Opinions differ: ODU penalties upset Laycock, but Wilder defends his Monarchs

The postgame handshake, such as it was, said it all.

William and Mary coach Jimmye Laycock met Old Dominion counterpart Bobby Wilder near midfield Saturday night, extended his right hand and kept walking toward the locker room.

Nary a word was spoken.

Plenty have been since, few of them cordial.

The ODU-William and Mary football rivalry may not have history. But it does have bad blood.

Laycock's Tribe won the first meeting between these Hampton Roads neighbors, 21-17 at Foreman Field, but he was steamed nonetheless. And uncharacteristically, he vented publicly.

Laycock took exception to the Monarchs' play, which he considered chippy at best. That officials flagged ODU for five personal fouls and 100 penalty yards gave him plenty of ammo.

After watching game tape, Laycock was no less torqued than after the game.

"The situation speaks for itself so far as the personal fouls that were called," he said. "I know as a coach I take a great deal of pride in the way that our players perform on the field and the way they carry themselves and the way they handle themselves.

"And I take a great deal of pride in the fact that we're leading the (Colonial Athletic Association) in fewest penalties. And I take a great deal of pride in our players' composure Saturday night."

Indeed, the Tribe leads the CAA and is seventh nationally in fewest penalty yards, at 25 per game.

Conversely, ODU is 110th nationally among 117 Championship Subdivision teams at 90.7 yards per game. In three contests, the Monarchs have been flagged 21 times for 272 yards, meaning most are major fouls.

Last season, ODU's first since reviving football, was similar. The Monarchs ranked 111th in penalty yards at 80.9 per game.

Regardless, Wilder bristled at Laycock's criticism.

"I almost felt like they waved the finger at us a little bit in terms of some of the (pregame) comments they made," he said during his Monday news conference. "I felt like that really led to some raised emotions during the game and led to some things that were said after the game or maybe some of the penalties during the game."

The Tribe's remarks during game week were tame and no excuse for cheap shots, the emotions of football notwithstanding. The question is, were the Monarchs guilty?

I don't have access to the coaches' tape, but Wilder said he reviewed every play three times. His conclusions: ODU warranted two of the five personal fouls, William and Mary some that were not called.

"I've always felt as a head coach, you need to coach your own team and you should comment on your own team," Wilder told the Virginian-Pilot. "So in my opinion, and the way I handle my business and our program handles our business is, we speak to one football team, and that's Old Dominion.

"We're a program that's just 14 games old. We're learning."

As a pot-stirring keyboard jockey, I've got no problem with Laycock going public and Wilder responding. Their dialogue provides fodder for not only media but also fans.

Watching from the press box, ODU appeared more physical from the start. Whether the Monarchs crossed a line can and will be debated, with right-and-wrong as elusive as Jonathan Grimes and Colby Goodwyn.

This much we do know: A grabbing-the-facemask personal foul against Ronnie Cameron - Wilder disputes the call - and subsequent pass interference on Donald Smith fueled William and Mary's drive to the winning touchdown.

"It was an emotional football game and those are the games you love to be in," Wilder said. "It's hard for me to explain what it felt like down there on the field. I've been in a lot of games in 23 years, and there was nothing that comes close to this emotion."

Wait until next season in Williamsburg, Coach. The tentative date, Nov. 12, is circled on the calendar.

David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at dteel@dailypress.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime, and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP. Sign up for text alerts by texting "BIGSPORTS" to 71593.

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