Old Dominion Monarchs Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Old Dominion season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Old Dominion Monarchs Preview
Ricky Rahne: 6-7, 2nd year at Old Dominion,
2nd year overall, 6-7, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 6-7, Conference: 5-3
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Old Dominion Top 10 Players | ODU Schedule
Old Dominion Monarchs Preview 2022
It’s been an interesting ride for Old Dominion football since joining FBS world back in 2013.
It closed out its 8-4 first season in 2013 – playing mostly FCS teams – giving up 80 to North Carolina, went bowling with a great ten-win season in 2016, spiraled downward from there over three years before missing all of 2020 thanks to the pandemic, and now, after eight years in Conference USA it’s taking off for the Sun Belt.
Granted, it’s on a run of four straight losing seasons – when it played – but it’s got a good young head coach in Ricky Rahne who knows how to get an offense going, the talent base was built up and worked on thanks to the year off, and after going really, really, really young, 17 starters are back with one of the most experienced teams in the Sun Belt.
This will be one of the more interesting teams in the expanded new conference. It’s got the upside to be a big surprise, but the slate is tough and the overall depth is just okay.
However, this is a program with a whole lot of pieces in place to become a factor in a Sun Belt full of teams planning on having big seasons.
Old Dominion Monarchs Preview 2022: Offense
The offense wasn’t always great, but it kicked in when needed over the back half of the regular season on the five-game winning streak to close things. There needs to be more of a running game, but the passing attack stepped up. With ten starters expected to be back, the O should be even more consistent.
The offensive line wasn’t great in pass protection, but it’s about to be a factor in the Sun Belt with four starters back and Donta Anthony ready to step in at center. Khadere Count and Nick Saldiveri are all-star caliber tackles to work around.
Leading rusher Blake Watson is back after taking off for 1,121 yards and eight scores, and Elijah Davis is also back adding a little more size after running for six touchdowns. Both averaged over five yards per carry, and they have to do the running because there isn’t much coming from …
Hayden Wolff is a big passer who’ll be the star of the attack over the next few years. The sophomore hit 63% of his passes for close to 2,000 yards and ten touchdowns with seven touchdowns, and backup DJ Mack stepped in and added a rushing punch with six touchdowns to go along with 856 passing yards and five scores.
The Sun Belt has some weapons to deal with. Ali Jennings averaged over 17 yards per catch with five scores as the No. 1 wide receiver, and Zack Kuntz was a First Team All-Conference USA performer with a team-high 73 catches for 692 yards and five touchdowns. Depth is a problem across the board for ODU – except at receiver.
Old Dominion Monarchs Preview 2022: Defense
The Old Dominion defense doesn’t have the returning talent the offensive side does, but there’s enough to be okay. It was great against the run but struggled against the better passing attacks. It needs to be more consistent and it has to generate a pass rush. However …
The main sackers are back. Marcus Hayes wasn’t a regular starter, but he led the way at one end with 5.5 sacks, but good interior pass rusher Sokoyo McDuffie left for UConn. Even so, the team’s top two tackles – Tyre Bibby and Alonzo Ford – are back.
Leading tackler Jordan Young is done, but Ryan Henry is an all-star in the middle who made 75 stops to anchor the two in the 4-2-5. The team’s No. 3 tackler Jason Henderson will find a role somewhere.
The secondary needs more big plays from the corners. Roger Cray was the main all-around playmaker, but he’s gone. Tre Hawkins was an all-star on the other side making 76 tackles, and now he’ll be the No. 1 cover-corner.
The safety tandem of R’Tarriun Johnson and Terry Jones should combine for over 150 stops, and on the way is Shawn Asbury from Boston College to push for the open spot.