Minium: Former ODU star Zach Pascal Had a Career Day for the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday
By ODU Athletics
By Harry Minium
Zach Pascal had a career NFL day on Sunday, leading the Indianapolis Colts to a 30-23 victory that put them back in the AFC South Division lead.
Pascal caught six passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw for a pass in which he just missed Nyheim Hines for a touchdown.
In all, Pascal had career high numbers in receptions, receiving yards, receiving TDs, all-purpose yards, kickoff returns and kickoff return yards.
“Today was just a day where we all come out and executed,” he told the Associated Press.
“We all just came out here to have fun. That’s all it was.”
Old Dominion coach Bobby Wilder said he and Paschal exchanged text messages on Sunday.
“Zach’s a guy who’s just worked himself into the NFL,” Wilder said. “He wasn’t recruited highly out of high school. He came here as a defensive back and asked me his freshman year if he can move to wideout. He just got better and better.
“What’s most impressive to me is that he embraces the role. Whether he’s asked to do something on special teams or on punt block unit or he’s kickoff return guy, he’s a slot back or a quarterback on a specialty play. Guys that embrace that generally have success. It makes it a lot easier for me to talk to our guys about here’s what you need to do.
"Zach was always the first person on the practice field and the last person to leave. He does that with the Colts.”
Zach Pascal returns the ball for the Colts earlier this season.
“Zach’s that guy that’s going to do all the dirty work,” quarterback Jacoby Brissett told the Indianapolis Star. “When those guys do those things in the running game, you have to reward them, and you know how much and how precious it is for him.”
Pascal has also become a fan favorite in part because of his post-game ritual in which he plays catch with the football with people in the stands. At the end of his ritual, he usually gives the ball to a young person.
Lane Kiffin brings his colorful personality and Twitter habits to ODU
Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin, whose colorful Tweets are a must-read for avid football fans around the country, has been fined $5,000 by Conference USA for a Tweet he sent out Saturday night.
Kiffin fumed about the referees without overly criticizing them following a 36-31 loss to Marshall last Friday night. But a night later, he let loose on Twitter, depicting three referees with dark glasses, canes and seeing eye dogs in a doctored photo.
After being fined $5,000 by Conference USA commissioner Judy MacLeod, he complained to the Florida Sun-Sentinel that he doesn’t have the freedom to speak nor even Tweet out his feelings about referees.
“I just lost $5,000 for a Tweet,” Kiffin said. “We have freedom of speech, but I guess around here there's no such thing as freedom to Tweet. Maybe LeBron James will come out and comment about it tomorrow.”
Kiffin brings his football team, along with his always-busy Twitter account, to S.B. Ballard Stadium Saturday, where the Owls face off with the Monarchs at 3:30 p.m. It will be Homecoming for ODU.
Kiffin tagged his Tweet to Conference USA’s Twitter account when he sent it, meaning he meant for C-USA officials to see it.
Under the circumstances, MacLeod had no choice but to fine him.
“Conference USA has specific rules and standards regarding sportsmanship which have been adopted by our membership,” MacLeod said in a statement sent by the conference. “We have an obligation to enforce our rules, including the prohibition of public criticism of officiating.”
“Obviously I wasn’t very happy with the officials during the game," Kiffin told the Sun-Sentinel on Sunday. "I thought what I sent was kind of a funny tweet. I guess they didn’t think it was as funny as I did.”
Kiffin said conference officials told him there were “inconsistencies” with the officiating crew and that problems will be dealt with internally and privately.
“What’s that going to do for us? Nothing,” Kiffin said. “It’s not like we’re going to win the game or something.”
Monday morning, Kiffin Tweeted to President Donald Trump saying “a little help please pres????”
Kiffin often trolls President Trump, who did not answer.
Wilder on what ails ODU’s offense
ODU had just 150 yards of total offense in the 38-14 loss at UAB last weekend.
The Monarchs rank a very respectable 38th in total defense among the nation’s 130 Football Bowl Subdivision schools, but are dead last in total offense with an average of 242.6 yards. That's the primary reason ODU is 1-6 and has lost six in a row.
Wilder says it’s no secret to why his offense is struggling. Since wide receiver Eric Kumah went out with an injury, ODU’s passing attack hasn’t really been a threat. In fact, tailback Kesean Strong is first and Kumah, who has missed four games, is third on ODU in pass receiving.
Strong is also playing through injuries.
“When I look at our offense right now it is the entire unit,” he said. “It’s protection, the routes, catching the ball. UAB played predominately man coverage in this game. They said ‘we’re going to load the box so you can’t run it and you’re going to have to beat us with your guys catching the ball.'
“Until we start catching the ball, that’s the book on us right now.”
Teams that generally play zone defenses are adjusting largely to man-to-man coverage when they play ODU, Wilder said, and his receivers aren't doing what they're supposed to do -- making difficult catches.
Five passes from quarterback Messiah deWeaver were dropped and four so called 50-50 balls, those thrown up for grabs so that a covered receiver has a chance, weren't caught.
“The reason you’re seeing so many negative plays on offense is because we are getting blitzed on nearly every snap,” he said. “When you don’t block well we don’t get a run play. If we don’t protect it or catch it, we don’t hit the pass plays.
“It’s really that simple. Until we show an ability to pass and catch the ball, that’s what we’re going to see. It’s all self-inflicted. It wasn’t anything UAB did.”
There's more than football during Homecoming
There will be a lot more than football happening on campus this week. It’s Homecoming and there will be student activities through the week.
Homecoming generally draws one of the biggest crowds of the season as alumni come back to campus to see old friends, parents of students often attend.
Saturday morning at 11 a.m. there will be a homecoming parade – it’s best to watch from Hampton Boulevard or 49th Street – and at halftime Royal Monarchs will be crowned.
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