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Alabama A&M Head Coach Jones Sees Good, Bad
Bulldogs coach wishes team was further ahead.
Anthony Jones stood and applauded Alabama A&M’s offense early on during Thursday’s practice.
A few minutes later, Jones voiced his displeasure as the unit failed to execute. He does the same thing when he watches film. One minute, Jones is happy. The next, he’s somewhat perplexed.
Such is life for the Bulldogs’ head football coach.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Jones said Thursday after his team’s first week of practice. “We’ve got a lot of new faces that we’re trying to get ready to play college football for the first time. A lot of them are guys that have been in our program, but they haven’t been in the fire yet.
“We’re making progress toward our goal, but it’s slower than I would like for it to be.”
Injuries have slowed the Bulldogs’ progress in a big way, Jones said.
On Thursday, A&M was without starting center Xavier Manuel and left guard Russell Jackson. Both were out with knee injuries. Backup center Darrius Martin was also out after tweaking his knee.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were without inside linebackers Afu Okosun and Quinton Holmes. Okosun has a pulled hamstring, while Holmes complained of dizziness.
A&M was already without running backs Ulysses Banks and Sylvester Steward. Banks has an ankle injury, while Steward has a hamstring problem. Defensive tackle Marcus Powe also has an injured hamstring. Defensive tackle Frank Kearse is practicing, but he is limited while trying to battle back from offseason knee surgery.
“I’m disappointed in the health of our team more than anything,” Jones said. “It’s nothing serious, but we haven’t been able to get our full units out there because of the nicks and bruises that we have accumulated in training camp.
“I’m hoping we can get a little healthier by Saturday.”
A&M will hold its first scrimmage Saturday at Louis Crews Stadium. Kickoff is 11 a.m.
Still, Jones said all is not lost.
Despite the injuries, Jones said his team has continued to battle on both sides of the ball.
“Training camp has been very competitive,” he said. “The first day the defense was the dominant force.
“The next day, the offense fought back. It’s gone back and forth and that’s a good thing.”
A&M’s Jones sees good, bad
By Reggie Benson, The Huntsville Times (AL)