Thursday, September 22, 2011

ODU Football after Three Weeks

It's been almost two full weeks since the blog's last post.  We've provided a good amount of information (see below) but all the writing for other sites has limited what I can write for my own blog.  We have a couple non-ODU football items to provide first.

Old Dominion's field hockey team is currently the #1 team in the nation after beating its seventh top ten team in its first ten games.  If they hadn't received all first place votes in the latest vote, there should have been an investigation.

Justin Verlander is now 24-5 after getting a win in his 13th consecutive start.  There is debate whether he should be considered for the AL MVP

I've had a few stories shared on and  It is an honor to write for these sites so I share these links in a very humble fashion.  On behalf of the CAAZone I was granted a press pass for ODU's home game against Hampton this past Saturday.  You can read the preview here and the game summary here.  It's been a pleasure being on a team of strong writers for the Zone.

For I've shared my thoughts in the FCS Roundtable for a few weeks recently.  Even if you don't want to read more of my own work on the site, you're exposed to different writers who are well-versed in FCS football.  I also provided previews of weeks two and three of CAA Football.  I also composed a well-received piece on Towson's win over Villanova, or at least so says the site's awesome owner.  I am thankful to Kyle for giving me the opportunity to write for his site.

With that said, it's time to analyze Old Dominion football's performance against its three non-conference opponents.  In the blog's season preview, it was predicted that the Monarchs would go 3-0 so expectations have been met.  But the level of competition steps up significantly starting this weekend.  We'll be there in Newark, Delaware, to see ODU take on the 2010 FCS runner-up Blue Hens.

NOTE: All statistics referenced come from ODU Sports's official website as of 9/21/2011.  Clicking on this link after 9/24/2011 will result in altered statistics.


Offensive Line
The production of any offense begins and ends with the big men up front.  Against inferior competition, Old Dominion's offense has racked up an average of 435 yards per game.  Quarterback Thomas DeMarco has been sacked five times, but it's generally been a result of holding onto the ball too long.  He has had adequate time to look down the field when needed; there have been few missed assignments.

More important than its play in the passing game, the line has opened up holes regularly for Monarch running backs.  Sophomore Colby Goodwyn leads Old Dominion with 263 net rushing yards despite missing the first game against Campbell.  He is followed by redshirt freshman Angus Harper, who has 206.  The tandem has scored five touchdowns. 

It's hard to assess how the offensive line will perform against CAA teams.  They held their own against the top 25 teams they opposed in 2010 (Cal-Poly and William and Mary) but have not faced such competition on a weekly basis.  At the very least it's clear that they are better than non-CAA teams at this point.

Thomas DeMarco has been exactly what the team has needed - an experienced quarterback who executes the offense.  The version of the spread offense ODU runs with DeMarco is based on rush attempts and short passes, which set up moderate-and-deep passes.  The senior quarterback has been good with his decisions this season, completing more than 70% of his passes with two interceptions.  He has thrown for three touchdowns and rushed for another five, giving him 30 rushing touchdowns in 25 career games.

More important than his passing abilities is his ability to scramble.  In the last two seasons, he has faced defenses vastly inferior to CAA-caliber teams.  In the past he had chosen to dive head-first and fight for extra yardage as much as possible.  On two separate scrambles from the pocket this season, he has slid feet-first.  To non-ODU fans this may be insignificant, but considering his size and how good CAA defenses are, it's encouraging to see him consciously decide to limit the hits he takes early in the season.

Running Backs
In the season-opener against Campbell, the Monarchs dressed only one scholarship athlete (Angus Harper) at running back.  The team had nine designed rushes prior to WR Antonio Vaughan's reverse that he took 30 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.  Once the lead was fairly secure, ODU went with walk-on reserve Lorenzo Smith; Harper had only ten total rushes (with seven receptions) in the game. 

After gaining only 50 net rushing yards against Campbell, the Monarchs exploded for almost 290 yards against Georgia State.  The Panthers showed eight-man secondaries on most plays, so ODU simply ran the ball.  Colby rushed for 184 yards on 24 carries with a long of 53.  Harper chipped in 67 of his own on 16 carries.  Against Hampton it was Harper leading the way with 111 yards while Goodwyn complemented the offense with 79 of his own. 

The way the backs are playing compared to last season, there is an obvious upgrade in the talent of Harper/Goodwyn versus last season's corps of Mario Crawford/Goodwyn/Jamar Parham.  But there are no other scholarhips running backs on the roster this season except Rashad Manley, a reserve quarterback last season. 

Should Harper or Goodwyn miss significant time this season, it will drastically hinder ODU's offensive gameplan.  True freshman Tyree Lee, the 2010 AP Virginia High School POY, continues to rehab an ankle injury and hopefully can save a year of eligibility at this point.

Wide Receivers
If there's been one breakout star for ODU's offense, it has been redshirt freshman Antonio Vaughan.  He had 97 receiving yards against Campbell along with his 30 yard touchdown run.  Junior Reid Evans continues to be as productive and consistent as ever in his ODU career, contributing eleven receptions and a touchdown.  Six Monarchs (including Harper and tight end Kai Blanco)  have at least six catches, led by Vaughan's 15. 

As discussed above, Old Dominion's offense is predicated on short passes that get the ball to wide receivers as quickly as possible, which sets up deeper passes through the course of the game.  Vaughan and Prentice Gill are capable of gaining chunks or yards at a time.  But the true key to the passing game is that DeMarco spreads the ball around; in any game, there are four receivers (Evans, Gill, Vaughan, and Larry Pinkard) who could lead the team in receptions any given game based on ODU'S play-calling and the opposition's defensive alignment.


Defensive Line
If there is one unit on ODU's football team that is most-ready for conference play, it is the defensive line.  Linemen Ronnie Cameron and Chad King are second and third, respectively, in total tackles.  Cameron, King and Edmon McClam have contributed seven of ODU's twelve sacks through the first three games.  While no OOC opponent has a CAA-caliber offensive line, these three seniors have more than earned their keep.

The team has twelve tackles-for-loss (not including sacks) through three games to date.  Although not all TFL were recorded by linemen, the play of the line has allowed opposing offenses to average less than 100 rushing yards per game.  Cameron et al have generated penetration at the point of attack, allowing the other defensive units to focus on their own responsibilities.

Craig Wilkins leads the team in total tackles with 32 (20 solo).  He's also pitched in two passes defensed and a QB hit.  Wilkins could start for any CAA team.  Monarch fans expected such output from Wilkins; it is the play of others that was a cause for concern.  Last season's starting middle linebacker did not return in 2011, meaning the team would rely heavily on juniors John Darr and Alex Arain. 

Both had shown promise in the past but had limited opportunities, so their production was a question mark for this season.  The duo has contributed 22 total tackles, three TFL and one pass defensed.  Although they may not be play-makers of Wilkins' ability, they have more than earned their spots as starting linebackers.

Old Dominion's defense had seven total interceptions in 2010, only four of which were by defensive backs.  Already this season the Monarchs have four interceptions - all by defensive backs.  Three of the interceptions came against Georgia State, which started its first string punter against the Monarchs and put in its first string QB only at the end of the third quarter.  (For those interested in background on this odd occurrence, visit and search for keywords "Bo Schlechter," "Drew Little" or "Kelton Hill."  The collective story involves stolen laptops, dropped felony burglary charges and four-game suspensions that lasted all of zero games.)

Unfortunately for ODU, two-year starter TJ Cowart broke his wrist against the Panthers, thus ending his season.  Cowart was the most important starter in the secondary, and arguably the team's best defender after Cameron.  The second starting cornerback position was won in camp by RS freshman Eriq Lewis after a fierce competition.  He battled true sophomore Aaron Evans, RS sophomore Markell Wilkins and true freshman Reggie Owens to win the position.  Going forward it will be difficult for these corners to battle CAA-caliber receivers for eight straight games without Cowart leading the way; these individuals are talented but are currently not the most-tested unit of the team. 

The safety position has excelled to date.  Sophomore Paul Morant has led the way with eleven tackles, one interception with three passes defensed.  Devon Simmons and Carvin Powell have added 20 tackles, two interceptions and two passes defensed.  But Morant has been the star of the unit, as his INT and two blocked punts have led to three touchdowns.

Consistent with its first two seasons, Old Dominion's special teams unit has been a key contributor to the success in 2011 OOC schedule.  Kicker Jarod Brown has connected on all five field goal attempts, including attempts of 51-and-45 yards in the Georgia Dome in Week Two.  Just as impressively, Brown connected on a FG of 42 yards against Hampton in the rainy, windy conditions; the young man is as reliable as can be expected of FCS kickers.

The punting unit has also excelled.  After leading the FCS in punting average in 2009, Jonathan Plisco was 0.05 yards per attempt at leading FCS punters in 2010.  Last year he averaged more than five yards per attempt than 2011 Preseason All-CAA Punter David Skahn of James Madison.  (We understand why CAA coaches and SID's would not vote ODU position players to the Preseason All-CAA team, but it looks silly when one punter was five yards better per attempt than the guy who was voted to the preseason team.)  In 15 attempts this season, Plisco has averaged more than 46 yards per attempt with a long of 61 against the Panthers. 

For those unaccustomed to watching the Monarchs, DeMarco is a weapon on special teams.  If ODU faces fourth-and-short between the 50 and the opponents' 37/38 yard line, and the Monarchs have their base offense on the field, the opposing team can expect a pooch punt from DeMarco. Two of his three punts this season were placed inside the opponents' 20.

If there's one area of concern for Old Dominion's special teams, it is the kickoff unit.  The Monarchs did a good job against Georgia State but gave up multiple returns of at least 30 yards against Campbell and Hampton.  The Campbell Camels were not able to take advantage of the field position like the Pirates did, but even Hampton's offense is not as good as most in the CAA.  No Colonial defense can regularly prevent opponents from scoring when the starting field position is around the 40 yard line.

It has benefited the third-year program to have a head coach that was both a player and assistant head coach in the league previously (Bobby Wilder was both with Maine).  In his postgame press conference against Hampton, he repeated that the team responded well to getting punched in the mouth against Hampton; the team should expected to get punched in the mouth weekly in conference play.  How the team responds will determine how successful the team can be.

One sign of well-coached teams is the play of special teams.  Against Hampton in 2010, Wilder saw something specific about the Pirates' punt shield that the Monarchs could exploit; the net result was two blocked punts and a tackle of the punter before he could get away a third punt away.  Against Georgia State and Hampton this season, ODU had three blocked punts in two weeks.  Two of these blocks were returned directly for touchdowns while another was quickly turned into a DeMarco-to-Evans touchdown pass.

Beyond special teams, it seems that Monarch coaches have game-planned appropriately for its opponents this season.  Harper, the only one scholarship running back available against Campbell, ran the ball only ten times that game.  Despite leading most of the game, ODU quarterbacks attempted 43 passes against 36 rush attempts.  The next two weeks, the Monarchs rushed for 286 and 216 yards, showing the Campbell game was an anomoly rather than a long-term concern.

Old Dominion is 3-0 to start the 2011 football season.  It currently has an eight-game winning streak dating back to last season, the longest current FCS streak.  In the streak, ODU has soundly beaten Georgia State twice, Hampton twice (one game was closer than the other), VMI, Savannah State, North Carolina Central and Campbell.  The Monarchs have used team speed, coaching and overall talent to defeat these teams.

But none of the opponents played in that streak have the collective, proven talent that Delaware has on its roster. Monarch fans should temper expectations for this weekend and most other CAA games.  It's going to be a long ride, but the Monarchs have shown to be talented enough to at least compete with teams such as William & Mary and Cal-Poly in the past.  How does this translate to eight consecutive games against the best FCS conference?  We're excited to find out.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The First Weekend with College and Pro Football

In 2010, Old Dominion ran for 229 yards against the Georgia State Panthers.  With the return game at the Georgia Dome in 2011 in early September, we were expecting the Panthers' defense to have improve dramatically - after all, there was an influx of talent while the returning players had a full season under their belts.  Surely, the Monarchs couldn't run for 229 yards again...right?

Old Dominion did not run for 229 yards in the rematch...they ran for 277.  Colby Goodwyn exploded for 190 rushing yards on 26 carries, good enough for him to be named National Running Back of the Week by The College Football Performance Awards.  He was also named the CAA Offensive Player of the Week.  Thomas DeMarco attempted only 21 passes in the win after throwing 38 times at home against Campbell. 

The player of the game for me was Paul Morant, a sophomore out of Hampton, VA.  The safety burst through Georgia State's blockers and got his hands on two punt attempts.  Although he himself didn't score on either play, one block was picked up returned for a touchdown, while the second led to another touchdown before halftime.  Look for more on this game in the FCS Roundtable at

Through two games, Morant (20) has one INT and two blocked punts.  These three  plays resulted in touchdowns for Old Dominion.

Because the game was played in Georgia, it was a road game that I could not attend in person.  Instead I went to see Towson defeat the Villanova Wildcats 31-10.  You can read my analysis of the game and the rest of the CAA in my post.  Ed Sheahin posted a phenomenal story on the game at the CAA Zone.  Towson is for real.

Meanwhile in the professional football world, the Buffalo Bills knocked around the Kansas City Chiefs 41-7.  I'm not at all surprised that Buffalo won, but the final score was a shock.  The Chiefs were a flimsy playoff team last season and Ryan Fitzpatrick burst onto the scene the second half of last sesaon.  The Harvard graduate threw four touchdowns yesterday while D-III product Fred Jackson had 112 yards rushing.

Unlike Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick is not afraid to throw the ball downfield in Chan Gailey's spread offense.

But one game is not enough to get me excited.  The last playoff game the Bills played was in January 2000.  In Roman numerals that's "MM" compared to the current year, "MMXI."  One quarter of the schedule has Buffalo battling the Patriots and Jets; I'll feel good about our playoff chances if we can split with these two teams.  I wouldn't bet on anything with the Patriots; the Bills haven't beaten Tom Brady since 2003.  Again, that's "MMIII" or "VIII" years ago.

This week I'll be at Foreman Field to see Old Dominion's final non-conference game this season.  The Monarchs defeated this week's opponents, Hampton, by a score of 28-14 last season.  Deron Mayo blocked two punts in the first half to help ODU build a quick lead, and the Pirates weren't able to come back.  It should be a great atmosphere for the local rivals.

Friday, September 9, 2011

College Football - Week Two

As I'm learning all over again right now, the first week of a diet is always the toughest.  If you're good enough to stick to your plan of eating healthy foods, your body has a difficult time adjusting...and lets you know about it.  If you do NOT stick to better eating, you get down on yourself mentally.  It's a lose/lose when you're going through it.  If you stick to the diet, the second week is much less aggravating.

For Old Dominon and Georgia State football, their first and second weeks are the exact opposite of dieting - they played teams with inferior talent (Campbell and Clark Atlanta, respectively) but gear up for a much more menacing opponent Saturday (each other).  Old Dominion will win if it can shut down the running game and force Bo Schlechter into throwing the ball.  Georgia State will win if it reaches 36-plus minutes in time of possession. 

We're going to stick with ODU winning a close contest in a "show me" game - Georgia State's seven program wins are over Shorter, Campbell, Morehead State, Savannah State, North Carolina Central, Lamar and Clark Atlanta.  A win over Old Dominion will be its best win to date.  The Monarchs themselves don't exactly have marquee wins but they have a better, longer track record of success on which they can rely (without losses to sub-FCS programs).  I won't be surprised to see Georgia State wins, but until they beat a quality opponent, I'll believe it when I see it.

I've previewed this game in further detail at the CAA Zone.  I've given a preview of this week's CAA Football matchupes on  It's the end of the week and I'm not going to repeat what I've written elsewhere.  And yes, I'm blaming that on the diet.

The Monarchs/Panthers game is on TV locally but I'm not sure I'll get to watch it.  (Damage from rain must be addressed.)  Regardless I will definitely be at the Villanova/Towson game Saturday evening; you can expect a write-up on that game within a couple days afterwards here and on Saturday Blitz.

Go, Monarchs.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Georgia State - Bits of Real Panther

I will have a more complete analysis of Georgia State by the end of the week.  They will prove to be more formidable than the Campbell Camels were this past Saturday, as one reporter insists they're made from bits of real panther. 

60% of the time, it works EVERY time.

I am fortunate enough to have made the acquintance of Ben Moore, one of the editors of, and he has shared a vast amount of information about the Monarchs' opponent this weekend.  Below he answers our questions on what you can expect from the Panthers this season.

But first we have a couple house-cleaning items to address.  At the time of this post, former ODU pitching great Justin Verlander leads the AL in the pitchers' version of the triple crown - wins, ERA and strikeouts.  Fellow former ODU ace Daniel Hudson now has 15 wins to Verlanders' 21; Hudson has been part of the Diamondbacks' turnaround from the 2010 season.

Moving back to football, my first entry for the CAA Zone was published earlier this week.  In addition to my rundown of the game on this blog, you can get a few more insights in the article.  Similar to Ben Moore taking the time to answer my questions below, I returned the favor with him.  The article was posted on Panther Talk - you can get some of my thoughts on the upcoming game there.

Without further ado, here is valuable insight on the Panthers from Mr. Moore.

VBR Productions: In what area do you see the most improvement for Georgia State from the Alabama game to this season?  I don't mean necessarily an improvement in individual talent; I am referring more to strength and conditioning, players better understanding the schemes, player attitudes, etc.
Ben Moore: 
You nailed it.  We created an Assistant Athletic Director for Speed, Strength & Conditioning position this offseason and made a great hire grabbing Ben Pollard who had experience at Alabama, TCU and Texas A&M.  Coach Curry mentioned several times pre-Spring and during Spring practice that workouts were not organized enough and guys were not putting the work in. This may be one of the overlooked issues for a second year program:  We have 69 players (out of the 108) who are Sophomores or Freshman.  It was abundantly clear when the players reported for summer workouts who put the work in and who had not.  

Monarch fans should expect an improved Panthers roster in 2011.

During the next eight weeks, our players who put the work in, soared up the depth chart.  Many of our casual fans were surprised to see their favorite players from our inaugural season slated as backups or third string performers.  We spoke to Defensive Coordinator John Thompson and he mentioned that he experimented a good bit in 2010 because of lack of depth and youth at key positions.  This is not an issue with our offseason.  We upgraded significantly on the defensive side of the ball and those upgrades will likely be very apparent to ODU fans who saw the game in Norfolk last Fall.  
There is also a strong core group of Seniors who have pushed themselves extremely hard this offseason including four Senior offensive lineman and two Senior defensive lineman.  The team developed a saying of “Get Right or Get Left” that has resonated within the practice facility.
Thomas DeMarco guided the Monarchs to a 34-20 victory over Georgia State in 2010.
VBR: Speaking of schemes, last season the defense played a base 3-4 defense.  Is this still the team's base defense, and if not what can we expect to see?  Which players (new or returning) will help the run defense improve over last season?
 Moore: Yes.  We do play a hybrid 3-4 with multiple looks.  There are several packages where we will rotate 2 DT, 1 DE and bring a LB to the line of scrimmage.  We have upgraded our talent at LCB with D’Mario Gunn joining us in Spring from JUCO power Georgia Military College.  He is being allowed to play man coverage and allowing more defenders to be committed to the ball.  As you guys used Campbell as a warmup, we had one of our own in Division 2 Clark Atlanta.  Not including QB scrambles, we limited their running game to 66 yards on 24 carries in non-garbage time.  

This was critical after teams, including ODU, realized that our run defense was very poor and we missed a ton of tackles.  We’ve added two outstanding inside linebacker prospects in former Under Armor All American and University of Georgia signee Dexter Moody and JUCO transfer Qwontez Mallory.  Both are extremely athletic and active.  More importantly, both are sure tacklers.  

Another huge addition on the defensive line was former UConn weakside defensive end A.J. Portee who played in the Fiesta Bowl in January with the Huskies. This experience is invaluable and teams should not be able to line up 40 times per game and rip off 5 to 6 yard runs.

VBR: Last season Danny Williams was arguably the team's most productive skill-position player outside of quarterback.  Does he return as the offense's main threat?  I am aware of your two transfers (one RB, one TE) from Kentucky.  Have these two had sufficient time to integrate into the offense this early into the season?

Moore: WR Danny Williams is back along with WR Jordan Giles who is healthy after playing much of 2010 with a broken finger.  We are also very strong at TE with two big targets in Arthur ‘Bully’ Williams and Emmanuel Ogbuehi, who are fans fondly remember taking the first pass vs. Alabama last Fall 55 yards quieting more than 101,000 Tide fans.  The weapons are there, it just remains to be seen if our QB play can remain consistent after a tumultuous offseason.  

We did receive two transfers from Kentucky in RB Donald Russell and TE Alex Smith.  Russell is a Junior and once he got back into football shape (players who transfer out cannot use the team’s facilities) he quickly impressed the coaching staff.  Russell is a load at 5’11, 212lbs and has tremendous agility as witnessed in his 20 yard run for a TD on Friday night stepping out of two tackles including a devastating stiff arm on the 2 yard line.  Russell is a big time weapon catching passes out of the backfield and an excellent blocker.  He may not start on Saturday but will likely get the lion share of the carries.  

Smith is a likely back up this year and is still only a RS Freshman.  He, like Russell, was not in football shape and will be integrated slowly by the coaching staff into the offense.  I do not expect him to play vs. ODU on Saturday.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Old Dominion Home Opener - Not This Year

In 2009, its first season of college football in 70 years, Old Dominion University won a 28-27 contest at Jacksonville University.  Many fans expected to open the 2010 season with a win against that same Jacksonsville team.  However, the Dolphins wound up winning 35-25 to the surprise of 19,782 fans at Foreman Field.  With the vast number of injuries incurred leading up to the game, the offense performed unevenly the whole game.

Would the Monarchs open the 2011 with another choppy performance against the Campbell Camels?  No.  Not this year.

Old Dominion University is officially a part of CAA Football.  At least that's what this t-shirt told me.

You can read the conventional stories about the game with the links below.  What we're trying to accomplish with this blog is to provide information from a different perspective than those who get paid to cover the sport.  Rich Radford wrote a couple pieces for The Virginian-Pilot and gives a great summary.  Bob Molinaro, also of The Pilot, wrote a commentary about what the performance of true-and-red freshmen against Campbell means for the program. 

But we're going to highlight the important plays, players and general aspects that mainly go unnoticed to the general fan.  I learned a lesson from Defiantly Dutch about taking notes during games to remember specific times, plays and game situations.  With five pages of notes in hand, here are things that may did not get enough attention.

God Bless America.


We're not referring to Jonathan Plisco's 54-and-59-yard punts that put the Camels back inside their own 5 yard line twice in the third quarter.  We're talking about a key sequence in the second quarter involving Thomas DeMarco.  On one possession early in the quarter, his pass was tipped and intercepted around the Monarch 40.  Down 14-7, Campbell pushed the ball to ODU's 2 and went for it from there on fourth and one. 

The Monarchs defensive line stopped the Camels' RB for no gain.  On the next snap throwing from his end zone, DeMarco completed a 35-yard pass to Prentice Gill along the left sideline.  Old Dominion would punt four plays later as of the offense stalled, with DeMarco (yes, DeMarco and not Plisco) punting the ball into Campell's end zone.  Despite not scoring, ODU completely shifted field position for the rest of the quarter and would outscore Campbell 14-0 to take a 28-7 halftime lead.

DeMarco would score on a 12-yard run in the second quarter.


The coaches' gameplan obviously revolved around redshirt freshman Antonio Vaughan, as he caught six passes for 97 yards while also scoring on a 30-yard reverse wide receiver sweep.  You need to get the ball in the hands of your playmakers.  However, a total of ten Monarchs caught at least one pass, with seven catching at least three.  A running back, redshirt freshman Angus Harper, led all ODU receivers with seven receptions for 58 yards. 

Wide receiver might be the team's deepest position, which hopefully will counter-balance the team's lack of proven depth at running back.  As the season goes on, expect different players to lead the team in receptions - we could have seven different players lead the team in receptions in a game this season.

Vaughan, 5, was the breakout star in the Monarchs' win.  On his first play from scrimmage seen here, he hauled in a pass for 43 yards.


One Monarch whose play did not get sufficient recognition is safety Paul Morant.  Despite not getting the start, the true sophomore recorded ODU's only interception of the game along with two pass breakups and five total tackles.  Five minutes into the second quarter, Campbell quarterback Braden Smith was flushed out of the pocket to his right on second down.  His pass was picked off by Morant, who returned the ball inside the 15 (his fumble was recovered by Chris Burnette.)  One play later, DeMarco hit paydirt and ODU was up 21-7.

Morant came out of nowhere on this play to intercept Smith's pass.  Thankfully my dad gave me the sequence of the play since I was waiting for my camera to re-load after snapping this picture.

No matter the talent of the secondary, it is difficult for corners and safeties to cover receivers if the defense gets no pressure on the quarterback.  This was not the case for ODU's front four today.  The Monarchs posted ten tackles for loss and had five total sacks.  Of redshirt freshman Dominique Guinn-Bailey's three tackles, two were TFL while the third was a sack.  You could say he had a productive debut.  Ronnie Cameron led all Monarchs with nine tackles, of which two were TFL, and added 0.5 sacks.  The defensive line helped the secondary look its best in the program's brief tenure.

Ronnie Cameron rushes up the middle to pressure Smith in the first quarter.

All in all, the Monarchs controlled the game once the game was 7-7 in the first quarter.  Campbell was among the leaders in rushing yards among Pioneer Football League members last season, so the Monarchs may have been surprised a bit to see six passes on their opening drive.  From that point forward, the only other time Campbell scored was when they started a third quarter drive from ODU's 46 and got a phantom personal foul call.  Antonio Vaughan is going to be a treat for Monarch fans with his speed, and I'm glad the team redshirted him last season.

However, this was more or less the outcome Monarch fans expected.  The turnout and energy from the fans was excellent, though it's still odd seeing half the stadium leave during the third quarter of a game (I've never left a football game early, no matter the score).  There is no other chance for a blowout this season with Hampton and a full slate of CAA teams on the home schedule.  Saturday's win simply confirmed that the Monarchs are better than a Campbell program that's had one more season of play under its belt than ODU.  And thankfully there were no injuries reported other than Brandon Carr's shoulder injury.

Next week, Old Dominion faces a significantly better opponent in future conference mate Georgia State.  I'll have a preview of that game through a conversaion with Ben Moore, one of their best and longest-standing supporters, who is also an author for SB Nation.