NORFOLK, Va. — A historic upset of Virginia Tech masked a second consecutive down year for the ODU Monarchs in 2018.
In the professional ranks, a disappointing year usually leads to heavy turnover and a rebuild. That's not always the case at the college level, where often times a down year is the sign of a young team already climbing out of their rebuild.
ODU finds themselves in the unenviable position of facing heavy roster turnover despite a down year.
The Monarchs must replace virtually all of their impact skill position players, all of their safeties, and 9 of 13 top lineman on both sides of the ball. They've brought in 10 JUCO transfers on defense alone, a unit that will be lead by a new coordinator.
Then there's the small matter of who will be under center when they take on Norfolk State in game 1.
But the Spring is no time for concern. No, the Spring and it's intrasquad finale are the time for optimism. Though Mother Nature began the day on a pessimistic note, but even she came around for the new Monarchs eventually.
A 50 minute rain delay gave way to a balmy afternoon at Powhatan Field, as the Blue squad took down the White 27-22.
The quarterbacks garnered a majority of the intrigue. JUCO transfer and former MSU recruit Messiah DeWeaver took the initial snaps against the first team D, tossing for 88 yards while taking a few sacks. Redshirt Freshman Jonah Fitzgerald started opposite DeWeaver, posting a respectable 14/23 for a 180 yards, adding a TD run and an interception.
Another JUCO transfer, Riverside's Stone Smartt arguably stole the show however, completing 12 of 18 balls for 123 yards and a TD. Stone did not face a live pass rush however, as he recovers from a wrist injury.
The trio of signal callers all provide much needed promise as the Monarchs enter a summer with more questions than answers.