Alcorn State University football hosts annual spring game

Published 12:04 am Sunday, April 23, 2017

Alcorn State University head coach Fred McNair seemed satisfied with his team’s efforts during the Braves’ annual spring game Saturday, despite 18 football players being arrested early in the week and being absent from the game.

The scrimmage and a quarter-and-a-half of game play, McNair said, was aimed to give fans a taste of what they should expect come the fall.

“Through the course of spring practice you kind of feel like you see what you have to see,” he said. “Now it was just about getting these guys in front of a good crowd and showing them that they could play.”

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With the missing players involved in an on-campus brawl that broke out on April 10, Alcorn fielded just one offensive and defensive team.

To start practice, ASU began with a series of non-contact offensive drills for approximately 40 minutes before running between 30-40 plays of 7-on-7.

McNair said he is unsure of official punishments to follow the arrests, but is definitely going to stay on track with the school’s guidance.

“Whatever the school puts up, we will have to abide by those rules,” he said. “Anybody who has been a football player or a student on campus knows that things like that happen. It’s no problem. We will handle that.”

McNair also said he doesn’t think the recent violations have given the rest of Alcorn’s football team anything to worry about and said he has been urging them to be aware of their presence.

“These guys don’t have distractions, they are just regular football players that are going to come out and compete every day,” he said. “When they come out here they kind of isolate themselves. I told them to be careful of what you do because you are a part of this university.”

Of the remaining ASU players that played during Saturday’s contest, four Brave quarterbacks each received an opportunity to lead one drive of their own.

Freshmen Felix Harper and Noah Johnson each led touchdown drives.

While Johnson split playing time with LeNorris Footman last season, McNair said he was happy to see another leader emerge in Harper.

“Young Harper has made large steps at quarterback and doing what needs to be done,” he said.

Footman wasn’t so lucky on his offensive possession, as he was intercepted by junior defensive back Brady Smith.

“Today’s game was really kind of fun for me because we have been working toward it all spring practice,” Smith said. “(The pick) felt like money to me. I like making the big plays.”

Smith also said he is concerned with attention his team is receiving from outside sources.

“We have to just stay focused,” he said. “We have to worry about us and what we have to do.”

Alcorn State is scheduled to begin its season Sept. 2 at home vs. Miles College on Sept. 2.