(STATS) - It reflects well on North Carolina A&T that it could finish 9-3 last season and the coaching staff is nitpicking about what can make the Aggies better this year.
During spring practice, the Aggies have worked to fine-tune the basics, from quarterback steps and wide receiver routes to defensive linemen filling gaps and assignments in the secondary.
The Aggies are anxious to show off the improvement to coach Rod Broadway and his assistants during Saturday's annual Blue & Gold game, which concludes spring practice in Greensboro.
More disciplined play could get N.C. A&T back to the top of the MEAC after it slipped to second place behind rival North Carolina Central last season. The Aggies qualified for the FCS playoffs with an at-large bid and lost to Richmond in the first round.
The Aggies will return eight starters on each side of the ball. Quarterback Lamar Raynard and All-America left tackle Brandon Parker will fuel the offense, while the defense will feature linebacker Jeremy Taylor.
The post-Tarik Cohen era has arrived, however, as the Aggies seek to replace the MEAC's all-time leading rusher. South Carolina transfer Jamari Smith resembles Cohen as a speed back who can change directions, and bigger back Marquell Cartwright has been impressive with his more physical style.