Dumas hopes jets are at full throttle for Alcorn

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 9, 2003

LORMAN &045; Blessed with enough speed to run a 4.27 in the 40, Alcorn running back Sidney Dumas just lets his legs do the talking.

On the left leg is a tattoo that reads, &uot;The.&uot; The other, &uot;Jet.&uot;

It’s just that simple.

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The junior college transfer that ran the 55-meter in indoor track last year for Alcorn is stepping into the starting running back position for the Braves this fall in the team’s three-back rotation. While the Gautier native had almost half the carries as starter Andrew Burks, he’s hoping to get the nod in an offense that is oozing with experience.

&uot;This year it’s going to be a little different,&uot; said Dumas, who nearly landed at Delta State following two years at Gulf Coast Community College before deciding on ASU. &uot;Last year he was the starter, and this year I’m going to be the starter. We’re all on the same page. We didn’t play around this summer. We got on the same page to get better and stronger.&uot;

There’s no plans so far to abandon the three-man running back rotation the Braves used last year, pending any injuries. Last season the Braves started out that way with Dumas, Burks and Robert Lester sharing the load as much as possible to keep defenses guessing.

Injuries, however, took their toll. Dumas had some bumps and bruises and was then moved to special teams to return kicks when Lonnie Teagle tore a hamstring.

But Dumas impressed enough last season to be voted first team Preseason All-SWAC at running back earlier this month.

&uot;We’ve got great backs,&uot; senior left guard LaDarien Strauss said. &uot;I would like for all of them to have 100 yards. Sidney is a great back. As long as he goes out and performs with the way our offense is set up, any back can do damage on any given play. Sidney is definitely the fastest of the three. If Sidney is on the sideline, I don’t think anybody will catch him.&uot;

Strauss speaks from experience. Back in the season opener a year ago Dumas scored the first time he touched the ball when he took a short pass from quarterback Donald Carrie and turned it into a 57-yard touchdown pass.

The Braves won that game 34-24, and it was a coming out party of sorts for Dumas, whose finished the game with 93 yards on nine carries.

The way he ran that night had head coach Johnny Thomas afterward comparing his moves to that of Gale Sayers.

&uot;We spread the ball around that game and gave everybody a taste of it,&uot; Dumas said. &uot;It turned out pretty good. I scored the first time I touched the ball.&uot;

But after that the production waned. He carries four times for 9 yards against Grambling and three times for 10 yards against Hampton while the Braves relied on Burks to run the ball.

&uot;We’re trying to keep Dumas healthy,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;If Dumas can stay relatively healthy, we’ll use him frequently. We have three quality running backs, but if he can stay healthy, Dumas it the fastest of the three. But sometimes his durability might not be what the other two’s durability is. That’s going to be big part of whether we use him frequently or not.&uot;

Burks, meanwhile, took the bulk of the load at times during the remainder of the season as he logged 144 carries for 605 yards and eight touchdowns. Dumas finished with a second-best 78 carries for 438 yards and four scores, while Lester had 41 carries for 247 yards and no scores.

&uot;It was a learning process for me, but I think it was a stepping stone,&uot; Dumas said. &uot;Every time I got in there I wanted to dominate. I had to. It was frustrating. I’m not going to sit up here and tell you some stories. I wish I could have done more to help the team. It’s us as a team. I’m looking past that and am willing to do much bigger things. We’ve got a good defense, and we know we’ve got a good offense.&uot;

Thomas said it had been quite a while since he saw a running back do the things Dumas did in the UAPB game in last year’s season opener, but he could get a chance Aug. 30 when the Braves open at Pine Bluff. He’s part of an offense people are expecting big things from due to the number of returning starters from last year’s 6-5 squad.

There’s plenty of speed on the offense, and there’s probably no one faster than Dumas.

&uot;He’s like lightning,&uot; receiver Corvin Johnson said. &uot;That’s all I can say. He’s lightning.&uot;