Spring game set for today

Published 11:16 am Saturday, April 14, 2007

With three weeks of spring practice now behind them, the Alcorn State Braves will hit the field at 3:30 p.m. today for the Purple & Gold Game.

Spring practice has not been entirely kind to Alcorn this year, as the defense has been decimated by injuries.

With so many starters, including linebacker Lee Robinson and cornerback DeShaun Lewis, out for the game, head coach Johnny Thomas said the game would largely be spent seeing how well the reserves would play.

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“We’re looking to see how well we execute offensively and defensively, and especially how well certain individuals execute — specifically on the offensive line, at quarterback, on the defensive line and in the secondary,” Thomas said. “We’ve got some guys out that are starters and we’ve got some backups in there, and we’re waiting to see how they respond in as close to a game-like situation as they can.”

Even with the injury problems, Thomas said the Braves have seen progress from those asked to step in to fill the spots.

“One of the fundamental things we’ve accomplished is to see improvement in our backups. We’ve gotten them a lot of reps and seen what they can do. That’s something we’re very pleased with. And we have found some backups that can make a contribution.”

With several spots up for grabs as spring practice comes to a close, Thomas said there would be plenty to learn from today’s game.

“(We want to know) how well (the players) are able to execute what they’ve been taught to do,” he said. “From a quarterback standpoint, that’s calling the plays, leading the team and executing the plays. On the offensive line, we want to see how well they block and pick up blitzes. On the defensive line, we’ve got four or five of them out, so we want to see how well these guys are able to execute their techniques in rushing the passer and tackling.

“We’ve got three or four linebackers out, so we want to see how well they can play. We want to make sure our secondary is in the right coverage and can call their appropriate checks.”