Virginia Tech Football: Old Dominion Q&A

To view Old Dominion from a historical lens, TKP spoke to quasi-757 historian David Teel.

[Old Dominion Athletics]

After starting slow in Greenville a week ago, the Hokies came storming back with 57 unanswered points to remain undefeated through the season's first three weeks. Old Dominion awaits the Hokies next, one final tune-up before what promises to be a monumental showdown with No. 2 Clemson in Blacksburg.

To gather some unique first-hand perspective on the Monarchs, I spoke to David Teel, columnist for the Daily Press and the unquestioned best sportswriter in the Commonwealth.

JC: Old Dominion has enjoyed a rapid ascent to major college football in recent years, a charge led in part by longtime head coach Bobby Wilder. As someone who's been fortunate enough to have a birds-eye view of the culture shift in Norfolk, how impressed have you been with Wilder's ability to revitalize this Monarchs program? Is it fair to equate his impact at Old Dominion to Frank Beamer's in Blacksburg?

DT: Bobby Wilder didn't rebuild ODU football. He built it from scratch. The Monarchs hadn't played the sport since 1940, and all he's done since arriving in Norfolk in early 2007 is make the program among college football's most remarkable start-ups. Since starting competition in 2009, ODU is 69-31 and has endured only one losing season, a testament to Wilder's ability as a coach and salesman – he's a natural on the stump. The Monarchs thrived in the Colonial Athletic Association, arguably the Championship Subdivision's strongest league, and are competitive in Conference USA, a weaker Bowl Subdivision league. But let's be clear, eight-plus seasons do not approach Beamer's 29 in Blacksburg, as Wilder would be the first to tell you.

JC: Some Tech fans squabbled at the thought of a home-and-home series with ODU, while others seemed to recognize the potential value of the occasional road quest into the fertile recruiting grounds of the 757. Do you see this as a win-win matchup for both programs, or is Tech exposing itself to unnecessary risk against an up-and-coming Monarchs team poised to eventually play spoiler to a high-major foe?

DT: Selfishly, I like this series since it brings the Hokies to my hood for the first time since the 1986 Oyster Bowl in Norfolk against Temple. That said, by the time the latest contract between the schools expires in 2031, I may be watching from my nursing home room holding a drool cup. But I do understand fans questioning the wisdom of scheduling one program 13 times in 15 years. Not that it's risky. Playing ODU isn't any more or less risky than playing Marshall or Appalachian State. And those are the types of programs we're talking about — those from the Group of Five conferences. You can't schedule every non-conference game against Michigan or West Virginia or Notre Dame. So when playing a G5, why not save travel and guarantee money and make it against an in-state opponent from an essential recruiting region? The lone downside here is that the Monarchs don't continue to improve and that annual blowouts make the series stale.

JC: Old Dominion opened the 2017 season with two straight victories before taking one on the chin last weekend against a reeling North Carolina team. Are the Monarchs still a few recruiting classes away from truly competing against the top half of the ACC? Where are the biggest gaps Wilder's tasked with filling?

DT: A few recruiting classes, indeed. ODU is 0-8 versus Power Five opponents, 0-7 against the ACC, and all were decided by at least two scores. Here's a telling nugget from Wilder: Only one of his players, junior defensive tackle Miles Fox, had multiple Power Five offers (Georgia Tech and Iowa).

JC: With most lines hovering in the high-20's ahead of Saturday's in-state clash, it's no secret Tech is the prohibitive favorite in this one. What's the recipe Old Dominion must follow to stay within striking distance of Josh Jackson and company?

DT: To be remotely competitive, the Monarchs will have to do what West Virginia, Delaware and East Carolina could not: Force the Hokies into turnovers. In that vein, ODU needs to rediscover a pass rush that produced 15 sacks in victories over Albany and UMass but only one in the loss to North Carolina. Finally, the Monarchs must help Stevie Williams, their true freshman quarterback who's the youngest quarterback in the FBS and has never started a college game.

JC: Prediction time: do the Hokies roll to 4-0, or can the Monarchs pull off a stunner in Lane Stadium?

DT: The margin may not match last week's, but Tech will win comfortably and move to 4-0 for the first time since 2011, when it's fifth game was against...Clemson at home. Sound familiar?

Comments

Excellent concluding question, however I would say French is a much better writer in my totally non-biased opinion...

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

That royal lion is so high he doesn't know where he is right now and just wants to hug everyone.

I like Teel's take on the series with ODU; I think that's about as succinctly put as it could get IMHO.

Playing ODU isn't any more or less risky than playing Marshall or Appalachian State. And those are the types of programs we're talking about — those from the Group of Five conferences. You can't schedule every non-conference game against Michigan or West Virginia or Notre Dame. So when playing a G5, why not save travel and guarantee money and make it against an in-state opponent from an essential recruiting region?

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Tech will win comfortably and move to 4-0 for the first time since 2011, when it's fifth game was against...Clemson at home. Sound familiar?

I remember that game...

Yeah that was kind of a gut punch / reality check

Coach Fuente and Coach Foster...because you're doubly f***ed

I think you mean 57 unanswered points. Commenting on a beatdown of ECU is not the right time to be modest, Joey. As expected, Mr. Teel has a pretty astute take on college football.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

How Teel is not writing for a national publisher blows my mind. The goat.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

So you're saying the season is going to end at the Sugar Bowl? I'll take that.

Nope, we have more game after that.

It hurts to say it but I guarantee that we lose one to ODU in the future.

Touchdown Tech!!!

yeah, same season we lose to loluva...

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

Meet Charles The Monarch...dog....

Not gonna lie... I can't hate on a dog.

Can you hate on the school that shaved a dog to look like a lion?

Definitely hate on irresponsible dog owners.

Only if it's unhealthy for the dog (like double coated dogs). This is kinda neat.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.


Growley says bring it on

DT: The margin may not match last week's, but Tech will win comfortably and move to 4-0 for the first time since 2011, when it's fifth game was against...Clemson at home. Sound familiar?

Let's Go

HOKIES

I read his last line and wished I knew how to post the "don't you put that evil on me Ricky Bobby" gif. Quick, someone post it for me.

I got you, fam.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..