For all the talk of Alabama State’s defense being superior to its offense, last Saturday may have been the day that the Hornet Raid offense struck back.

In front of approximately 250 spectators at Cramton Bowl, the new Hornet offense showed strong signs of being ready for the 2008 campaign. Behind the efforts of quarterbacks Reid Herchenbach and Anthony Speight, the offensive unit scored with an ease that had not been seen against the highly-touted defense in some time.

Second-year head coach Reggie Barlow noticed the solid effort. While he was not ready to declare the much maligned unit ready for the Aug. 30 season opener against Florida A&M, he was certainly pleased with its progression.

“Offensively, I’m pretty happy with today’s performance,” Barlow said. “Of course there’s still a lot of work to be done before the season starts.”

Transfers Herchenbach and Speight, vying for the starting quarterback position, were both solid.

Herchenbech led the first-team offense on two consecutive scoring drives – hitting senior wide receiver Fred Ragsdale with two touchdown passes – to start the scrimmage and looked in complete control of the offense throughout. Speight sparkled during red zone drills, throwing his own pair to scoring passes.

To be fair, the defense did not include star cornerbacks Brandon Averett and Lael Harrison or linebacker Leland Jones. But the offensive improvement was enough to make the Hornets feel like they will be ready to make a solid run for a SWAC title this season.

“You don’t want to just look at it and think, ‘Well, we didn’t have several players out there and that’s the reason,'” Barlow said. “We need these other guys to step up and get it done for us, too. It’s something we need to look at.”


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