Alcorn offense heats up

Published 7:52 am Thursday, April 5, 2007

An injury-depleted defense allowed for a strong showing by the Alcorn offense in a 60-play scrimmage Wednesday afternoon.

Braves quarterback Tony Hobson Jr. was sharp in the 30 plays in which he ran the offense, completing 10-of-13 passes — including six in a row before giving way to backup Tim Buckley — and throwing two touchdown passes.

“The offense was extremely sharp,” head coach Johnny Thomas said. “We threw the ball well, we blocked well, we caught well and we ran the ball well, also. But part of that is we’re banged up on defense.”

Email newsletter signup

Seven starting defensive players — including linebacker Lee Robinson and defensive back DeShawn Lewis — are currently out.

Hobson, who struggled mightily last season before injuring his hamstring and being held out of the final four games of the season, looked crisp throughout the scrimmage, and Thomas said that progression is encouraging.

“Today was a pretty good day,” he said. “He’s still growing. He has to continue to grow and develop, to take command of the offense and to provide the leadership we need from the quarterback position.”

While Thomas admitted the defense struggled during the scrimmage, he felt there were several encouraging signs.

“We were very aggressive on defense,” he said. “We hit hard. We made a few errors in run-stopping technique, but they were aggressive. You have to look at the bright side with all these people being out. A lot of guys that wouldn’t normally get this much work are getting a lot of reps, and they’re going to be able to help us this season if something happens with our starters.”

Thomas was also encouraged by the play of running back Eric Relf and tight end Channa Pugh, each of whom made big plays during the first-team offense’s first drive.

“(Eric) did pretty good,” he said. “It was partly the result of some good blocking. He’s coming off a severe groin pull, so we’ve been limiting his reps.

“The tight end is an integral part of our offense. Channa did well. Brandon Franklin is coming along well, also. We need one or two more so we can run and pass.”

The Braves have a week more of practice before the Purple & Gold Game, scheduled for April 14 at 3:30 p.m. at Jack Spinks Stadium.