North Carolina Central finished 2nd in the MEAC last season, but was only three points away from representing the MEAC in the 2021 Celebration Bowl against Jackson State. The Eagles have high expectations going into the 2022 season after being voted 2nd in the Preseason MEAC Poll at MEAC Media Day last week in Norfolk, VA. North Carolina Central also landed four players on The Bluebloods Preseason All-MEAC Team.
North Carolina Central head coach Trei Oliver spoke with Zach McKinnell from The Bluebloods at MEAC Media Day last week and had this to say about the keys to win the MEAC Championship this season:
“I think it’s a process and we just have to work on improving day by day. I love the state of mind of our guys and where we are right now as a team. The guys have really bought in and worked their butts off this offseason. We didn’t do enough to win it last year so we had to work a little bit harder and we know all the schools in here… Those guys are working out all summer as well so we have to work a little bit harder and execute a bit better next season.”
Oliver also spoke about the young players who stepped up last season and what makes this North Carolina Central team different than previous teams:
“Just the character of the team. We started off and won a couple games early on… Beat Alcorn in a big game there and then just had a plethora of injuries. To see the young guys step up, because it was tough for a minute because we went on a three game skid, and the guys could have folded. I thought we saw a lot of resilience in the character of our program. The young guys stepped up when a lot of guys got injured and they continue to develop and grow. We got some old guys back and had some great battles this offseason and throughout the summer so we’re going to be much deeper as a team across the board this year.”
North Carolina Central opens the 2022 season against North Carolina A&T in the Duke’s Mayo Classic in Charlotte, NC on September 3rd. Our full interview with head coach Trei Oliver is available on YouTube and all podcast streaming platforms.