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A&M football: Bulldogs duo still trying to get things in order
Newcomers Michael Brown and Alfred Williams missed practice Thursday, but Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones refused to comment on their whereabouts afterward.
Officials close to the situation said Brown is still trying to get all the necessary paperwork from Mississippi State to be declared eligible to play at A&M. Brown, who said he earned his degree in business communications, has one year of eligibility remaining.
Meanwhile, Williams’ grade point average to be admitted to graduate school at A&M has come into question. Williams earned a degree in African-American studies from Duke University.
Brown, an All-Southeastern Conference honorable mention selection last season by The Associated Press, is expected to start at left tackle in place of Darius Turner, who was declared academically ineligible. Meanwhile, Williams is battling Quinton Holmes for the starting job at mike linebacker.
Offensive woes: A&M’s offense had another tough day Thursday, Jones said.
During the Oklahoma drill, which pits three offensive players against two defensive players, the defense won 20-4.
“We weren’t ready to play football today and it showed,” Jones said. “I expect to have a bad day every now and then, but I’ve never had one like that.”
The Bulldogs have struggled offensively during preseason practice despite a number of starters returning.
“If you get one or two key guys out, you’ve got problems,” Jones said. “We’re missing some key linemen. Some of them aren’t healthy. They’re trying to suck it up. We’ve got one healthy running back. We’ve got to get healthy so we can build some consistency.”
Running back Ulysses Banks has been out for more than a week with an ankle injury. Running back Eric Hudson has a groin injury and wide receiver Eric Young has a hamstring problem. Center Xavier Manuel has been hampered by a knee injury.
Ineligibility issue hits two: Two more signees from A&M’s recruiting class have been declared academically ineligible, Jones said.
Fullback LaBroderick Smith and defensive lineman Preston Nelson failed to gain their eligibility. Ten players had already been declared academically ineligible.
Jones said defensive lineman Gerald Williams is still waiting word on his eligibility through the NCAA Clearinghouse.
Furthermore: Tight ends coach Andy Fuller sustained a back injury recently in a car accident, but is resting at home. … Free safety Al Donaldson (groin), outside linebacker Bobby McClain (concussion), defensive back Cheven Kimbrough (hip) and wide receiver Eric Young (hamstring) were held out of Thursday’s practice due to injury. … Freshman Rico Porch had two interceptions during 7-on-7 play Thursday. … A&M will hold Fan Day Saturday at 6 p.m. at Louis Crews Stadium. Following Fan Day, the Bulldogs will scrimmage at 7.
By Reggie Benson