MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama State kicked off Spring practice under clear skies and perfect temperatures on Monday afternoon. Hornets head coach Donald Hill-Eley is entering his second full season at the helm, but his fifth year with the program.
“We have had a bunch of changes. Offensive, defensive and special teams as far as the leadership and coaches. Now it’s the first day to get out and see some of the players that could fill some of the voids left by Tytus Howard, Kurron Ramsey and some of those other guys,” said Hill-Eley.
Only two coaches return to the staff this season from 2018. One of the biggest changes comes from within. Travis Pearson was promoted to Defensive Coordinator after serving as the Hornets' Safeties coach.
2018 was a tough year for ASU. They finished 4-7 overall, 3-4 in conference play and only had four home games. In the 2019 season they are at home more in the beginning of the year with a 4-game stretch in Montgomery.
Hill-Eley wasn’t hiding from the amount of work that needs to be done to turn things around; however, he has already identified the immediate need before practice even started.
“We have to come out with a sured up secondary and the quarterback position. Those two positions are the most crucial and when you go back and look at our games, when teams attacked us they attacked us in our secondary. When teams wanted to get after us, they harassed our quarterback,” said Hill-Eley.
The Hornets have four practices opening week, including a scrimmage on Saturday. The first game of the 2019 season is in Birmingham at UAB on Aug. 29.