Between the Hash Marks: ODU Football


Photo courtesy of Virginian Pilot

By James Onuska, Sports Editor

Originally published June 17, 2021.


There is so much to be excited about in Norfolk, Virginia with the return of Old Dominion University football and the start of Head Coach Ricky Rahne–era. Last year’s season was fully suspended when we all were impacted from Covid-19, which resulted in no Monarch football and the anticipated start to newly hired Head Coach Ricky Rahne. With developments in vaccinations and strict guidelines and protocols, the 2021 season is set to get started with spring practices already underway.


Coach Rahne has had time to mold his coaching staff and start recruiting which has yielded the two best classes of freshmen since ODU began playing football, according to the 247Sports recruiting service. This makes the program young with lots of potential for ODU football and has players, staff, fans, and alumni excited for the future.


With 43 freshmen and redshirt freshman on an 88 man roster, patience is a must. The coaching staff will have a lot of long hours ahead of them as they get these young players the experience necessary to wear the pads and play Saturday football. The ultimate test is seeing how players and staff buy into Coach Rahne’s coaching philosophy and producing a winning program at Old Dominion University.


There are several challenges ahead for the program beginning with who will lead the Monarchs as starting Quarterback. With five quarterbacks on the roster Coach, Rahne and staff will have their hands full developing them while making a decision on the best man for the position. ODU has acquired transfer QB D.J. Mack from the University of Central Florida. Mack led the UCF Knights to a win in the 2018 American Athletic Conference championship game while taking home the MVP of the game. Mack is expected to compete for the job against senior QB Stone Smartt, and redshirt freshman Hayden Wolff.


Getting these young players and transfer players reps poses another challenge for the team. This is why it is imperative that the team participates in spring football and begin establishing the comradery essential in a winning program. There is also the upcoming fall schedule which will test the Monarchs in the early going. ODU opens the season at Wake Forest on September 3rd. The following week ODU opens their home season with a match-up versus the Hampton Pirates.

The Monarchs are slated for a 12 game season, and as long as safety precautions are met the season will be played in its entirety. Season tickets are already available for sale and preparations are being made to allow for fans to sit in seats. The team will also return the light blue uniform coined “Carol Hudson Blue”, a name used more than ten years ago when the uniforms were last worn.


With so many great changes in the stadium and program in the last few years, this makes for an exciting upcoming season.


Come enjoy the reconstructed food vendors, additional seating, and the electrifying program being built here at Old Dominion University. Go Monarchs!