Hokies prep for Friday night opener at Monarchs

‘There’s a lot of familiarity between the two programs.’

Virginia Tech preps for its season opener against ODU (WSLS)

BLACKSBURG, Va. – For the first time since 1982, Virginia Tech will open its football season on the road against an in-state opponent-- Old Dominion. The Monarchs have a program that the Hokies faithful remembers all to well from that infamous 2018 meeting. At that time, Old Dominion upset the 13th ranked Virginia Tech, 49-35. Aside from that, ODU football is a program that Brent Pry is rather familiar with as well.

“I think it’s a heck of a challenge in ODU. I know Ricky Rahne first hand,” said Pry. “I know a bunch of his staff and these are good football coaches that will have that team well prepared for us. On top of that he knows our defensive system, he knows our structure and he’s familiar with us offensively. There’s a lot of familiarity between the two programs.”

Brent Pry and Ricky Rahne were defensive and offensive coordinators respectively at Penn State under head coach James Franklin. They both have carried some of the core fundamentals from the Nittany Lions program to Virginia Tech and Old Dominion as the respective leaders.

While Pry enters his first season in Blacksburg, it’s year three for Rahne in Norfolk. ODU is coming off a 6-7 campaign in 2021 that included a late season 5-game win streak that carried them to the Myrtle Beach Bowl. Quarterback Hayden Wolff was a big part of that success and last week he was named the starter for the Monarchs season opener. He has plenty of weapons at his disposal including tight end Zack Kuntz--a guy who also spent time at Penn State.

“I know all about Zack Kuntz,” said Pry. “I recruited him to Penn State. They’re a veteran group with 21 or 22 starters back. Their quarterback had great success down the stretch last year when he took over.”

A challenge lies ahead for the Hokies as we’ll get a chance to see what the identity of this program will eventually come to be, starting Friday night under the lights.

“This being the first time this group gets to go show what we’re about, we’re very confident in the preparation we’ve put in,” said Hokies wide receiver Kaleb Smith. “We’re just excited. We never take any game lightly but I guess building the confidence all of season is what’s bringing us to that game.”

Kickoff on Friday is set for 7 p.m. from S.B. Ballard Stadium in Norfolk.

About the Author:

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.