Could we find a Norfolk State blogger to break down the squad like we did with the Filthy Cards? Probably not. But, even if we did, it wouldn’t be as good as the breakdown that we got from Mike Rutherford of the Card Chronicle. So, instead, we’re going to give you a preview courtesy of The Spartan Echo, the Norfolk State school newspaper. Here is what they’re preaching:
Last year: 8-3 (6-2 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)
Coach: Pete Adrian, 3rd year, 16-17 (career, 52-54-1)
Key players back: WR Jamar Johnson; OLs Andrew Ramer and Jamien Banks; DL Dennis Marsh; LB Donte’ Hodge; DBs Don Carey and Terrell Whitehead; PK Justin Castellat
Hardest to replace: QB Casey Hansen; RB Daryl Jones; TE Dexter Bailey; OL Jason Kressen; DL Eric Bullock; LBs Maguell and Marques Davis; P Brian Jackson
Strengths: Momentum usually doesn’t carry from one season to the next, but it may well for a team coming off its best season in more than two decades. The Spartans return four starters on the offensive line, which will help greatly in the transition to a new backfield, and have seven people back on defense that made at least four starts in the successful 2007.
Question marks: Hansen and the Davis brothers are three big holes to fill, and transfer Dennis Brown at quarterback will especially be counted on to bring immediate results. The new starters on defense all have experience thanks to Adrian’s rotation system, but talent like the twin linebacker possessed is hard to find and everyone else will have to do their part.
Outlook: The Spartans matched their victory total of the previous two seasons combined last year, and have 16 starters back, including five who received all-MEAC recognition. That’s the kind of turnaround that can immediately boost a program’s expectations and change a culture of losing, and a fast start to this season would aid greatly in that process.
So, try to control yourself with this seriously boring look at the Spartans and prepare yourself for a much better look in the Know Your Enemy. Go ahead and do your best Nostradamus impression below and leave us your score, keeping in mind that the only game they played against a D-1 school last year was a 59-0 pasting by an overrated Rutgers squad. Don’t let that 2007 record and 47-7 Week One victory over Virginia State fool you.