Photo courtesy of Old Dominion athletics
Three weeks into spring practice and one look at the roster indicates that Old Dominion is lacking depth at a key position.
The offensive line, anchored by redshirt senior left tackle Isaac Weaver, has 13 players listed on the online roster. Of those, 11 are freshmen or sophomores.
True sophomore Khadere Kounta was the third true freshman to start a game on the offensive line in 2019. He started six games at right tackle and one at left tackle.
Redshirt freshman Nick Saldiveri is the only of the three redshirt freshmen to have game experience.
“I think we are progressing great,” Saldiveri said. “I think we are finding ways to build chemistry and play harder but also be in control.”
Saldiveri started 11 games for the Monarchs in 2019. For him, depth seems to be less of a concern.
“We just know the guys that we have, that we have to play hard,” Saldiveri added. “You are going to get a lot of reps as long as you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, and being where you are supposed to be when you are on the field and playing hard. Everything is going to solve itself.”
Junior transfer Tyran Hunt saw action in eight games while at Maryland. Weaver however, is the heart and soul of the ODU offensive line, and its most experienced piece. Weaver has started 35 games for ODU, mostly at left tackle.
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“That first unit we’ve got a good group,” Monarchs’ offensive coordinator Kirk Campbell said. “We are trying to find out who is No. 6 and 7 right now and I think that’s an active competition for us. I think they are doing a great job of battling, some of those guys trying to get into that six or seven-role but we need to find out who that’s going to be and I think right now we do have six, but the starting line is doing a great job with Isaac Weaver and Saldiveri.”
For head coach Ricky Rahne, the depth is a concern.
“We just aren’t very deep right now, we have to get more depth,” Rahne said. “We might add one or two but we do have to develop more depth. It is coming along; it’s tough being a freshman sometimes. There’s a lot going on at the offensive line. It’s a thinking man’s game but also you have to be developed like a man because you have to block these guys and move them and all sorts of things.
“You don’t always want to depend on freshmen but you have to,” Rahne would go on to say. “We have to make sure we can keep developing that depth. I think (offensive line) Coach (Kevin) Reihner has been doing a great job to get those guys where they are at so far.”
Like Rahne, ODU fans will hope to see the progress continue. We will know a lot more after the spring game on April 2.