Braves take on SWAC’s top team in Prairie View

Published 12:15 am Thursday, November 12, 2009

NATCHEZ — If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.

These words ring especially true for Alcorn State (2-5, 2-3), which is set to host Prairie View A&M (6-1, 5-0) Saturday. Prairie View is ranked No. 19 in the FCS Coaches Poll, and No. 1 in the SWAC.

Alcorn head coach Earnest Collins said he would like his team to use Saturday’s game as a measuring stick to see where the Braves are as a football team.

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“You prepare for this game like any other, because it’s all still football in the end,” Collins said. “At the same time, when you go up against the best, you can see where you are as a team in getting (to the point) of being the best.”

The Braves have the task of containing a Prairie View team that can beat you in several different ways in each three phases of the game, Collins said.

“They run a pretty balanced attack on offense, defense and special teams. Coach (Henry) Frazier is doing a good job with them. He’s been there five or six years and has them playing how he wants them to play.”

On defense, Collins said smart, fundamental play would be important in order to shut down the many different weapons the Panthers possess on offense.

“We have to tackle well, that’s the main thing,” Collins said. “They have a great little running back in Donald Babers and a quarterback (in KJ Black) who, depending on what he does next season, may have a chance to play at the next level.”

On offense, the basics are going to be key for the Braves, Collins said.

“We have to protect the quarterback and execute. We have to be able to run our routes.”

With only two conference wins to date, Collins said his team still has a chance to win the SWAC East. The Braves are currently ranked second in the East behind Jackson State.

“We still have a chance to play in the conference championship game. It looks like we’ll probably have to win out in order to do so.

“We’re a pretty young team and we’re looking for our kids to get better every week. We had a bye week this past Saturday, and some of the kids who were out are getting healthy again, so we’ll see how they progress in game-time situations.”

Collins also said he’s been pleased with practices this week.

“We just have to continue to progress. We’re trying to get these kids to understand, if you keep doing the same thing over and over, you’ll get the same results, so we’ve been changing up some things we did in the past. They’ve gotten better, they just have to keep going at it.”

Kickoff at Alcorn is set for 2 p.m. Saturday.