ASU trying hard to get over hump

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

It’s the biggest consequence of setting your goals high and bettering yourself: there will be disappointment.

It’s only human to fail, and if it doesn’t eat away at you, you’d better check your pulse. But much like Rutgers football, you’ve got to accept the bad times with the good and move on.

But for Alcorn State’s Braves to head into 2003 motivated following the last season’s 6-5 campaign, that shows how far the program has come since its winless, pulse-less season of 2000.

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&uot;Last year was the year we thought we would really get over the hump,&uot; Alcorn head coach Johnny Thomas said. &uot;Although we finished 6-5, it was a very disappointing year. We were very happy to have a winning season, but we thought we should have done better than that. The things that happened off the field and the injuries hurt us.&uot;

True, the season did end in disappointing fashion &045; four losses in the last five games after winning five of the first six &045; but keep in mind where the Braves were coming from.

They were just a year removed from their first winning season since 1994 and were desperately trying to create their own tradition of winning, one that’s been non-existent since Steve McNair &045; the guy who put the school on the map of the world of college football.

Success may be sweet for the seniors, who were freshmen on that winless team, but may be most enjoyed by Thomas. The coach with a Ph.D. was a guy alumni and supporters thought had no idea of what he was doing back then.

Four years later, he can look like an extremely bright fellow.

&uot;I’m hoping the guys have learned from that and have put everything into perspective,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;Hopefully we’ll take what we had last year and let it be the core of the team to move them to another level. If we can do that, I think we’ll be a quality football team.&uot;

Things were on track, however, last year when the Braves got off to that hot start, nearly beating Grambling in Week 2 before the Tigers went on to win a black college national championship.

But the wheels fell off as the team experienced a series of injuries Thomas said he had &uot;never seen anything like that before in my life.&uot;

&uot;We gave the second team a lot of reps in case that does happen,&uot; defensive tackle Bryan Williams said. &uot;We’ve got a lot of young guys who can step up for us in case of injuries. We’ve got a lot of older guys with experience we’re still counting on this season.&uot;

There are the situations &uot;off the field&uot; that will have to be avoided this year. You can sit back and air your dirty laundry all you want, but the better teams who get over the hump can avoid those situations.

Said senior receiver Corvin Johnson: &uot;We have to play as a team the whole year and stay together. If we play together 12 games, we’ll win 12 games. That’s our biggest problem.&uot;

And remedy to cure disappointment.

Adam Daigle

is sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. You can reach him at (601) 445-3632 or by e-mail at