Hornets’ new nest: Alabama State practices in new stadium

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It was the typical routine for a Tuesday night practice, but Alabama State’s practice was anything but typical.

The first indication the practice was different came in the form of a bus ride. Instead of walking out the door to Hornet Stadium, the players were driven down the street to their new $62 million home.

“It’s like a little kid opening a Christmas present,” senior receiver Landon Jones said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. You could see it in the eyes of all the players. We looked in here and were like, ‘Wow.’ There was just so much excitement. It felt like game day with no crowd. We just had fun.”

The Hornets went through a spirited two-hour practice in the new football stadium, which is slated for completion on Thursday and scheduled to hold its first event a week later with the 89th Turkey Day Classic. While there remains some fence work to be completed, railings installed in concrete and sodding placed outside of the stadium, those are mere trimmings to a spectacular facility that left the players — and their coach — searching for the proper adjectives.

“When we pulled up here, the excitement, the words used by some of the guys because they haven’t come in here (before), just to hear what they were saying is an awesome thing,” ASU head coach Reggie Barlow said. “Whenever you come into a new environment, there’s going to be a lot of enthusiasm. When you’ve got genuine enthusiasm, a lot of times that can cover up for mistakes. We’ll go and watch the tape and make the corrections, but the energy was good.”

The practice drew a few spectators as well as students drifted in and out of the facility, conducting self-guided tours of the stadium. The Mighty Marching Hornets came through at the beginning of practice, and school representatives borrowed small groups of players to film short videos for the scoreboard.

“It was a game-type feeling, being in the stadium for the first time and riding up on the bus with our uniforms on,” senior quarterback Greg Jenkins said. “It felt like we had a game tonight, and I think we had pretty good energy for a practice, probably the most energy we’ve had all year.”

This story was originally published at: http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20121114/SPORTS0403/311140048/1180

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About tgayle

Tim Gayle is a sports reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser newspaper and montgomeryadvertiser.com.
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