Collins: ASU having good spring

Published 12:15 am Friday, April 9, 2010

LORMAN — With its Purple and Gold football game just a little over a week away, the Alcorn State football team is set to wrap up spring practices.

Braves head coach Earnest Collins said Thursday that spring practices have gone smoothly for the most part.

“It’s going well,” Collins said. “We’re coming up on our last week, and have our spring game April 17. We have a few bumps and bruises, but that’s not a big deal in the spring, as long as you can get them healthy in the fall. The kids are working hard, and for the most part, things are going well.”

And Collins said he’s still instilling the mindset of expecting to win in his players, a process that started with the Braves’ 14-7 win against Jackson State last November.

“It’s been the same deal,” he said. “I tell the kids we have to prepare, expect and play to win. We’re just continuing that mantra. The kids have been getting their work in, working hard in the weight room and on the field. I think the kids will be ready to go in the fall.”

Collins also said strength and conditioning was a big part of spring practices, especially since you don’t want to be behind when the season rolls around.

“If you take the spring off and don’t do anything, you have to catch up in fall camp. Fall camp is where you want to be polishing plays, getting schemes right and finding out your depth chart, not trying to get the kids strong.”

Several team veterans and a couple of junior college transfers have stood out this spring, Collins said, and he expects good things from each of them.

“I think linebacker Kenny Loby and offensive lineman Avis Shelton are doing pretty well,” Collins said. “They’re both transfers from East Mississippi Community College, and those are the main two (JUCO transfers) that have stepped up right now.

“Running back Gabe Nash is having a pretty good spring. (Offensive lineman) Isaac Williams is doing a decent job, and (defensive end) Brandon Morris has lost a couple of pounds and looks quicker and lighter on his feet.”

All eyes will be on the quarterback position, and Collins said both Terrance Barnes and Darius Smith are creating good competition at the spot.

“We also have some pretty decent recruits coming in during the summer, and that should put more pressure on those two,” Collins said. “We expect one of Barnes and Smith to be the guy because of experience, but all the guys we have coming in are pretty good athletes.”

And Collins gave a shout out to all Braves fans to make the spring game April 17.

“I want the fans to come out and support these young men, and help bring this program back to what it was in the early 90s,” Collins said. “I think this program will be pretty special, so they could come out to see what we are thus far.”

The Purple and Gold spring game is at 1 p.m. April 17 at Jack Spinks Stadium.