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Fall camp gets under way for Alcorn

LORMAN — Alcorn State head coach Earnest Collins noticed a big difference on the Braves first day of fall practice Thursday — more players.

And Collins said that should have a big impact on the kind of season the Braves will have in 2010.

“Last year we came into camp with 70 some odd players, which is not enough,” Collins said. “Now we’re about to capacity, and I feel a lot better about it.”

As the Braves began fall practice to prepare for their Sept. 4 season-opener against Langston, Collins said the added depth means every player will have to fight for his position.

“Now the players know there is depth behind them,” Collins said. “There is somebody pushing them, and they won’t be playing by default. Last year we had some players who had to play by default because there was nobody behind them. That’s not the case this year at any position we have.”

In addition to the added depth, Collins said he was pleased with the physical condition of his players, and could tell they have been working hard over the summer to stay in shape.

“The kids are excited and enthusiastic to be out there,” Collins said. “I can tell for the most part that a majority of them had good workouts this summer. They’re in shape and ready to go.”

Collins said much of the first few days of fall practice will be spent getting used to the speed of the game.

“It’s really just organization, getting folks lined up in the right position, taking proper steps and proper drops,” Collins said. “We’ve got to get them used to moving that fast again. They’ve got to take what they learned in the classroom and make it work on the field.”

And while the players are getting up to speed, so is Collins, who is entering his second season as the Braves head coach.

But Collins said this fall practice isn’t much different than his previous one.

“It’s another year under my belt, so I feel a little more comfortable, but it’s not really a whole lot of difference,” Collins said. “This is really my third year going into (leading fall camp. In 2008 (then head coach Ernest Jones) put me in charge of it because he was blessed to get (an NFL internship). So I’ve got lots of experience doing it.

“The main thing is this year I just feel better about the team as a whole.”