Alcorn State football coach Fred McNair knows something about quarterbacks.
After all, he was the ‘Air’ McNair at Alcorn from 1986 to 1989. McNair left the campus in Lorman as the Braves’ career passing leader.
Two years later, McNair helped develop his kid brother, Steve McNair, into a Heisman Trophy finalist at Alcorn and the NCAA’s career leader in total offense. Air McNair II became the third overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft by the then-Houston Oilers and later earned MVP honors. Steve McNair died in 2009.
As a coach, McNair continues to mentor signal-callers. In four years as the Braves’ quarterback coach, John Gibbs Jr. and Lenorris Footman each won SWAC championships.
McNair gets two more years to coach Footman, a dual threat quarterback.
“He’s an outstanding player at that position,” McNair said at SWAC Media day last month. “One of the things I respect most about him is his ability to just come in and be a leader.
“The sky is the limit for him. I know he’s going to keep working hard and will do what it takes to lead this football program. He’s been doing a great job and he’s a very smart kid. He pays a lot of attention to detail. We’re really excited about him.”
Footman enjoys playing for McNair, a former Canadian Football League and Arena Football league quarterback.
“Coach McNair is a great coach,” Footman said. “He always knows what to say to the quarterback. If things aren’t going well, he’ll tell you not to worry about the last play and move on because you can’t do anything about it. As a quarterback, he really helps a lot when it comes to reading defenses and becoming better overall.”
Alcorn named McNair coach in late January after Jay Hopson departed for Southern Miss. For Alcorn, the hiring was a no-brainer.
Expect the Braves to win a third straight SWAC championship behind McNair and Footman. After that, the possibilities are endless.
Alcorn State Capsule
Coach: Fred McNair
2015 record: 9-4, 7-2
Postseason: beat Grambling 49-21 in SWAC title game, lost to N.C. A&T 41-34 in Celebration Bowl.
Players to watch: QB Lenorris Footman, WR Marquis Warford, DB D’Andre Smith.
Sept. 4: Bethune Cookman Noon
Sept. 10: ALABAMA STATE 6 p.m.
Sept. 15: ARKANSAS PINE BLUFF 6 p.m.
Sept. 24: at Grambling 6 p.m.
Oct. 1: at Arkansas TBA
Oct. 8: at Alabama A&M 2 p.m.
Oct. 15: TEXAS SOUTHERN 2 p.m.
Oct. 29: SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY 2 p.m.
Nov. 5: at Prairie View 1 p.m.
Nov. 12: at Mississippi Valley State, 1 p.m.
Nov. 19: JACKSON STATE TBA
Conference: NAIA Mid-South
Coach: Hal Mumme
2015 record: 2-8, 1-4
Players to watch: DB Isaiah Swopes, QB Clayton Webb
Sept. 1 MILLSAPS 7 p.m.
Sept. 10 WISCONSIN-WHITEWATER 1 p.m.
Sept. 17 at Huntingdon College 1 p.m.
Oct. 1 EAST TEXAS BAPTIST 1 p.m.
Oct. 8 at Sul Ross State 6 p.m.
Oct. 15 McMurry 1 p.m.
Oct. 22 at Louisiana College 6 p.m.
Oct. 29 HARDIN-SIMMONS 11 a.m.
Nov. 5 MARY-HARDIN BAYLOR 1 p.m.
Nov. 12 at Howard Payne 1 p.m.
Delta State Capsule
Conference: Gulf South Conference
Head coach: Todd Cooley
2015 Record: 6-5, 2-5
Players to watch: QB Tyler Sullivan, DL Erin Brown, LB Jamel Dennis
Sept. 1: KENTUCKY WESLEYAN 6 p.m.
Sept. 10: TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE 6 p.m.
Sept. 17: at West Georgia 1 p.m.
Sept. 24: SHORTER UNIVERSITY 6 p.m.
Sept. 29: MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE 6 p.m.
Oct. 8: at West Alabama 2 p.m.
Oct. 15: WEST FLORIDA 4 p.m.
Oct. 22: at Valdosta State 1 p.m.
Oct. 29: NORTH ALABAMA 2 p.m.
Nov. 12: at Florida Tech 1 p.m.
Jackson State Capsule
Coach: Tony Hughes
2015 record: 3-8, 3-6
Players to watch: QB LaMontiez Ivy, OL Frank Carter, WR Daniel Williams
Sept. 1: at UNLV TBA
Sept. 10: at Tennessee State 6 p.m.
Sept. 17: GRAMBLING 6 p.m.
Sept. 24: at Arkansas Pine-Bluff 4 p.m.
Oct. 1: MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE 6 p.m.
Oct. 15: SOUTHERN 6 p.m.
Oct. 22: at Texas Southern 2 p.m.
Oct. 29: PRAIRIE VIEW 2 p.m.
Nov. 5: at Alabama State, 2 p.m.
Nov. 12: ALABAMA A&M 2 p.m.
Nov. 19: at Alcorn State TBA
Mississippi Valley State Capsule
Coach: Rick Comegy
2015 record: 1-10, 1-8
Players to watch: WR Booker Chambers, OL Alvin Soloman
Sept. 2 at Eastern Michigan 6 p.m.
Sept. 10: ALABAMA A&M 4 p.m.
Sept. 17: at Texas Southern 7 p.m.
Sept. 24: PRAIRIE VIEW 4 p.m.
Oct. 1: at Jackson State 6 p.m.
Oct. 8: at Montana 2:30 p.m.
Oct. 15: at Alabama State 2 p.m.
Oct. 22: GRAMBLING 2 p.m.
Nov. 5: at Arkansas Pine-Bluff 2:30 p.m.
Nov. 12: ALCORN STATE 1 p.m.
Nov. 19: at Southern University 4 p.m.
Mississippi College Capsule
Conference: Gulf South Conference
Coach: John Bland
2015 record: 2-8, 0-7
Players to watch: QB Walker Meadows, OL Nick Luckey, DB Reggie Bennett.
Sept. 3 POINT 2 p.m.
Sept. 10 at Florida Tech 6 p.m.
Sept. 17 WEST ALABAMA 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 CUMBERLAND 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 at Delta State 6 p.m.
Oct. 8 WEST ALABAMA 2 p.m.
Oct. 15 VALDOSTA STATE 3 p.m.
Oct. 22 at West Georgia 1 p.m.
Nov. 5 at Shorter 12:30 p.m.
Nov. 12 NORTH ALABAMA 2 p.m.
Conference: Southern Athletic Association
Coach: Aaron Pelch
2015 record: 3-7, 2-6
Players to watch: QB Chance Clowers, WR Rashad Sims, K Patrick McRaney
Sept. 1 BELHAVEN 7 p.m.
Sept. 10 TRINITY 1 p.m.
Sept. 17 at Chicago 1 p.m.
Sept. 24 HENDRIX 1 p.m.
Oct. 8 at Centre College 1 p.m.
Oct. 15 BIRMINGHAM SOUTHERN 1 p.m.
Oct. 22 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY (MO.) 1 p.m.
Oct. 29 at Berry College Noon
Nov. 5 at Sewanee 1 p.m.
Nov. 12 RHODES 1 p.m.