Alcorn State coach has internship with Vikings

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 18, 2009

LORMAN — Usually when people think of summer internships, they think of college students apprenticing with a local business and learning the tricks of the trade

But first-year Alcorn State head football coach Earnest Collins isn’t a college student and his summer internship certainly wasn’t with a local business.

In fact, Collins had the opportunity to learn from coaches at the highest level of football.

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Collins recently completed a two-week internship with the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, where he was able to work with head coach Brad Childress and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who is also an Alcorn State alumnus.

Collins said the experience was definitely eye-opening.

“As a young coach you want to try and advance your skills,” Collins said. “I wanted to go up there for professional development. I was able to learn some things from the guys up there. It was a pretty awesome experience.”

Collins got the internship thanks to his longtime association with Vikings running backs coach Eric Bieniemy.

The two knew each other from when Collins was at the University of Northern Colorado while Bieniemy starred at running back for the University of Colorado.

“Me and him go way back,” Collins said. “Eric was instrumental in me getting into the program. He called me up and told me coach Childress wanted me in the internship program. They paid my room and board and gave me full reign of the facilities.”

The internship began June 2 and ended June 12. Collins said the most important thing he got out of the internship was seeing how the professional coaches organize their team.

“The main thing was getting the overall grasp of the big picture of running an organization,” Collins said. “I was able to sit and talk with coach Childress about organizational things. It was great for me. The things that you learn when you spend 10 days with an NFL team.”

And Collins said the things he learned with the Vikings will be applied to coaching Alcorn State in the future.

“Football is football; they just happen to have highly paid, world-class athletes,” Collins said. “They coach them the same way we coach them. The things they do, especially from an organizational standpoint, are very similar to what we do here at Alcorn.”