Opposition Danger Men: Old Dominion

We go from a team who is still new to the SEC to a team who is new to FBS football in general as our danger men preview goes from Missouri to Old Dominion. In this series is we are taking a closer look at a couple of difference makers who Vandy will come up against in this non-conference clash. These are the guys that the coaches must game plan for if the 2014 Commodore season is to be a success.

Old Dominion

Offense: QB – Taylor Heinicke

This is going to sound like a stretch to those who are not up on the ways of transitioning FCS/FBS teams, but Heinicke is better than at least two thirds of the quarterbacks Vandy will face this fall. Old Dominion runs a high play volume, up tempo offense which aims to get in as many plays as possible during a game. Most of these play calls will have two or three different options at the line of scrimmage and it is up to Heinicke to make the right adjustments depending on the defensive alignment to put ODU in a position to score.

There is no doubt that this quarterback driven offense will score either. Heinicke is the biggest reason that this isn’t your typical transition team. He first appeared on scout’s radars when he threw for an NCAA all division record 730, yes, SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY, yards in a 64-61 win over New Hampshire two years ago. Even last year with a mixed FCB/FBS schedule Heinicke threw for over 4,000 yards, with nine 300-yard plus performances, and passed for 33 touchdowns. These numbers will go down somewhat with a step up in competition, but there is no doubt that Heinicke will continue to put up big numbers and have monster games throughout the season.

Defense: TBD

The last time we saw this Monarch defense in action they were on the reverse end of an 80 point beat down in which the final quarter was actually reduced to a ten minute period. The game was actually 14-13 at the end of the first quarter before Old Dominion imploded and North Carolina had their record setting day.

All that is a really long winded way of saying that this is a defensive unit without a leader entering 2014. A combination of youth and injuries tore the Monarchs apart on the defensive ball as last fall went on. At one point the team was down to just two and a half healthy linebackers and a combination of no pressure upfront, and a lack of talent in the secondary, saw Old Dominion fall apart and games get out of hand.

There is hope however. A combination of game ready JUCO transfers and a year in the system for some of the younger players who were found out in 2014 means that this should be an entirely different unit when games begin. It is still though a team without a playmaker. There is no one you look at on that side of the ball and know you will have to beat play in and play out for the Commodores to be successful.

Maybe by game day this will have changed and someone will have emerged, if not it could be another very long season defensively for the Monarchs.

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