Now winners of two straight, young ASU squad maturing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 26, 2005

LORMAN &045; Things were so bad so quickly into the 2005 season that Alcorn coaches had to regroup and take a different approach.

Just like many of the Braves’ younger players were having to adapt to playing on the collegiate level, the coaches had to adapt to the inexperienced personnel. That was three to four weeks ago, and now the Braves are in the middle of a two-game winning streak.

Saturday’s 29-22 win over Texas Southern made for their first win streak of the season thanks to another solid day on both offense and defense.

Email newsletter signup

Players are indeed maturing heading into this week’s contest at Southern University.

&8220;We went back to the fundamentals,&8221; Alcorn head coach Johnny Thomas said Monday. &8220;We went back to tackling a little bit more than we’ve done in the past. We’re spending more time on the offensive side of the ball with our quarterbacks and receivers getting their timing down. We’re spending more time with the technical part of blocking, catching and throwing the football

&8220;We taught the fundamentals all along, but we had to put a little more emphasis. The guys were just not getting it done. Don’t be so sphiocated and advanced beyond their ability to grasp information.&8221;

The win over Texas Southern was not only their second straight win, but the offense put up bigger numbers in the rush and the pass than the previous win over Prairie View A&M.; Quarterback Tony Hobson threw for 245 yards after throwing for 202 the week prior, and the ground game welcomed back Jeremy McCoy and topped the 200-yard mark for the second straight week.

For his efforts, Hobson was named SWAC Newcomer of the Week.

&8220;I think we had a pretty good game against Texas Southern,&8221; Thomas said. &8220;We did pretty good on our offense, and I thought we rushed the football pretty well and threw the football pretty well. I think the effort the team asserted throughout the game was pretty good, especially during time of adversity. We didn’t crack. We maintained our poise and executed.&8221;

Perhaps the best barometer of how far the offense has come was indicated on a key second half drive the Braves needed to take the lead. Texas Southern led 22-21 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Braves used a 19-yard pass from Hobson to Charlie Spiller to move the ball down field.

Hobson hit Tabari Lott &045; who had a career-high five catches for 128 yards &045; for 13 yards before Hobson hit Emmanuel Arceneaux three plays later for a 16-yard touchdown.

Hobson then hit Oliver Bozeman on the two-point conversion for the seven-point lead.

&8220;We have had some growing pains with these young and inexperienced guys,&8221; Thomas said. &8220;I think they’re very talented and skillful, but it’s just putting them in here and allowing them opportunity to grow and develop. At this particular point, they are growing up and beginning to realize what they have to do in terms of preparation. They have responded, and they’re doing a pretty good job.&8221;

The ground game welcomed back McCoy, who was back to his old self with 27 carries for 150 yards and one score. The junior now had 433 yards in four games after missing the last two, although as soon as he returned Saturday Michael Shepherd went down with a sprained shoulder.

The Braves, still the SWAC’s best rushing team and now more 11 yards per game better than second-place Alabama State, can put a good deal of credit on the offensive line. With Shepherd’s injury, the offense still has only three healthy backs.

&8220;Being able to run the football against Texas Southern opened up the passing game, and when we threw the football we threw it with accuracy,&8221; Thomas said. &8220;We’ve got a tremendous offensive line coach in Michael Ellis, and they take pride in their ability to go out for the run. They’re pretty huge guys, and they come off the ball pretty well.

&8220;Blocking is an attitude. The first three games, we looked at things we were doing correctly and incorrectly, and we put a great deal of emphasis on the things we were doing incorrectly.&8221;

NOTES &045; SWAC officials announced the Alcorn-Grambling game postponed due to Hurricane Katrina will be played Dec. 3 at Jack Spinks Stadium. The SWAC Championship will follow Dec. 10 in BirminghamŠ.Freshman linebacker Lee Robinson came up with 11 tackles Saturday, including 3

stops for a loss and 1 sack.