Photo courtesy of Old Dominion athletics
For many programs, the spring game is a fan showcase. For first-year Old Dominion head coach Ricky Rahne, it was to be an unveiling of the new-look Monarchs.
But what happens when your conference cancels all practices and scrimmages?
That’s the predicament Old Dominion and new coach Rahne find themselves in. Conference USA announced Wednesday that all formal and organized practices for the spring semester were canceled.
The cancellation of spring practices will handicap all programs. But this is especially true for a program going into their first season with a new coach. This was the last thing this young team needed.
With redshirt sophomore Hayden Wolff and a team looking to rebound from a 1-11 season, spring practice was key. The cancellation of practice means that the offensive installation must wait until fall. At that point, the Monarchs will have to install it quickly with true freshmen and seniors alike.
While formal events are scrapped, the conference said that team activities like individual workouts will be governed by the NCAA at each school’s discretion. Wolff is back home in Florida, training with his brother — highly-recruited wide receiver Weston Wolff.
Monarchs Going Forward
Of course, this doesn’t only affect ODU, but the Monarchs need all the time they can get to learn a new system. While there are more important issues than college football at this point, this will definitely affect the Monarchs. They have a critical season in front of them, playing two ACC foes at home, as Wake Forest and Virginia visit Norfolk.
Monarch Recruiting Affected by COVID-19
While the blow to spring practice is one thing, recruiting limitations are another. Bigger schools, such as in-state Virginia Tech and UVA, will be fine. Everyone knows who the Hokies and Cavaliers are, but a young program like ODU’s could see a hit in its recruiting. Rahne will have to beat out Virginia Tech and UVA for prospects once the NCAA-mandated recruiting dead period is over.
Rahne’s inaugural Monarch squad now looks toward fall camp as they prepare for what could be the most challenging schedule in program history. For the fans, we now look forward to the Friday, Sept. 4 showdown, as Wake Forest visits S.B. Ballard Stadium.