Written by Thomas Scott
August 2, 2017
- 2016 Record: 5-6, (5-4) Conference
Expectations are running high in Lorman, Mississippi. For the past three seasons, the Alcorn State Braves reigned supreme over the SWAC East Division. During this span the Braves have appeared in three straight SWAC Championships, winning two titles along the way. Armed with a combination of veteran experience and a talented roster, Alcorn State’s sole focus is returning to their championship form.
Fred McNair had an up and down season in his first campaign as head coach. The Braves finished with a losing record (5-6), despite playing in the SWAC Championship game. Coach McNair knows he will have to be better this year. When asked at SWAC Media Day what the difference has been heading into his second season as head coach as opposed to the first he said,
“We were able to take a step back and look at the mistakes we made last year and the things that we have to improve on. We feel we accomplished a lot as a coaching staff over the offseason and we’re getting closer to where we need to be in order to get back to the championship game.”
Look for McNair and his staff to make noticeable improvements this season. These improvements could make a sizeable difference considering the Braves lost four games last season by one score or less.
The Braves have an extremely talented roster. Seven athletes were selected to the SWAC Pre-season All-Conference teams. The key to success will be if this roster can remain healthy. Last year the Braves were ranked 2nd in rushing offense and 3rd in total offense amongst SWAC teams. Expect a spike in these numbers if 5th year senior quarterback, Lenorris Footman stays healthy. He only appeared in seven games last year, but is a difference maker whenever he steps on the field. On defense the Braves have two preseason All-Conference defensive lineman (Michael Brooks and Ramonte Bell) and one all-conference defensive back (O.J. O’Neal). The sixth ranked scoring defense must improve if the Braves plan on taking the next step. Last season they gave up 29 points per game.
Alcorn State showed glimpses of their potential when finally healthy last year. Earlier in the season the Braves lost to Grambling State 18-43. However, when they met again in the SWAC Championship game the Braves nearly pulled off the upset losing 20-27. Look for Alcorn State to build on last season’s momentum and be fueled to avenge their championship loss. The Braves begin their season September 2nd vs Miles College. For more information visit their website.