Monarchs fifth nationally in rush defense

FMisher

ODU did one thing very well in their 41-28 opening win over Hampton.  That was eliminating the run game.  The Monarchs allowed just nine yards rushing on 26 carries, which was aided by a school record six sacks for minus 36 yards.  ODU had six different carries of their own where they exceeded Hampton’s rushing yardage for the game.

As a result, ODU is ranked fifth in the nation against the run after the first week of action.  While this is the smallest of sample sizes, the Monarchs are ranked ahead of every SEC, ACC, Big 10 and PAC-12 school.

The Monarchs linebackers appeared to be up closer to the line on Saturday and moving Andre Simmons to rover paid immediate dividends with a team high nine tackles.  While the run support was superb, and that is a start, the pass defense left a lot to be desired.  Bobby Wilder spoke during his weekly press conference about how the linebackers were either slow to identify or simply out of position on many passing plays.  This left huge passing windows for Jaylian Williamson on his way to 407 yards, a Hampton school record.

NC State does possess a massive offensive line but against a smaller Georgia Southern defense they elected against playing smash-mouth football.  Instead they used that game as an opportunity to get transfer QB Jacoby Brissett in-game reps with as many of their passing game concepts as possible.  They did run the ball but it was a lot of deception, such as the wildcat and built off of their passing game.

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C-USA Week One Power Rankings

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Conference USA had a very successful opening week of play, especially at the top of the conference.  Overall the conference went 7-6 with two of the wins being of high profile variety.

Last week I posted my preseason power rankings and at the bottom of this post I will post my week one ballot.  I was invited to contribute to the official C-USA Power Rankings hosted by Underdog Dynasty as part of the SBNation platform.

Here are the results of that initial vote:  (SBNation)

  1. Marshall 1-0
  2. UTSA 1-0
  3. Western Kentucky 1-0
  4. Middle Tennessee 1-0
  5. North Texas 0-1
  6. Rice 0-1
  7. UTEP 1-0
  8. UAB 1-0
  9. Louisiana Tech 0-1
  10. Old Dominion 1-0
  11. FAU 0-1
  12. Southern Miss 0-1
  13. Florida International 0-1

Here is my C-USA Week One Power Rankings:

1.  Marshall (1-0)-The Thundering Herd did enough, which was win, against Miami (OH) 42-27 to retain the top spot here.  Don’t expect much to change this week as Rakeem Cato and company battle Rhode Island at home.

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ODU committed to youth movement for 2014

Isaiah Worthy ODU

The biggest takeaway from Bobby Wilder’s weekly press conference today following a less than stellar 41-28 victory over Hampton was his commitment to playing the newcomers.  In fact, it appears his biggest disappointment was that his offense could not slam the door with the ball and up 41-21 after a defensive stop.  Instead of blowing the Pirates out of the water with a 55-21 lead, Taylor Heinicke threw consecutive picks that kept the game tight until the final three minutes.

This cost ODU the opportunity to clear the benches and give the 27 newcomers who played more snaps on both sides of the ball.

ODU was committed to playing freshman last season in an attempt to develop their roster and it wasn’t always pretty.  That appears to be the plan of action in 2014 and once again there will be some growing pains.  Isaiah Worthy is one of those freshman at outside linebacker and he was singled out as having an exceptional performance, registering two recovered fumbles in the second half.

Coach Wilder also pointed out that the linebackers were not always in the correct coverages which allowed rather easy completions in critical third down situations.  Until that gets cleaned up, he believes teams will simply elect to pass on the Monarchs.

Wilder mentioned on several occasions that he was concerned about depth at linebacker, a supposed non-issue entering fall camp.  Martez Simpson, a first team outside linebacker, missed the opener but is expected back for NC State.  Wilder hinted at more nickel and dime packages as a means to make up for the potential depth issues at linebacker.  ODU does have some talented safeties that they would like to get on the field and nickel is one way to do it.

Here’s the video:

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An early look at NC State

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ODU (1-0) gets their fourth crack at an ACC team on the road in two seasons as the Monarchs face NC State (1-0) in Raleigh on Saturday on ESPN3.com.  The Wolfpack are currently a 16.5 point favorite which seems high but keep in mind how ODU performed at Maryland last season.

NC State barely survived Georgia Southern on Saturday with a fortunate 24-23 win.  GSU controlled the game but struggled in the red zone, settling for field goals and coughing up the ball at the one yard line.

This was the first game for Florida transfer QB Jacoby Brissett and he was both hot and cold.  During the first half, the Wolfpack under Dave Doeren ran every offensive package in the book.  They would run an empty set, then two tight ends.  On third and short Brissett would split out wide and they would run the wildcat.  When NC State wanted to go fast, they went pretty fast.  Faster than ODU went against Hampton on Saturday.

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Video: NC State to debut interesting alternate uniform against ODU

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We are about to begin to dig deep on NC State…really deep.  ODU travels to Raleigh to face the Wolfpack on Saturday at 6pm on ESPN3.com.  Both teams are 1-0 and one of these teams will look like a modern day Big Bad Wolf.

NC State is debuting their “Pack in Black” alternates for ODU in an attempt to make a statement.  This means it looks like ODU will be wearing the all whites.  Remember last time ODU went to ACC country dressed in white?  Me neither.

I hope it’s 112 degrees outside.

Here’s the video:

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