We last saw Legree firmly entrenched in the middle of the MEAC pack for passing, with 153 yards a game and a total of nine scores in 2010. Delaware State’s Anthony Glaud led the league, averaging almost 50 more yards a game and tossing six more passing touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Pirates put up a paltry 17.5 points a game, despite boasting a the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s rookie of the year in Antwon Chisholm. The sophomore rushed for 607 yards and four scores before going down to a knee injury on Oct. 16 against Norfolk State.
That’s a lot of talent going to waste, prompting head man Donovan Rose to make the change. Count Legree among the early fans.
“You can go three plays for 90 yards or you can go 12 plays for 90 yards,” Legree told The (Newport News, Va.) Daily Press. “It’s a true system. It’s not, ‘let’s jump in this formation and jump to that one.’ I love this system and I love what it does for our offense. It helps the offensive line and it helps the skill players. The ball is in their hands fast. It’s out of my hands as fast as possible and in their hands, and we have some playmakers.”
Chisholm’s injury ended up requiring arthroscopic surgery in February, and the preseason All-MEAC first-teamer missed spring sessions. But he’s eagerly returned this fall, prepared to play again for an old friend: Snead coached Chisholm as a freshman at Glades Central (Fla.) High.
Together, perhaps they can finally move Hampton back to the level at which Rose — and all of the Pirates’ fanbase — had become accustomed to playing. Rose, a 1979 Hampton graduate, has spent 19 seasons on campus, including the last three as head coach. He served as an assistant on Hampton teams that won MEAC titles from 2004-06.
Hampton, which went 6-5 last season with a 5-3 MEAC record, opens the 2011 season on Sept. 3 against Alabama A&M at Chicago’s legendary Soldier Field. The Pirates were predicted to finish fourth this season with 321 points in the league’s preseason poll.