A Look at the Monarchs First 2014 Football Opponent
Raising the bar is always the goal for Old Dominion University football. On Aug. 30, a new journey commences and a battle will be initiated between the Monarchs and the Hampton University Pirates.
It’ll be a year of reformation for Hampton’s new head coach, Connell Maynor, as he will immediately be faced with tasks that seem almost impossible
The Monarchs have had no trouble in recent contests with Hampton, outscoring them 118-63 on the way to a 3-0 series record. The last time these two teams met was in 2012, when a sans fourth quarter 45-7 aerial attack took place in Armstrong Stadium, led by ODU’s Taylor Heinicke. Heinicke threw for 213 yards and three touchdowns while scrambling for 63 yards on 11 carries.
This game will have lots of new faces, philosophies and fans, but some things will remain constant. The Pirates will have to deal with the likes of Coach Wilder, Heinicke and Larry Pinkard once again. The Pirates finished the 2013-14 season at a disappointing 4-8, and an average 4-4 in MEAC conference play.
Maynor is a producer of success. He had a prosperous run at Division II Winston-Salem State during which he led the Rams to a four-year record of 45-6 while clinching a berth in the 2012 Division II Championship Game. In his four years as a head coach, he led the Rams to three double-digit win seasons.
Fresh off of National Signing Day, the Pirates will have an interesting spring camp, especially at the quarterback position. Hampton split time at quarterback between Bryan Bailey and Jaylian Williamson.
Bailey threw 96-of-171 for 1,131 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions on the season while Williamson completed 70-of-131 for 676 yards and five scores with four interceptions.
Maynor felt like the class he targeted and signed is filled with immediate impact players.
“These guys can play; they’ll come in and battle right away. No one has a job, everyone has to compete for a spot. Everyone has to go out there and work hard and prove what they can do and show us that they can go out there and play 60 minutes of Pirate football,” Maynor said.
The Pirates signed 11 players to a Letter of Intent that includes two Hampton Roads players and three transfers.
On the offensive side of the ball, Hampton doesn’t have to worry about filling many holes. The Pirates will be returning quite a few offensive starters. Jorrian Washington was the leading ball carrier on the team with 699 yards and five touchdowns while Marcus Hampton rushed 72 times for 441 yards and four touchdowns.
The Pirates return their top three leading receivers in Antwon Chisholm, Twarn Mixson and Washington. Chisholm caught 49 receptions for 540 yards and five touchdowns while Mixson snagged 22 catches for 408 yards and four touchdowns. Washington reeled in 32 passes out of the backfield for 225 yards and two touchdowns.
On the defensive side, Hampton will have some major reconstruction to do in spring practice. The Pirates lost their top three leading tacklers from a season ago, but bring back the fourth leading tackler in linebacker Joshua Torne.
Thorne accounted for 115 tackles and a team-high 12.5 tackles for loss. Maynor said he feels that the Pirates will be just fine with what they’ve got and what they already had.
“We got just about every position we needed,” Maynor said. “We might need a little bit more on the offensive line, but we’ll get a better idea of that after spring ball, once we have a better idea of what our strengths and weaknesses are.”
Hampton has been consistent in putting players in the NFL. Since 1963, Hampton has had 20 players enter the NFL. The most notable names have been Justin Durant (Jaguars 2007), who is currently a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys and Cordell Taylor (Jaguars 1998).
When Aug. 30 rolls around, the lights will be lit, the popcorn will be popped and fans lungs will be exhausted as the Tidewater rivalry continues.
By Mitchell Brown