FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Fayetteville State’s Tuesday morning practice got a little chippy when the offense and defense lined up against each other in full-contact drills.

“Yeah they got into a little skirmish down there and we’re just trying to teach them that there are certain things you can’t do within the game,” said Fayetteville State head football coach Richard Hayes. “We can’t afford penalties like that.”

The Broncos are less than three weeks away from opening its season at home against UNC Pembroke and every practice leading up to that game is important.

“We’re trying to establish an identity, we’ve got a lot of new guys on the team– over 60 new players,” Hayes explained. “We lost a lot of guys from last year, not a lot returning on both sides of the ball so we’re just trying to build confidence and continuity in order to be successful.”

Success is nothing new at Fayetteville State. The Broncos have won four straight Central Collegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Southern Division titles. Toughness and confidence have been a trademark of each of those teams.

“We want them to know that we’re not scared at all,” said Fayetteville St. senior defensive back Brandon Barnes-Brown when asked how he thinks other teams feel about facing the Broncos. “Whether it’s the worst team in the league or the best team in the league we’re going to show them the Broncos aren’t scared of anybody.”

It’s an attitude that comes straight from the top of the Broncos program. Hayes is set for his seventh year at Fayetteville State and is showing no signs of slowing down.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” laughed Hayes. “I had my checkup in July and the doctor gave me the OK to keep doing this so it’s not stressing me out too bad. (I’m) having a lot of fun and just trying to continue to build this program and win a championship.”