Norfolk State prepares for second year of Odums era

NORFOLK, VA (WTKR) – A week before the start of training camp, Norfolk State head coach Dawson Odums, linebacker Marquis Hall and offensive lineman Colby Byrd walked into the Hilton of Norfolk city center for MEAC media day, unofficially signifying the end of summer.

“You start saying media day and that should get your blood pressure up because it’s football season,” Odums said on Friday.

“I’m just counting the days now,” Byrd added. “I just can’t wait to get back out there, get out there, hit somebody, put those pads on.”

This is the second year for Odums at the head of the greens and gold. The Spartans finished their first campaign 6-5, but were sent off in the offseason with three straight losses. He is now back to work with a better understanding of the style and expectations of the head coach.

“Collectively, as a team, we’re very comfortable,” Hall noted. “We had a great spring, communication was great, attacking and defending, there was a lot of competitive play going on, so I think we’re really really prepared.”

“I feel like the culture is finally changing and I feel [we’re] finally getting the chance to sign and bring in players and being able to spend an offseason with our team so we can teach them what our expectations are and what kind of culture we want as we move forward,” Odums added. “We’ I have an excellent foundation laid for the future.”

Norfolk State was chosen to finish third in the six-team MEAC on Friday. The Spartans’ non-conference slate will waste no time giving them a chance to see where they stand. NSU opens at Marshall on September 3, followed by a trip to James Madison on September 10 before its home opener against Hampton the following weekend.

“It’s going to tell us a lot about our football team,” Odums said of the front-stretch. “We’re going to have to come out ready to go and there’s a lot of things we’ll have to do and do very well because we’re going to face two very good football teams from the start in FBS and then we go straight to FCS with an intercity rival .”

Spartans running back JJ Davis was selected as MEAC Pre-Season Offensive Player of the Year. Davis rushed for 887 yards in 2021, scoring ten touchdowns. It would also add a receiving score.

Norfolk State kicks off the season Sept. 3 in Marshall with a scheduled kickoff at 3:30 p.m. The Battle of the Bay on September 17 begins at 2:00 p.m.

The team begins pre-season training on August 5.

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