FOREST, Va. – The Old Dominion Athletic Conference released its 2013 football preseason coaches poll on Friday morning and Washington and Lee is picked to finish fourth among the league's eight football playing institutions.
Hampden-Sydney tops the poll after receiving three first-place votes and totaling 42 points. Randolph-Macon also received three first-place votes and notched 40 points for second-place, while Bridgewater was third with one first-place vote and 39 points. The Generals had 38 points and the final first-place vote, and they were followed by Emory & Henry (22), Guilford (22), Shenandoah (12) and Catholic (9).
The Generals return 10 starters and 44 letterwinners from last season's squad, which finished 8-3 overall and 6-1 in conference play. W&L claimed its second ODAC title in three seasons and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Hobart, 38-20.
Washington and Lee has experienced a tremendous amount of success of late, producing a 17-2 record in conference play since the beginning of the 2010 season. The Generals are also riding a 14-game home winning streak entering the 2013 campaign.
Headlining the returnees for W&L is preseason All-America offensive lineman Connor Hollenbeck (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta). A senior and three-year starter, Hollenbeck is the leader of an offensive line that paved the way for the top rushing offense in Division III last season, averaging 363.7 yards per game. Senior Bobby Jones (Lynchburg, Va./Heritage) also returns after garnering First Team All-ODAC recognition last season. They will block for returning Second Team All-ODAC quarterback Nick Lombardo (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge), who threw for 704 yards and seven touchdowns and ran for 1,010 yards and five more scores during his junior campaign in 2012.
On defense, the Generals are led by senior lineman Michael Unholz (Glen Allen, Va./Douglas Freeman), who totaled 36 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss, en route to posting Second Team All-ODAC laurels.
Washington and Lee will begin defense of its league title on September 7, when it hosts Franklin & Marshall for a 1:00 pm contest.