Alcorn: Braves ready to face Jaguars

Published 12:01am Friday, October 5, 2012

LORMAN — A rough time with wet footballs against Alabama State last Saturday gave Alcorn State plenty to work on this week.

Head coach Jay Hopson said the team has spent its practice days learning to catch wet footballs after the Braves fumbled six times and lost five of them in a 54-14 loss this past weekend.

Alcorn State and Alabama State played in rainy, sloppy conditions Saturday, but Hopson said it wasn’t an excuse for that many turnovers.

“No matter what the weather conditions are, you can’t allow that to affect ball security,” Hopson said.

Three punts were dropped due to a slick ball in last Saturday’s game, and Hopson said there was also a dropped ball by the punter in the Braves’ opening-game win against Grambling State.

“We practice all week (before Grambling) in (wet) weather, but we still dropped a punt,” Hopson said. “Whether it’s raining or sunshine, that can’t happen.”

So the footballs were wetted down this week, and Hopson said it will hopefully teach his players how to play well no matter what the conditions.

“That’s the thing with football, you play with both elements,” Hopson said. “That’s why we’re practicing with wet footballs, so we can live and learn if we encounter the problem again.”

Up next for the Braves is Southern University (2-2, 1-1), and Hopson said Jaguars interim coach Dawson Odums has gjven the team a new look on offense since taking over for Stump Mitchell after Mitchell was fired in mid-September.

“They’ve kind of changed their offense the last couple of weeks with the coaching switch,” Hopson said. “They’ve pretty much opened things up a bit. They’re a pretty balanced football team.”

After backup quarterback John Gibbs played most of the game against Alabama State last weekend, Hopson said the quarterback competition is still ongoing for the Braves.

“I think both will play, but we will probably start John,” Hopson said.

Kickoff is at 4 p.m Saturday at Alcorn.