Familiar face to be on ASU sidelines Saturday

Arkansas State fans will see a familiar face on the opposite side lines come Saturday night when the Alcorn State Braves come visiting to Liberty Bank Stadium for a 6:00 p.m. ball game between the Red Wolves and its FCS foe. Go "Inside" for a closer look at Alcorn State and what their head coach had to say to AStateNation this week.

Arkansas State fans will see a familiar face on the opposite side lines come Saturday night when the Alcorn State Braves come visiting to Liberty Bank Stadium for a 6:00 p.m. ball game between the Red Wolves and its FCS foe.

New Alcorn State Head Coach Jay Hopson, a long time veteran coach in the state of Mississippi, was the defensive coordinator last year for Memphis when ASU defeated the Tigers 47-3.

AStateNation caught up with Hopson earlier this week on AStateNation Sports Radio to learn a little more about his current Braves team and get his thoughts on Gus Malzahn's Red Wolves.

"Arkansas State is extremely fast on the offensive side of the ball," Hopson said. "They are very talented on both sides of the ball. We will have our work cut out for us."

Malzahn has said from day one he wants the Red Wolves to have the fastest offense in the nation, according to Hopson, ASU might not be far off that pace.

"They are definitely one of the top 10 fastest teams in the country," Hopson said. "This is just their first year there, they will keep getting faster. We know that we are in-store for a very fast game."

Hopson has been impressed with the offensive weapons of Arkansas State.

"Ryan Aplin is a guy that can hurt you with his arm or his feet," Hopson said. "He is one of the better quarterbacks we will face all season."

Hopson is very familiar with Malzahn and several of his coaches on his staff.

"JT (John Thompson) and I go way back," Hopson said. "He is a great coach and I'm sure he will have his players flying around to the football. They are young on defense but they have some very talented players on that side of the ball as well."

When asked what Arkansas State fans could expect schematically from Alcorn, the first year head coach was very evasive.

"We will be balanced on offense," Hopson said. "We hope to play good defense. We realize what we are headed into Saturday night in Jonesboro."

Hopson didn't arrive to Alcorn to late July and he feels that his team is a young team trying to learn their identity.

"This team has had four head coaches in the last four years," Hopson said. "This team is starting to learn what our coaching staff is about and we as coaches are learning more about our team. It's our goal to get a little better each game."

Alcorn opened it's season with a huge win over Grambling State 22-21, the first time the Braves had beaten Grambling in sometime.

The Braves then went on the road to take on a good James Madison team where they lost 42-3. They are coming off a SWAC loss to the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff this past weekend 24-6.

Gus Malzahn doesn't plan on overlooking their FCS opponent this week.

"We know we are going to get their A game," Malzahn said. "They are a sound football team, they are young with a new head coach, a whole lot like us. They have a great head coach and a great coaching staff, I'm sure they will be ready for us Saturday night."