking unit with a team high 61.5 tackles with seven TFL and 2.5 sacks along with five forced fumbles. This unit has six players that saw action but DJ Simon and his 12 TFL is gone. The secondary returns two of their top three safeties but lost their top five corner backs although some highly rated recruits might help the issue.
Special Teams: Jarrett Cervi averaged 40.5 yards on 23 punts but place kickers Ricky Segers and Satchel Ziffer eight field goals but were a combined 38-39 on PAT’s. The Monarchs need returners and better play on the coverage teams after opponents scored twice on kick returns.
Outlook: There are plenty of wins and losses on the schedule and whether the Monarchs pull an upset could be the difference between a losing season or .500 year although the defense has to perform better or ODU is in trouble.