New talent at quarterback opens things up at Norfolk State

Nobody would blame Norfolk State quarterback Chris Walley for being confused. All he did last season was finish third in the MEAC for yards per game, scores, total completions and competion percentage.

That led to preseason All-MEAC first team honors, as expected, but also a demotion into a new quarterback rotation at Norfolk State.

Wait, what?

Credit the arrival of Central Florida transfer Nico Flores, who once figured to add a new wildcat wrinkle to NSU offense. Instead, he’s emerged as one of the program’s most dangerous athletes.

These days, it looks like that embarrassment of riches under center will lead to a two-quarterback rotation. And Spartans’ offensive coordinator Joe Blackwell has experience with just such an arrangement, having utilized a pair of passers during his tenure at MEAC foe South Carolina State.

“We rotate tailbacks,” Blackwell told Chris Carlson of The Virginian-Pilot. “It’s no different. You have a guy come in for two or three plays, or a series or two, then you might not see him for a while. We’ll do different things. We’ll have plays where we get them both on the field together.”

Word out of camp, too, is that Walley is accepting the situation with grace — not always a given, considering where he stood coming into the 2011 campaign.

“As long as we’re winning,” Walley told Carlson. “All those other things, passing yards and All-MEAC, I’ll trade them all, as long as we’re winning.”

Head coach Pete Adrian’s team went 6-5 overall and 4-4 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Norfolk State polled at No. 5 in the league’s preseason poll, behind last year’s conference tri-champions as well as area rival Hampton. Adrian is 34-33 overall in six seasons with the Spartans, who open the season at home against Virginia State on Sept. 3.

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