Courtesy: Alcorn State Athletics
LORMAN, Miss. – Alcorn State Football rehearsed just under 80 organized plays amidst rising temperatures in the late stages of the morning hours on Saturday, Aug. 13, as the Braves held their first scrimmage of fall camp outdoors at the Braves Practice Fields on the Alcorn State campus in Lorman, Mississippi.
With Head Coach Fred McNair patrolling the sidelines in what is set to be his sixth season at the helm of the Purple and Gold, the veteran coach watched his squad run through 79 plays in what was originally scheduled to be a 75-play scrimmage in the squad’s first live-action competition in full pads of #BravesCamp. For the Braves, it was the team’s ninth official practice of the fall.
“It was a big scrimmage for us to see where we’re at in terms of position-wise and what the team has been taught the last week,” said McNair afterwards. “I think they came out with great intensity. I saw some good stuff. There will be lots of stuff for each unit to watch on video for the next few days and see how we can progress from there as a team.”
With the scrimmage beginning at 10 a.m., temperatures continued to rise throughout the morning, as high-80s with 95 percent humidity readings circulated around the Braves Practice Fields under the sun at 11 a.m. Alcorn State worked mainly between the 20-yard lines, running several red zone plays when applicable. The special teams units also got work with punt coverage and field goal situations.
Junior quarterback Aaron Allen (Missouri City, Texas), a spring transfer from Louisiana Tech, saw most of the action with the first team offense to start the day. Unofficially, Allen completed 12-of-21 passing for just over 125 yards in the scrimmage. Meanwhile, sophomore Kole Williams (Montgomery, Ala.) ran the last three series of the scrimmage with both the first- and second-team offense, unofficially rushing for just a shade under 50 yards.
In all, six different Braves receivers caught passes during the scrimmage from the trio of quarterbacks to see action under center.
Junior running back Niko Duffey (Tampa, Fla.) carried the ball nine times for 78 yards, unofficially.
“Today, it was a good day in all phases – offense, defense and special teams,” Duffey said afterwards to the media. “We really got after it, especially the defense, in giving us some good looks on the offensive side of the ball. Of course, we have some things to work on. But overall, as a first scrimmage, I thought it was a successful day.”
The defense was headlined by redshirt senior Keyron Kinsler Jr. (Micanopy, Fla.), who worked on just eight plays, but was instrumental being vocal as a senior leader for a group that is considered to be one of the strongest units on this year’s team – the defensive backs.
“The scrimmage was a good outlook on how far we’ve come through the first week or so of camp, and where we are in terms of putting all the pieces together,” said Kinsler to AlcornSports.com. “We’ve been able to fly to the ball in camp, but it’s really all about doing the little things right. It’s about making sure everyone executes, and that’s what we’ve been trying to harp upon as a defensive unit.”
Unofficially, the defense registered four quarterback sacks of the three players to register time under center in the scrimmage.
“Going into next week with more practices, I’m looking forward to the guys getting even better,” McNair closed in saying. “I want to see more consistency; not as many missed assignments; not making the same mistakes mentally. We have to continue growing as a team. I keep saying it ‘together we rise’, and I can’t stress it enough that we’re in this together as a team. We have to keep this thing plugged in and play together.”
Alcorn State will continue its fall camp schedule next week. A date and time for the team’s second scrimmage will be announced later next week as well.