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Mace & Crown | April 22, 2018

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Monarchs spring into the new season

Contributing Writer | Josh Castro

Spring training for the ODU football team, kicked off with a bang, with the Monarchs hoping to set the record straight in 2018. Last season saw a string of losses as the team unsuccessfully took on some of the biggest names in town, losing in a big way to the likes of UNC and Virginia Tech. The training, which began on March 13th and will run all the way until the first Spring Game on April 14th, will see the return of 18 starters from last year’s squad, and the addition of some news faces.

One of the biggest highlights from last season was Bobby Wilder’s decision to start then freshman quarterback Steven Williams, who for the most part gave better than he got and made the best out of ODU’s situation, one which saw a series of big time players plagued with injuries and forced to the sidelines. Williams, who did not have a single turnover in his last four games of the 2017 season, is back for 2018 and hopefully, with all the experience he gained from last season, better than ever.

Speaking with local tidewater channel News 3, Head Coach Bobby Wilder sounded optimistic about the forthcoming season.  “I feel really good about where we are right now,” He said during the interview. “Number one: because of how they’re handling the elements. They’ve come out with a great attitude every day, working to get better. This is a veteran team with 22 seniors so we can practice hard.”

No one has a better reason to keep a positive attitude than Jonathan Durhart, one of ODU’s star receivers who battled injuries last season, and looks to make 2018 one of his, and hopefully ODU’s best years yet. Without him, Wilder’s offense saw a significant drop in action, where receivers averaged only 20.7 points and 332.3 yards per game, which put them as the 11th ranked team in C-USA. He spoke exclusively to the Mace & Crown about how he feels wrapping up spring training alongside his team. “It feels good! I haven’t played in a few months so I’m still trying to get back in the flow of it, but it’s good.”

It may be hard to put the shame of last year behind them, but so far the Monarchs are looking golden for this 2018 season, and with a fresh lineup, there’s no telling what they are capable of.