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GSU's Warren fun to watch, a pain to play
In preparing for a key Southwestern Athletic Conference showdown against Grambling this week, Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones has spent more than a few minutes watching video of Frank Warren.
Upon closer inspection, he’d rather not watch it.
Jones has decided he’s got a respectful kind of love-hate thing going on with Warren, the Tigers’ top tailback.
As an objective judge of talent, Jones loves what he sees in Warren, a 5-foot-9, 200-pound tailback from Pleasant Grove, Ala., who’s off to a cheetah-like start this season.
As an upcoming opponent, however … well, Jones might not hate Warren, exactly. But given the choice, he’d rather not face him at all.
“He’s going to pose the same problem he’s been posing for everybody else,” Jones said. “He’s an excellent ballplayer.”
Thanks largely to Warren, times are good at Grambling. In defeating Jackson State and Prairie View, the Tigers have taken control of the Western Division race.
Warren, for his part, is making an early push to become the SWAC offensive player of the year.
One month into the college football season, Warren leads the nation with 162.7 rushing yards per game, and he has gained a hefty 8.4 yards per attempt.
While Grambling tries to ease its way into the passing game — the Tigers have a true freshman, Anthony Carrothers, at quarterback, and a corps of mostly young receivers — Warren has done plenty to keep the offense rolling.
Jackson State coach Rick Comegy called him “probably one of the better backs out there,” and Comegy should know: Warren victimized JSU for 256 yards in a 28-21 win on Sept. 18.
All told, Warren has 488 rushing yards on 58 carries. Put it another way: After only three games, he’s almost halfway to a 1,000-yard season.
Not impressed by the numbers?
Prairie View coach Henry Frazier III didn’t need to look at them. Last week in Dallas, he got a good, long, painful look at what Warren can do. Warren ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Grambling won the pivotal Western Division matchup 34-17. “Stud, plain and simple,” Frazier said of Warren. “That kid runs the ball with bad intentions. The first guy bounces off of him.” Grambling coach Rod Broadway said he isn’t overly surprised by Warren’s hot start.
Though he’s never broken the 1,000-yard barrier, Warren does have 2,861 career rushing yards — and so far this year, he’s been getting a lot of help. Grambling has found some nasty, technically sound teammates.
“He’s got great vision and really sweet feet,” Broadway said. “But … our offensive linemen are blocking better, and our receivers are blocking downfield better this year, too.”
Broadway, for his part, said he thinks Warren will be even more potent as Grambling gives more carries to Cornelius Walker — another senior, with 2,068 career rushing yards of his own — as the season moves along, keeping both runners fresh. Whatever the Tigers are doing, it works.
“(Warren) has that complete package,” Jones said. “It’s not just our problem. It’s everybody’s problem that they’re going to face. … They’re going to be an excellent football team, and he’s an excellent football player.”
By Perryn Keys, The Advocate