By Harry Minium

Saturday early morning, four months before Aged Dominion College plays its to start with household football activity, there was revelry in the tailgate plenty adjacent to S.B. Ballard Stadium for the first time in just about two many years.

There was no tailgating, just hundreds of runners toasting brews and downing bagels when listening to a submit-race live performance soon after the Major Blue 5-K Run.

Saturday afternoon, the football staff scrimmaged in the stadium, and although it was closed to the public, I can convey to you that ODU’s protection seemed excellent.

I indicate, definitely great.

Saturday night, new ODU President Brian O. Hemphill, PhD., held the final prevent of his week-very long Monarch Country Tour all around the point out at the Priority Automotive Club in the stadium, where by he spoke to hundreds of Monarch alumni.

It was excellent so see so much daily life again in the stadium, which hosts its initial soccer match in 650 days on Sept. 11 when the Monarchs meet Hampton University at 7 p.m.

Initially, let’s aim on the scrimmage: Defensive coordinator Blake Seiler promised an unpredictable and aggressive defense, and he has appeared to provide.

This is a really well-coached, disciplined defense that plays with a large amount of assurance. The defensive line is a tiny undersized and there are depth concerns. But the D seemed video game completely ready.

Ricky Rahne talking to group ahead of the race.

The Monarchs perform incredibly tricky and even just after a lousy enjoy or a negative sequence, under no circumstances enable down. This is nonetheless the preseason, but there is a great deal of room for optimism below. 

Seiler was as soon as the defensive coordinator at Kansas Condition, so you would anticipate no much less from him. 

Lots of gamers stepped up defensively, but the man who stood out to me was defensive tackle Alonzo Ford, a freshman who was section of head coach Ricky Rahne‘s talent-prosperous very first recruiting class.

No data were being kept, but I counted at least four tackles for a reduction from the 6-foot-3, 275-pound graduate of Varina Higher School just outside the house of Richmond.

He was a 3-star recruit at Varina who had presents from Temple and East Carolina, and, Rahne said, arrived to ODU with a fantastic perform ethic.

“Alonzo has been actively playing nicely all camp,” Rahne reported. “He worked so tricky around the summertime to alter his overall body. I imagine he truly acquired into the coaching from equally the power staff and the defensive employees.

“I’ve been amazingly happy with how he’s been enjoying. He performs with procedure and is huge and actual physical and has a pop to him.

“Naturally, he is got to preserve heading and increasing, but at this stage in his enhancement, he’s appropriate where we want him.”

Football Fall Camp
ODU’s protection was targeted and aggressive.

The offense was maybe not as productive as Rahne would have preferred but as promised, the Monarchs threw to their limited finishes, a thing rarely completed since ODU started taking part in soccer in 2009. 5 of the six restricted finishes caught passes.

“Offensively, we have bought to work on our consistency. There were being some plays we still left out there,” Rahne explained.

Quarterbacks Stone Smartt, D.J. Mack Jr., and Hayden Wolff, all of whom are competing to begin, did practically nothing to separate by themselves from one particular one more. It is still a 3-male race heading into up coming week, which Rahne suggests will be a critical 7 days for pinpointing starters for the opener Sept. 3 at Wake Forest.

RAHNE WAS Between Those on the stage at the commencing line for the Major Blue 5-K, and soon after kissing his wife, Jen, and wishing her great luck just in advance of the race commenced, spoke to the crowd.

It was the 1st Big Blue 5-K due to the fact the pandemic and drew 1,119 runners and hundreds extra loved ones users. The program gave all of individuals who have not been on ODU’s campus a fantastic tour of what they’ve skipped, and a excellent check out of the stadium – the complete line was on the stadium turf.

Big Blue 5K

But the coolest part was when we detoured on to the ODU soccer exercise discipline the place much more than 100 soccer gamers cheered runners on. Some runners stopped to get selfies with` the gamers, who obliged. The gamers appeared to delight in the interaction as significantly as the runners.

Bob Curtin, who ran bare chested carrying an American flag, was hugged by a group of players when they noticed him.

The Hampton resident said afterwards he hasn’t been to an ODU soccer activity. When I described the opener will be performed on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror assaults in New York and Washington, and that military pomp and circumstance is predicted, he stated he may possibly occur.

I hope he does.

Saturday was a reminder of what ODU football is all about – beyond rooting for your staff, it truly is also a opportunity to reconnect with close friends, and I reconnected with a couple and fulfilled a number of extra.

I met John McLaughlin and his spouse Debbie, and son Tim. John is an ODU alumnus and Tim just lately graduated from ODU. Tim’s been elevated on ODU athletics. Conference and conversing with people in the tailgate a lot is a joy I’ve skipped.

Football Fall Camp

Again to the race: you could say that the wives of ODU’s football coaches are much more athletic than their husbands and you would not be wrong.

Let’s start with Jo Reihner, wife of offensive line mentor Kevin Reihner, who blew by the system in 17 minutes and 43 seconds. She averaged 5 minutes and 42 seconds to operate a mile. And it was 92 levels when the race commenced.

She was the top female finisher.

Jen Rahne clocked in 26:48 even though Joyner Mines, wife of limited ends mentor Fontel Mines, ran a 25:21, about the time I was passing the 2-mile mark.

But Lauren Campbell, spouse of offensive coordinator Kirk Campbell, probably have operate the most effective race of all. She completed at 41:55 when pushing daughter, Riley, in a stroller.

“Finding that stroller on the turf, that was a hard push,” Rahne said.

“But it was exciting for anyone. It was a fantastic day.”

Very very good.

Minium was two times nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in his 39 yrs at The Virginian-Pilot and received 27 condition and nationwide producing awards. He covers all ODU athletics for Observe him on Twitter @Harry_MiniumODU, Instagram @hbminium1 or e-mail [email protected]