Ability to come back aids Alcorn

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Second-year Alcorn State head football coach Johnny Thomas saw something last Saturday he hasn’t seen before from his football team – the ability to come back.

The Braves fell behind Alabama State 14-0 in Montgomery, Ala., but battled back with 17 points to take a 17-14 lead at halftime on its way to a 38-27 win.

&uot;I don’t think we would have seen this with last year’s team,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;We’ve got a nucleus for a great team here. This team is very special, although it may not show in the win or loss column. We have players who won’t quit. We were behind Grambling 34-6 and came back (losing 41-25). We’re just inexperienced, with eight freshmen starting on defense.&uot;

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Marcus Taylor replaced Damion Ford at quarterback midway through the game, but that was because of the situation, Thomas said.

&uot;There are certain situations where we go with Damion and certain ones where we go with Marcus,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;And there will be others where we will go with Yancey (Wright). They all know their role and they accept it with a great deal of passion and cooperation.&uot;

Thomas said he went with Taylor to concentrate more on the running game.

Rodney Thomas had 189 yards, while redshirt freshman Albert Jones of Canton had 104.

&uot;Marcus does a better job of quarterbacking when we need to run the ball,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;He threw it enough to keep the defense off balance. We had some guys wide open.&uot;

Jones prepped at Velma Jackson.

&uot;We knew what he could do, but he has had to get comfortable with the system,&uot;&160;Thomas said.

While Alcorn is 1-1, the Alabama State win is the only one that counts in the SWAC Eastern Division.

&uot;This win is very critical because it gives us a lot of confidence,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;When you have young players, especially on defense, this kind of win makes them more sure of themselves. We have to continue to play hard. The jury is still out on our defense because there were a lot of mental mistakes made. But we’re making them full steam ahead.&uot;

Alcorn has an open date this Saturday.

&uot;I’m glad to have that with this young team because now we can go back and look at the film and see what they did wrong and let them look at it themselves. We’ll use this week as a teaching week.&uot;