Old Dominion coach Bobby Wilder fired defensive coordinator Andy Rondeau and secondary coach Jarod Dodson on Wednesday, the beginning of a shakeup in what he said was his primary area of concern.
Wilder elevated offensive line coach Bill Dee to defensive coordinator and moved wide receivers coach Keita Malloy to the secondary. Wilder also announced that he had re-hired Zohn Burden to coach wide receivers. Burden spent three years at ODU before moving to Richmond to coach the wide receivers in 2011.
"I have determined that we need to make immediate improvements to our defense as we prepare for the 2012 season," Wilder said in a statement released through the athletic department. "By moving two of our best football coaches to defense and adjusting our scheme to better fit our personnel, I am confident we will improve dramatically over this past season's performance on defense."
Dee, the former Phoebus High coach, joined ODU's staff last summer after two years at Christopher Newport. Malloy just concluded his fourth season at ODU coaching the wide receivers and tight ends. He was elevated to passing game coordinator for the 2011 season.
"I just wanted to get into the program and do what I was told," Dee said. "I told Coach Wilder that I would do whatever they asked me to do. He approached me about being the defensive coordinator and I didn't hesitate. It's a great opportunity.
"I loved coaching the O-line, but being a high school coach gave me experience in a lot of different areas. We always took a lot of pride in our defense at Phoebus. I think we can be a very good defense here."
Dee acknowledged that replacing defensive linemen Ronnie Cameron, the CAA defensive player of the year, Eddie McClam and Chad King will be difficult, but he said plenty of experience and talent remains.
Dee hasn't settled on a specific defensive scheme as he meets with and evaluates players and this season's performances.
"One thing I want to do is play aggressively," he said. "I want to play fast, and you can do that out of a lot of schemes."
Rondeau was one of Wilder's original hires when he got the head coaching job. He had coached at Maine with Wilder prior to coming to ODU. Dodson, the assistant defensive coordinator, has been on ODU's staff since 2009 after serving as assistant coach at the University of Buffalo.
The Monarchs just concluded a 10-3 season that featured a second-place finish in the CAA and a playoff berth in their first year as competing conference members. The Monarchs led the CAA in scoring and total offense, but finished in the middle to bottom in most defensive categories.
"I feel confident that we have a talented group of assistant coaches who will do whatever it takes to get the job done on defense in 2012," Wilder said in the release. "Our defensive performance needs to match that of our special teams and our offense."
Dee said, "I just got the job today. I'm coming from the other side of the ball, so I haven't looked at a whole lot of tape yet. I'll get together with the staff and we'll evaluate what we have and decide where to go from there."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun