HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- James Spady is bringing the pistol offense to Alabama A&M, but is still banking on winning with defense.

The Bulldogs have been much more adept on that side of the ball, anyway.

"Offense relies on precision, and when the precision's not there, you'd better be able to stop the other team from scoring," Spady said. "Our offense will complement our defense. We'll set them up for success."

Spady, a former Grambling State offensive coordinator, replaced longtime coach Anthony Jones after serving as tight ends and co-offensive line coach at Nevada from 2010-13. He learned the pistol offense from now-retired Nevada coach Chris Ault.

It presents Southwestern Athletic Conference defenses with a different look. The Bulldogs were ninth in the SWAC in scoring last season, averaging just 16.4 points a game. They led the league in total defense, though.

Alabama A&M is trying to rebound from a 4-8 season that ended with Jones's dismissal after 12 years.  Quarterback Jaymason Lee says the Bulldogs "want to redeem ourselves from last year."

Lee is learning his fourth offense in as many years after stops at two junior colleges. He's gone from the West Coast to run and shoot to spread. "Now I get to learn the pistol," Lee said. "It's actually a great opportunity. I'm really excited to run this offense."

Spady said he wants his team to understand that hard work can transform good players into great players and average players into good ones, and said the response has been positive. "We have been beating into them the message that effort is the price of admission," he said.

Wide receiver Montaurius Smith is the Bulldogs' only first- or second-team preseason All-SWAC pick. He caught 55 passes for 776 yards. Brandon Eldemire is replacing 1,000-yard rusher Barrington Scott after running for 545 yards and averaging 7.6 yards per carry.Spady loves the aggressiveness of Alabama A&M's defenders under coordinator Reggie Johnson. The Bulldogs finished sixth in FCS in tackles for loss, and are led by linebacker Conard Johnson and defensive lineman Anthony Lanier.

However, one area that needs to improve for the Bulldogs is pass protection -- giving up 24 sacks this past season with a young offensive line.

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