Norfolk State gears up for year two of Odums era

Posted at 3:12 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 15:12:06-04

NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- One week before kicking off training camp, Norfolk State head coach Dawson Odums, linebacker Marquis Hall and offensive lineman Colby Byrd walked into the Hilton in downtown Norfolk for MEAC Media Day, unofficially signifying the end of summer.

"You start saying media day and that should get your blood pressure going because it's football season," Odums said on Friday.

"I'm just counting down the days now," added Byrd. "I just can't wait to get back out there, get on the field, hit somebody, put those pads on."

It's year two for Odums at the head of the green and gold. The Spartans wrapped up his first campaign 6-5, but were sent into the offseason with three straight losses. Now it's back to work with a better understanding of the head coach's style and expectations.

"Collectively as a team, we are very comfortable," Hall noted. "We had a great spring, communication was great, offense and defense, there was a lot of competitive play going on so I think we're just really prepared."

"I feel like the culture is finally changing and I feel like [we're] finally getting a chance to recruit and bring in some players and being able to go through an offseason with our team to be able to teach them what our expectations are and what kind of culture we want as we move forward," Odums added. "We've got a great foundation laid for the future."

Norfolk State was picked to finish third in the six-team MEAC on Friday. The Spartans' non-conference slate will waste no time giving them an opportunity to see where they are. 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 opening stretch. "We're going to have to come out ready to go and there are a lot of things we'll need to be doing and doing very well because we're going to play two very good football teams right off the bat in the FBS and then we jump right into FCS with a cross-town rival."

Spartans' running back J.J. Davis was selected as the MEAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Davis rushed for 887 yards in 2021, scoring ten touchdowns. He would add a receiving score as well.

Norfolk State kicks off the season on September 3 at Marshall with kickoff scheduled for 3:30 PM. The Battle of the Bay on September 17 gets going at 2:00 PM.

The squad begins preseason practices on August 5.