Alcorn’s Hopson pleased with fall camp so far

Published 12:17 am Sunday, August 5, 2012

LORMAN — Jay Hopson is finally getting to see his players in action.

After taking the Alcorn State head coaching job in late May, Hopson has been waiting eagerly for fall camp to start. When that day finally came on Thursday, Hopson said his initial impressions of the players were good ones.

“I really like this team,” Hopson said. “They have good attitudes. They’re great kids. That’s always a positive.”

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Though fall camp started out slowly for the Braves, Hopson said after Saturday’s practice that he’s seeing some gradual improvement each day.

“We were really rusty that first day, but we did some good things (Saturday),” Hopson said. “We have a ways to go, but we’re where we should be.”

With summer classes lasting until Aug. 10, Hopson said two-a-days wouldn’t begin until the week of Aug. 13. Since he wasn’t in Lorman for the Braves’ spring practices, Hopson said he’s in a unique situation as he works through fall camp.

“It’s uncharted territory,” Hopson said. “Usually teams just hire interim coaches. This is probably one of the few times in history you have a completely new staff come in (for the fall).”

But Hopson said he can’t change the past, and this fall will serve as the foundation for his program going forward.

“We just have to concentrate on the task at hand and get these guys ready for Sept. 1,” Hopson said.

“The kids are working hard, we just have to continue making strides every day. This is cliché, but it’s so true: You just have to get better at something every day. Just pick one or two things a day and get better.”

Alcorn only managed to get approximately 40 players on campus for summer conditioning, and Hopson said the rest of the players are having to play catch up.

“The guys who were here are in great shape,” he said. “Next year, we’ll get everyone here for the second summer term, which will really help.”

With so little time before the first game, Hopson said he and the other coaches are focusing on instilling basic fundamentals.

“We’re harping on getting these guys developed into football players,” Hopson said. “The big thing is that the kids are fundamentally and technique-wise doing things right.”

Alcorn opens its season against Grambling State Sept. 1 in Shreveport, La.