NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Starting his first year on Old Dominion's coaching staff, offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude is the elder statesman of the coaching staff. His players have no issues reminding him of that.
"It's kind of a little joke. He's the granddad of the team," smiled defensive tackle Alonzo Ford. "He has good wisdom and just talking to him, he's cool guy. He'll give you some advice and stuff like that."
"When I came here, let's not forget it was the youngest staff in the country," Patenaude said. "I like to say I bring a little season to the pot, but I have plenty of energy, plenty of juice for this thing."
Patenaude brings 30 years of coaching experience to Norfolk, most recently as the offensive coordinator for Georgia Tech. He and Monarchs' head coach Ricky Rahne worked together at Holy Cross in 2004 and the two kept in touch, especially during Rahne's time at Penn State while Patenaude was at Temple, crossing paths at high school coaching clinics and other events. Now one of the newest Monarch coaches feels he's part of something special.
"It's a program that's on the rise and it's fun to get in on the ground floor of situations like this. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Rahne and the things that he's put in place here," said Patenaude. "It's a great group of kids, they just want to play, and we're 20 minutes from the beach. If I can coach a little ball and put my feet in the sand, that's a good life."
The new offensive coordinator noted that his goal is to keep the good run-pass balance that he's seen from Old Dominion in recent years. Also on his plate, serving as quarterbacks coach, where he'll lead an open quarterback race heading into the season. Patenaude says there will not be a starter named coming out of spring ball and that Hayden Wolff, D.J. Mack, Brendon Clark and Reese Poffenbarger are all in the mix, though Wolff is taking first team reps as the returning starting quarterback.
"It's almost dead even on the amount of reps that we've had, some of the younger guys are playing well, everybody's done a really nice job," he noted. "You're just trying to figure out what their skill sets are at this point. What are those things that, when we come back, what are they really really good at, and at the end of the day who gives us the best opportunity to win?"
The chance to be successful should present itself to the new offensive coordinator at many positions. 10 of the 11 starters from 2021 return, including skill players like wide receiver Ali Jennings, running back Blake Watson and tight end Zach Kuntz.
Old Dominion wraps up spring practice next week, as the workout period culminates with the annual Spring Game. That kicks off on April 9 at 2:00 PM at S.B. Ballard Stadium.