Monarchs focus on now as preseason camp kicks off

Old Dominion football 2022
Posted at 11:13 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 23:13:14-04

NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Old Dominion took the field behind the L.R. Hill Sports Complex on Tuesday morning, the first of many practices the Monarchs will endure between now and December. After a 6-7 campaign and a strong offseason of work, ODU opened the preseason for a long awaited 2022 slate.

"I would say satisfied after day one," head coach Ricky Rahne said. "I think that there's a lot of stuff we can work on. I thought we made some major improvements in some things, but there are also some other areas that I wish we would've done a little bit better that I was expecting us to do a little bit better."

"It felt great," added senior offensive lineman Nick Saldiveri. "Being able to come out here and finally put it to the test with my teammates as a full 11-on-11 thing was definitely good."

Experience graces the ODU roster. The Monarchs return 10 starters on offense and seven on defense, making them much more seasoned than a year ago. While one may think that the silver and blue would start further ahead of where they were last year at camp based on the number of veterans returning, however, Rahne said that's not necessarily the case.

"We're going to start from ground zero every single year," the head coach clarified. "You got too many news pieces in the way that college football is nowadays with freshmen, transfer portal, all that sorta thing. You've got to build from the ground up, your culture from the ground up, teach them how to practice from the ground up all the time."

Old Dominion's 2021 campaign was highlighted by a five game winning streak to end the regular season, catapulting them to bowl eligibility. Excitement is high for the upcoming schedule, featuring a non-conference slate full of in-state showdowns and a brand new Sun Belt lineup. Tuesday's practice marked exactly one month away from the highly-anticipated season opener against Virginia Tech, but it will be awhile before that comes up during a Monarch practice.

"We've got to be more concerned about ourselves and more concerned about getting better each and every period, each and every day," Rahne said. "If we try to get ready for a game right now, it's too long, it's too much anxiety, it builds up too much pressure. We'll get to that when we get to it."

"I just got done with practice today, I've got to go 1-0 at lunch right now," Saldiveri said of his focus. "I've got to go 1-0 at meetings later, at my lift and then I have to wipe my hands clean and come back tomorrow morning, team meeting and practice and then run it back again and again and again."

The Monarchs will grind through training camp to the tune of 25 practices in 31 days. Their media day is scheduled for August 22, with the season opener against the Hokies kicking off at 7:00 PM on September 2.