Coach Bobby Wilder (fifth season, 38-10 at Old Dominion and overall)
Returning Starters: 16, 9 offense, 6 defense, 1 special teams
Recruiting Rank: 123
Strength of Schedule: 126
Bobby Wilder received various awards for FCS coach of the year in 2012 and has compiled a record of 38-10 at Old Dominion.
"Our goal is simple with our football program - Develop future leaders of our country, Strive to be Dean's List Students, & Win Championships," Wilder stated. (ODUsports.com)
Last season, standout quarterback Taylor Heinicke won the Walter Camp for the best player in the FCS along with setting the FCS record for passing yards in a season (5,076 pass yards) and Division I record for passing yards in a game (730 pass yards). Heinicke is a mobile quarterback with an accurate short passing game.
In 2012, Old Dominion led the FCS in points per game, passing yards per game, and total offense. ODU has an experienced offense returning along with their star QB. The Monarchs bring back four starters on the offensive line and three wide receivers.
The offensive line does have size for a program out of the FCS. On the 2013 roster, the average weight of an Old Dominion offensive lineman is 294 pounds with four linemen 300 pounds or over. Senior OL David Born was named to the 2012 All-CAA Second Team and is a 6-foot-8-inch 320-pound mammoth.
The leading wide receiver from last season is not back, but receivers Larry Pinkard, Blair Roberts, and Antonio Vaughn all had seven touchdown catches each last season. In 2012, Pinkard and Vaughn had over 800 receiving yards apiece and Roberts had more than 700 receiving yards.
The running back position appears solid with leading rusher Tyree Lee back and Heinicke was the team's second leading rusher last season, but make no doubt about it that the Monarchs are a passing team. ODU averaged nearly 400 passing yards per game, but just under 155 rush yards per game.
Linebacker Caleb Taylor leads the Old Dominion defense that returns six starters. Taylor is on the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker Watch List; his 13.5 tackles for loss and playoff exposure last year surely contributed to the recognition of his defensive play. However, the ODU team defense apparently lacked in 2012 by allowing an average of over 30 points per game. The defense will definitely need more improvement than the offense as they step up the competition.
On special teams, Old Dominion loses their starting punter, but Heinicke actually shared some punting duties with 11 punts last season for an average of 37.7 yards and seven inside the 20 yard line. Kicker Jarod Brown made all 73 point after attempts last year and is a valuable asset on special teams for 2013. Vaughn also has experience on special teams as a kick and punt returner.
The 2013 schedule features four FBS opponents and one Conference USA opponent, East Carolina. The Monarchs open up their season on the Pirates home field and it may give us a glimpse of how well ODU will fair in C-USA come 2014. Old Dominion is included in the CFU Preseason Strength of Schedule rankings and their SOS ranks last, but ODU's average opponent rank (104) is just over four points higher than Louisiana Tech's average opponent rank (99.67). Of course, La Tech is already an FBS program.
It's always a rough beginning for teams transitioning to the FBS, but Old Dominion seems well prepared for the jump to the next level. The Monarchs finished No. 6 in The Sports Network Top-25 poll last season and advanced to the FCS playoffs quarterfinals. They have a top notch QB and sell out crowds to go with their recent success in the FCS. Last season, Old Dominion handily defeated Georgia State, another school transitioning to the FBS. While ODU will still struggle plenty with transition, look for them to win some unexpected games and develop into a respectable program on the football field.
Heinicke sets NCAA record in 64-61 win
Fum Lost: 7
Int Lost: 14
TOs Lost: 21
Fum Gained: 8
Int Gained: 15
TOs Gained: 23
TO Margin: +2
2012 season stats listed unless otherwise noted.
OL David Born
r-Sr. 6-8 320
2012 All-CAA Second Team & 26 career starts.
QB Taylor Heinicke
Jr. 6-1 195
68.7 comp percent, 5076 pass yds, 44 pass TDs, 470 rush yds, 11 rush TDs, 14 ints, 37.7 avg punt, & 7 punts inside 20 yd line.
RB Tyree Lee
Jr. 5-10 190
864 rush yds, 5.4 rush avg, 343 rec yds, 8 rush TDs, & 1 rec TD.
WR Larry Pinkard
r-Jr. 6-0 180
55 receptions, 830 rec yds, 15.1 avg, & 7 TDs.
WR Blair Roberts
Jr. 6-2 190
56 receptions, 707 receiving yds, & 7 TDs.
WR Antonio Vaughn
r-Jr. 5-8 170
884 rec yds, 14.8 rec avg, 7 rec TDs, & 1 punt ret TD.
LB Caleb Taylor
r-So. 6-3 240
87 tackles, 13.5 TFLs, 3 sacks, 2 PBUs, & 7 QBHs.
K Jarod Brown
r-Sr. 5-11 210
10-12 FGs & 73-73 PATs.
vs Duquesne W 57-23
at Hampton W 45-7
vs Campbell W 70-14
vs New Ham W 64-61
at Richmond W 45-37
vs Villanova L 38-14
at Towson W 31-20
vs Delaware W 31-26
at Georgia St W 53-27
vs Will&Mary W 41-31
at James Mad W38-28
vs CoastalCar W63-35
vs GaSouthern L49-35
at East Carolina
at Norfolk State
vs Rhode Island
at North Carolina