Hopson has positive outlook on upcoming season

Season rankings don’t mean much to Alcorn football Coach Jay Hopson. What matters to the Braves football leader is putting in enough work to reign supreme on the gridiron.

“It’s good to be mentioned in the upper echelon of the league, but it’s not our goal to be number two,” said Hopson. “Predictions and polls are nice, but at the end of the day, what matters is what we do in practice and on game days. We have to put in a lot of work to achieve the goals that we have set for our football team.”

Early preseason predictions have the Braves ranked No. 2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Eastern Conference. According to clarionledger.com, the announcement was made at the 2014 SWAC Football Media Day July 18, in Birmingham, Ala. The Braves, who are scheduled to play seven home games this season, are looking forward to topping last year’s statistics.

Coach Hopson and the Braves are coming off a spectacular 2013 season in which they surprised critics with an impressive 9-3, 7-2 SWAC record. Last season was the first time the Braves claimed nine wins in 30 years. Hopson doesn’t want his team to focus on the success of the past. He’d rather look toward being better in the future.

“The biggest thing we have to realize is that what happened last year is behind us. We’re not getting anything from last year. This is a new season with new goals, so we have to go to work in order to be a consistent football team. We have to prepare and be mentally focused.”

Alcorn will be entering this season without their record setting running back Arnold Walker. Last season, Walker led the team and the SWAC in rushing touchdowns (16) and rushing yards (1,191) on 224 attempts. Walker broke Alcorn’s all time career rushing yards records with 2,806, which had been held for more than 30 years. Despite the loss, Hopson has faith that his new backfield will pick up where Walker left off.

“We have three or four young men that could do it, so we’re just going to put the ball in their hands and see what happens. It’s their time to step up. Arnold did a tremendous job for us last year, but now it’s time for our current running backs to make the most of their opportunity.”

Hopson has his eye on the SWAC championship. In order for Hopson and the Braves to complete their top priority, they have to prepare well during preseason camp.

“This is our goal every year. Our goal will never change. Competing for a championship is what it’s all about, so we have to work and take care of the little things so that we can be successful. Hopefully we can achieve good things, but that will depend on what we do this August.”

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