Coach Billy Joe feels that his squad knows the urgency of their present situation. The Rattlers must win their last regular season game against Bethune-Cookman in order to have a chance at making the I-AA playoffs.
“The loss Saturday was disappointing for a number of reasons, but it’s time that we move past that,” Joe said in the Tallahassee Democrat. “Our job now is to worry about outside things and focus totally on Bethune-Cookman. The Florida Classic is now our Super Bowl.”
The Rattlers (6-3, 6-1) were put in this same situation last year. An early season loss to North Carolina A&T forced the Rattlers to have to win the rest of their regular season games just to make it into the playoffs.
“Unfortunately, we have put ourselves in the same place as last year,” said senior quarterback Quinn Gray. “But just like last year, I feel that we can come together and win our last game so we can advance to the second season.”
The coaching staff has stressed the importance of execution in every facet of the game.
So during practice the Rattlers will do a few more exercises and will go over plays a lot more than normal, according to the players.
“The coaches aren’t playing games any more,” said senior cornerback Troy Hart. “We are going to do more conditioning drills and they will harp on every little mistake that we make. We can’t afford to have any mental lapses because it could cost us a chance at making he playoffs.”
The Rattlers are tied for first place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with North Carolina A&T (7-1, 4-1). A&T holds the tie-breaker over FAMU because they beat the Rattlers earlier this season.
In the past few years, history has shown that the MEAC champion and the runner-up have successfully made the I-AA playoffs.
“If we take care of business and win next Saturday, the easier we make it on ourselves,” said senior receiver Isaac Brown.