NORFOLK (WAVY) – For the first time in two years, the Old Dominion University football program is enjoying Spring practice.
The Monarchs held their first of 15 practices Monday on the practice fields right behind the L.R. Hill Sportsplex. It was ODU’s first Spring practice under new head coach Ricky Rahne, who was hired as Bobby Wilder’s successor back in December of 2019.
“Everything about this (the timeline) has been odd,” said Rahne after practice .” I’m pretty used to things being seeming a little different than what I was expecting.”
The last time ODU played a season was 2019. The Monarchs won just one game that year. Spring practice in 2020 had to be cancelled following the chaos caused by COVID-19. The administration decided to opt out of playing in the Fall, citing safety concerns. ODU was the only FBS program in the country affiliated with a conference not to play.
But as is the case with every Spring season, it’s a new beginning. “We know we’ll be playing a season this year. Everything that happened in the past has happened and that’s all behind us,” said senior Isaac Weaver.
Rahne says he sees a team with “renewed love for the game of football.
“Maybe before, it was a job. Coaches included,” said Rahne. “Now, we know it can be taken away from us, and I think every day out here is an absolute blessing.”
The team will play its annual Spring game on April 3 inside SB Ballard Stadium, though, likely without fans. ODU opens the 2021 season on the road at Wake Forest.