NORFOLK, Va. - On Thursday afternoon, the Old Dominion football team opened its fall camp.
"It's nice not having to be in a mask and them being able to see how angry I am at points, or how happy I am at others," ODU head coach Ricky Rahne joked. "It just felt a lot more like football."
It certainly feels like football season, which gets underway for ODU in just under a month.
When it comes to expectations for the season, the Monarchs are more concerned with getting better day-by-day at camp. Although, many outside of the program have already formulated their own expectations for the team... and they're not high.
ODU is predicted to finish last in their conference, and at the national level, CBSSports.com has ODU ranked second to last in the preseason ranking of all 130 FBS programs.
Lots of predictions, but not much to base them off of, because the Monarchs have not taken the field since 2019 and we have yet to see a Ricky Rahne-led ODU football team. As for the Monarchs' mentality, they've been hard at work for more than a year and could not care less about the outside noise.
"I don't really know what the preseason picks are to be honest" ODU safety Joe Joe Headen said. "I'm really just focused on us. That's all I can really focus on. Focus on my safety group, focus on the defense and focus on the whole team. That's my big picture."
"We're past what other people think about us right now," Rahne said. "We went a whole year without playing and a lot of people had things to say and those sort of things. Right now we're about eachother, and our belief in eachother and that's the most important thing."
The Monarchs will face their first test of the season when they travel to Wake Forest on September 3rd. The following week, they return to S.B. Ballard Stadium for the first time since 2019 when they host Hampton University in their home opener.