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Alabama State opens camp August 3

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. | Alabama State looks to build on the momentum from the 2017 season when they won five of their last six games under then-interim head coach Donald Hill-Eley as they open fall camp Friday, August 3.

Eley, who was named head coach following the season, leads the Hornets into his first fall camp and he returns the majority of the top defense in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) – returning nine players who started multiple games. The Hornets led the conference in both scoring defense and total defense, and had a trio of players named second team preseason all-conference in Jeffrey Hill (defensive back), Darron Johnson (linebacker) and Christian Clark (defensive line). Meanwhile, they return 10 players on the offensive side of the ball that started multiple games including a pair of preseason all-conference second team selections in Darryl Pearson, Jr. (quarterback) and Tytus Howard (offensive line).

The Hornets 61 players who went through practices and games last season under Eley – including the 19 players who return with starting experience.

“The first few days of camp we are trying to create the identity of Alabama State,” Eley said. “We are not working towards Tuskegee, we are not working towards anyone on our schedule, we are just working on us. We want to be able to block, tackle, run and pass effectively, and defend the pass and run. We are going against our base in camp on offense, defense and special teams making sure our guys understand the foundation of who we are as a program. We won’t move into the opponent until after the two days off late in camp and school has started, and we won’t move into Tuskegee until the last two weeks before the contest.”

Alabama State is a step ahead at this point in the year than they have been in year’s past, having the majority of their players on campus this summer going through a workout regime to prepare them for camp and the start of the 2018 season.

“I think going forward with the way the NCAA has changed the calendar with only having 11 days of training camp before classes, and five of those being acclimation days, it should be a prerequisite that if you are going to have a winning program you have your guys on campus,” Eley said. “If not you are going to lose out. It is still a 28-day window before your first contest, but there is no longer a time frame of a two-week or three-week period of two-a-days before school where you have the guy’s focus. You will see dividends in our program that has benefitted from having them here this summer. For those that didn’t stay the summer, and you go through and look who was and who wasn’t there in the summer as far as programs, you will see how the summers have benefitted.

Not only was it imperative that the team was on campus this summer, but it also gave Eley more time with his new staff to prepare for the upcoming season. Most of the staff remains intact from last season with the addition of four new coaches to the staff.

“The crew has to be together before the visitors take the ship,” Eley said. “You can’t have people coming to the Alabama State program and the crew (the coaches and staff) have to be on the same page. We have to understand the philosophy of the program, the tradition and what is important to our program. We have to understand our schemes. And then we have to take those things and filter them down to our players.”

Things to Know about Fall Camp
All practices for the Hornets will be open this fall beginning Friday at 2 pm. All weekday practices are scheduled to begin at 2 pm, with Saturday practices scheduled for 9 am. If there are changes made to the practice schedule, it will be posted on BamaStateSports.com and on social media.

All fans are asked to go directly to the stands located on the south side of the Football Complex. No fans will be allowed on the field, or on the track during practices as other teams in the fall will be going through conditioning drills during the same time. Fans are also reminded that no live streaming or recording of practices is allowed at any time.

Quotable from Eley
Moving forward, preparation for year after getting the job full time
“Right now it is only tested through theory of what happened in the past in my previous position of a head coach,” Eley said. “The goods and bads were taken from that, and from other dialogues from other programs in the same settings. The true test happens when you play the game and you are able to see the benefit of that. Anytime you see a program with as many people as we have, you are constantly making changes. There is no true rubric, it constantly changes. We have things in place to help us win, and to win championships but there is always change.”

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For complete coverage of Alabama State University football, follow us on social media at @BamaStateFB (Twitter), /BamaStateSports (Facebook), and @BamaStateSports (Instagram) or visit the official home of Alabama State University athletics at BamaStateSports.com.

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Alabama State opens camp August 3