HBCU Spring Ball: Three Takeaways From Norfolk State

Norfolk State quarterback Greg Hankerson is looking to improve his technique heading into the 2013 season. (Michael Peele photo)
By DaVonte Smith 

After their 4-7 (4-4 Conf.) record last season, Coach Latrell Scott and Norfolk State football team want to make some noise in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference this season. With the spring game looming in a few weeks, the Spartans will have an inner squad scrimmage Saturday on March 26. This week, the team are putting their pads on for the first time. The season kicks off on Sept. 3 against Elizabeth City for the Labor Day Classic in Norfolk.

Here are three things we learned:
1. Norfolk State is counting on Greg Hankerson’s continued improvement 
Quarterback coach Aaron Corp is working with Greg Hankerson’s techniques. Hankerson is working from dropping back to the pocket and rolling out of the fake hand off. Hankerson is a solid running threat and an adequate passer out the pocket. Hankerson had a good season last year with 2,052 passing yards with 13 touchdowns. He also ran for 423 yards with 3 touchdowns in his first season after transferring from Florida Atlantic.
2. NSU is already out there hitting 
Spartan Drill is the opening of the team practice. Spartan Drill makes the players get their edge off by hitting each other after the ball snaps. The drill is pretty much the legendary Oklahoma drill, NSU style. The football practice technique used to test players in confined, full-contact situations. With all-everything linebacker Deon King transitioning to the pros, other linebackers will get their chance to show what they are made of. 
3. The O-line is in transition 
Only two starters are returning from this season. The line has always been an issue for Norfolk State. If the offensive line blocks well enough for Hankerson, the Spartans can have a chance of winning the MEAC this year. Coach Scott and his staff have signed several new offensive linemen in this year’s recruiting class, and if called upon, they will need to mature quickly. 
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