HAMPTON, Va.- The Hampton Pirates are trying to turn the corner for their football program. They're about a week into their pre-season practices under head coach, Connell Maynor who's in his 5th season at HU. They were 5-6 in 2016, but had a 5-3 record in the MEAC finishing third. The Pirates are picked to be 5th in pre-season polls in the conference. "You have to use it as fuel", Maynor says.

The Pirates come into 2017 as a team that's stout on defense. Among the players returning, senior safety, Brendan Cole who will help lead a squad that was second in total defense in the conference last season. "We like it when it's all on us", he says. They may have to shoulder more, while the offense tries to find its way. They're young in spots that includes wide receiver with the loss of Twarn Mixon and Rashawn Proctor to graduation. At quarterback, the Pirates are trying to break in new starters. One, who's had a good spring, is Delmon Williams. He's a transfer from San Jose City College. Williams played his high school ball at Lake Taylor in Norfolk. "I try to tell them to take one play at a time. Be consistent", he says.