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Around The Dog Park: Half of Old Dominion’s Football Team is New Guys

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 29 Old Dominion at Georgia State Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

*pulls up chair*

Hey y’all. How was your summer? Free of bug bites and people trying to convince you of the merits of ketchup on hot dogs, I hope.

With just a couple of weeks left until the season, we want to try and get back into the habit of something we used to do quite a bit a while ago. That’s a series of regular posts called Around The Dog Park. Look at you, you’re already reading one.

Basically, it’s a short summary of links that we think you should read that relate to the teams we already talk about here. We’ll also usually add some of our own commentary to the mix for good measure.

Let’s dive into this one.

Conference USA

  • Western Kentucky have, undoubtedly, the most hype of any CUSA team heading into the new season. The Tops were chosen to finish first in the league in the league media poll and have the preseason league offensive (Austin Reed) and defensive (JaQues Reed) players of the year. But...what if they can’t live up to the hype? This was the subject of the latest newsletter from our friends at The Towel Rack.
  • Some bummer news for Liberty fans: two highly anticipated transfer receivers will miss the entire 2023 season. West Virginia transfer Reese Smith and Nebraska transfer Victor Jones suffered injuries over the summer. Head coach Jamey Chadwell confirmed the extent of those injuries on Wednesday. Smith in particular was expected to be one of the main targets of the offense this year.

Sun Belt

  • Like pretty much every team in FBS, Old Dominion has a lot of transfers on their roster as fall camp begins. Per a story that veteran ODU writer Harry Minium Jr. published on Wednesday, the Monarchs have 58 players on their roster that were not part of the team in 2022. That’s exactly half of the 116-man roster. If you thought remembering peoples’ names at a new job was tough, imagine being in this scenario.
  • The Sun Belt had more athletes named to the Maxwell Award preseason watch list than any other conference. Those names are listed below.

Nate Noel, App State (Jr., RB)
Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina (RS Sr., QB)
Jalen White, Georgia Southern (Sr., RB)
Darren Grainger, Georgia State (RS Sr., QB)
Carter Bradley, South Alabama (Sr., QB)
La’Damian Webb, South Alabama (Sr., RB)
Frank Gore Jr., Southern Miss (Jr., RB)

American Athletic Conference

  • Tulane began fall camp this week after being picked to repeat as AAC champs. Crescent City Sports posted video of their availability with Willie Fritz, Michael Pratt, Tyler Grubbs, and special teams coordinator Greg McMahon. Notably, Fritz insisted that there’s not much difference to how he’s approaching this season compared to last season.

“We’re not taking 2022 into 2023 and we certainly didn’t take 2021 into 2022,” Fritz remarked.

  • UTSA also begin their fall practices this week. The San Antonio Express-News posted a story of the most important things to look out for as the Runners prepare for their opener at the end of the month. Notably, the offense has some question marks that might not have fans worried, but should they?

Also, not that there was any doubt, but Frank Harris very much wants to win a bowl game.