Updated: Wednesday, 08 Aug 2012, 9:44 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 07 Aug 2012, 9:43 PM EDT
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The Norfolk State University football team started practice Monday morning, and the Spartans are looking to defend their MEAC Championship.
The Spartans finished with a 9-3 record last season and only one conference loss.
"It's motivation for us, seeing what we did last year. That's not good enough. We lost, which makes us more hungry," wide receiver Xavier Boyce said.
The Spartans have 35 players on the roster who played high school football in Hampton Roads, including Landstown High School graduate Boyce.
Coach Pete Adrian's biggest challenge will be replacing quarterback Chris Walley.
"We've always had good defense the last couple of years because we play so many players and they get a lot of game experience," Adrian said. "Now, they''ll be as good, who knows, they may be better."
Walley lead the Spartans on offense and was really the only man who took snaps last season. He threw for 2,672 yards and 18 touchdowns.
"It's the biggest void we have to fill and that is our biggest question and it's a major question at camp," Adrian said. "There's a major question and the guy that runs the team the best and leads the team the best will be the guy who starts."
The only man back with experience is Nico Flores. Flores is a dual-threat quarterback who transferred last season from University of Central Florida. His qualities as a runner and passer resemble Tim Tebow's style when it comes to running offense.
Flores played in 10 games last season, but rushed for about as many yards as he passed. 156 yards passing, 174 yards rushing. He still has some work to do if he wants the starting job.
"I learned a lot from watching Walley play," Flores said. "He was a leader on and off the field."
The Spartans’ first day of full two-a-day practices will be next Saturday, Aug. 11. The team practices at 9 a.m. and is scheduled to scrimmage at 7 p.m. at Dick Price Stadium.
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