Alcorn continues rebuilding|Braves travel to Alabama A&M for SWAC battle

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rebuilding projects are filled with small building blocks. Alcorn State coach Ernest T. Jones is hoping the Braves can turn one of them into a cornerstone.

Alcorn awoke from a five-week offensive hibernation last Saturday by scoring five touchdowns in a 35-21 win at Mississippi Valley State. The point total was as much as the Braves had had in the previous five games combined, and the first time in that span they scored more than one touchdown. Jones believes the Braves (2-5, 1-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference) can use it as a springboard for the second half of the season, starting today at Alabama A&M (2-5, 1-1).

“It led to an awesome week of practice this week,” Jones said. “It also lends credibility to our coaching staff. If they see what we’re telling them is working, they’re going to pay closer attention and buy into it even more.”

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Jones added that Alcorn quarterback Tim Buckley took a huge step in his development last week.

The junior from Madison Central spent the early part of the season battling incumbent Tony Hobson Jr. for the starting job, and finally secured it with steady play. Against Valley, he threw for 378 yards and two touchdowns on 24-of-32 passing, and also ran for 46 yards and two TDs. He was named the SWAC Offensive Co-Player of the Week, along with Southern quarterback Bryant Lee.

“To get this offense down takes about a year. We’re trying to force feed him fast,” Jones said. “One thing he hadn’t done that he did in this game was trust his offensive line and step into his throws. He scrambled some, but for the most part he stood in there. And our receivers actually caught some balls, which is something they hadn’t been doing.”

Alcorn will try to stay sharp today against Alabama A&M, which is riding a two-game losing streak. The two teams are part of a four-way tie for first in the SWAC Eastern Division, and the winner can get a leg up on the pack. No team in the East has a winning record, or more than two wins overall.

The parity has given Alcorn something to shoot for after a dreadful 1-5 start.

“It’s going to go down to the last week in November. There’s a lot of parity in this league, and on this side especially,” Jones said. “It’s all about Alcorn State, though. It’s not about anybody else. If we play well, we can win this division.”


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