DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina Central head football coach Trei Oliver moved from station to station Thursday morning at the Eagles’ first practice of the season.

“It’s hot out here man,” said Oliver who begins his fourth year at Central. “I don’t care how good of shape you’re in, nothing’s going to prepare you for the heat.”

There’s no heat on Oliver, though, he’s got the Eagles program heading in the right direction.

A year ago, Central finished with a 6-5 mark including a 4-1 slate in conference. The Eagles also captured the MEAC/SWAC Challenge championship and won their final three games of the season.

“I think you build programs with good people,” said Oliver. “I love our coaching staff and our support staff is outstanding. I think we have the right pieces in place now.”

On the field it begins at quarterback where third year starter Davius Richard is back behind center after throwing for 2,133 a year ago. The Florida native will have a bullseye on his chest after being named the MEAC preseason player of the year.

“He’s a little more vocal now,” Oliver revealed when asked about his junior signal caller. “He’s always been a leader by example but he’s starting to come into his own as far as a vocal leader. He just continues to get better and better every day.”

Richard is one of eight returning starters on offense while the defense returns seven starters. For the first time in Oliver’s tenure at Central, the Eagles will be a veteran squad. That experience has many thinking this could be a special year for Central.

Oliver’s not falling for it.

“We don’t worry about expectations,” Oliver said. “We have expectations of our own here, our staff and players and we’re excited that we’re picked second in the conference but we don’t worry about those expectations from others.”