Before we begin our analysis of this weekend’s football game between ODU and Campbell, we have a couple housecleaning items to review.
First, my debut article for SaturdayBlitz.com posted this week. I will be posting at least once (probably twice) a week during the season, specifically about CAA football. I’ll throw out some general FCS news as well. I’ll use my blog to track games I see in person this season – seven ODU games, three Towson games, the season finale between W&M and Richmond, as well as a Buffalo Bills game the first weekend in November.
|On this play, Buffalo went five-wide on third and five. On a related note, the Jets won this game big and the Bills missed the playoffs...again...|
Second, former Old Dominion University standout pitcher Justin Verlander became the first pitcher in a decade to win his 20th game before the calendar turned to September. There have been talks of him garnering AL MVP votes. I don’t think he’ll win the award but it’s an honor for a starting pitcher to be even mentioned in the conversation.
Another former Old Dominion great, Dan Hudson, won his 14th game of the season a couple games ago. There’s a good article in The Virginian-Pilot detailing the impact Hudson and fellow Hampton Roads native Justin Upton have had on the first-place Diamondbacks’ turnaround from last season.
We are saying a prayer that our loved ones survived Hurricane Irene. There was significantly less water in my basement than I expected but thankfully my family, friends and I remain healthy and alive. Some of my friends lost power (and still remain without it) but we can replace power; we cannot replace lives.
And now, we preview Campbell University at Old Dominion.
CAMPBELL UNIVERSITY AT OLD DOMINION – 9/3/2011
We took a look at the Camels’ prospects for the season earlier. The team loses 2010 starting quarterback Daniel Polk, who threw for eight touchdowns and ran for another twelve. When their camp broke the coaching staff was considering true sophomore Dakota Wolf and RS freshman Jordan Hildreth to replace Polk. Recently there’s been speculation that Southern Methodist transfer Braden Smith will get some playing time.
Regardless of who the starting quarterback is, the Camels’ offense will be centered around running the ball. There are three senior tailbacks on the team, led by Rashuan Brown. Brown and senior defensive back Jared Hart are the two Camels on Phil Steele’s First Team Preseason Pioneer League Team. Campbell returns five starting offensive linemen from last year’s team, all of whom are true-and-redshirt seniors. This team will try to run the ball.
Meanwhile the Monarchs are a year behind the Camels but have out-recruited them for better talent. In 2009 ODU beat Campbell 28-17 and crushed them 44-13 in 2010. So all those returning seniors are 0-2 against what has become a superior team. What can the Camels do differently to win the third matchup?
|DeMarco leads his team into the 2011 season.|
Campbell will win if…
1. The offensive line dominates the line of scrimmage, controls the clock and minimizes the number of possessions ODU’s offense gets.
2. Smith plays out of his mind and becomes Drew Brees for a day against the Monarchs’ secondary.
3. …I got nothing other than “any team can beat any other team on any given game day.” Perhaps the Monarchs don’t take Campbell seriously, but the Monarchs have been too well-coached their first two years to assume they’ll look past any opponent.
Old Dominion will win if…
1. The offense plays its normal pace. Since implementing the spread offense, Coach Wilder has stated that he wants ODU’s offense to get off 75-plus plays in a game. This offense has scored an average of 36 points against Campbell’s defense in two games; outside of a 56-point outburst against winless Valparaiso, Campbell scored less than 28 points in every other game last season.
2. The defensive line holds its own. Coach Wilder is high on the Monarchs’ defensive line, so if it can just do its job and prevent Campbell from running all over the field, the Camels will be forced into third-and-long situations that they may not convert with regularity.
3. The sun rises. I may eat my words this Sunday morning but I’m honestly struggling to come up with reasons Campbell is a better team than Old Dominion.
The real concern of the game this weekend is that it’s late Wednesday night as I’m typing this, and I still don’t have my parking pass. Will tailgating occur for VBR Productions? We will find out soon.