NORFOLK (WAVY) – Tuesday morning, the Norfolk State football was on the field wearing pads for the first time ahead of the 2023 season.

It was pretty much what third-year head coach Dawson Odums expected to see.

“Did some good things and bad things,” Odums said. “It’s camp, so we expect that, but we did more good than bad and that’s what’s pleasing as a coach.”

Norfolk State is coming off a 2-9 season. The Spartans were last in the MEAC in scoring, so enter new Offensive Coordinator Ray Pickering.

He comes to Norfolk State after serving as an offensive assistant to Steve Sarkisian at the University of Texas.

“Number one thing I bring is discipline,” Pickering said. “A lot of energy, and then we talk about efficiency.”

When you talk about the offense, you have to talk about the quarterback position.

Otto Kuhns was the starter last season and he’s back with the team. There’s also Cameron Sapp who transferred to NSU from Florida A&M and community college transfer Ruben Lee that should be in the mix as well.

“Our team kind of knows and kind of feels who that number one guy is,” Odums said. “But we haven’t had a scrimmage to be able to say okay that confirms what we feel. Feel is one thing, but we need confirmation at this point.”

The Spartans schedule is more manageable than last season. NSU opened the year with road losses to FBS programs Marshall and James Madison, two games that left Norfolk State riddled with injuries.

This season NSU opens the season at home against former CIAA rival Virginia State in the Labor Day Classic.

“I expect a sellout,” Odums said. “I think anytime you are playing in state it’s an electric atmosphere and those guys that are gonna participate in that game are gonna be like this is why I chose to go to NSU.”