The 2018 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Old Dominion Monarchs.
No. 118: Old Dominion Monarchs
Old Dominion Prespring Status
There was hope in a disappointing season. After going 10-3 in 2016, 2017 was supposed to be when the Monarchs rose up and became an even bigger factor in the Conference USA race, but the defense went bye-bye. A three-game winning streak late in put ODU in a position to go bowling with a win over Middle Tennessee.
One 41-10 loss later, and now there’s a rallying cry for the program coming off a losing season.
It’s a program that knows what it’s like to win, and there’s enough returning talent to think that last year was a blip. However, star RB Ray Lawry has to be replaced, and the D has to be a whole lot stronger and consistent.
Old Dominion Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Quarterback. If Jeremy Cox can return healthy after being knocked out for the final month of last season, the running back situation will be fine. However, the quarterback play has to be far better after Steven Williams – despite seeing time as a 17-year-old starter – threw 11 picks and just six touchdown passes.
Williams is the favorite, but Blake LaRussa and Jordan Hoy have seen enough time to fight for the job. For the nation’s 111th-ranked passing offense and was 120th in efficiency, someone has to step up and make the O move, because …
Old Dominion Biggest Issue
Downfield passing game. There wasn’t one. Only five teams – Army, Charlotte, Ball State, Rutgers and UTEP – averaged fewer yards per attempt than ODU, who came up with 5.8 yards per pass. the receivers averaged a mere 10.5 yards per catch, with too many midrange plays and not enough home runs.
Compared to 2016 – when ODU averaged close to 14 yards per grab with 31 touchdown passes – the air attack fell off the map. However, the top two targets – Isaiah Harper and Travis Fulgham – are back.
Old Dominion Biggest Positive
Almost all of the key defensive parts return. A bit of a rebuild had to be done, especially in the linebacking corps, and it showed in a rocky year for a defense that finished among the worst in a mediocre Conference USA. However, the top five tacklers return, and seven of the eight pass rushers – the sacks were there – are back.
Really, Why Are The Old Dominion Monarchs Ranked Here?
Just how far off are the Monarchs from being the team that hit the ten-win mark two years ago? There was a redo being done throughout last year, but it all came down to the offense – it didn’t work.
In 2016, quarterback David Washington was fantastic and Lawry was a force – last year he was hurt. The O has to be dangerous again – after scoring 208 fewer points – and the pressure has to be taken off the D.