The Rattlers gave fans a sneak peak of the 2002 football season Saturday afternoon during the annual Orange and Green game.
The defensive players adorned in green carefully held back the orange jerseys of offensive team
“It’s hard hitting against your own teammates but our main goal was to get out there and make production… get focused and stay strong,” said senior tight end Chris Hawkins.
Casey Printers started as quarterback. A major representative of the Rattler passing game, Printers came out strong.
Once the game started, it was obvious that one of the main goals was to prevent injuries at all costs.
Defensive linemen were cautious with their tackles and Printers rarely tried to run the ball. The referees called tackles when defensive players merely got two hands on Printers.
The Rattler coaching staff was determined to keep all players off of the injured list.
“Our main goals for the game were to make sure we got through unscathed as far as injuries, to make an assessment of our talent, and to evaluate our personnel,” said head coach Billy Joe.
Besides a minor injury caused by a hard hit to an offensive lineman in the first quarter of the game, the Rattlers were successful in avoiding injuries.
Coach Joe stressed that the second and third goals of the scrimmage were to make a talent assessment and to verify placement of players. He wanted to make sure that players were placed correctly on the first team, second team, third team, or red shirted, if necessary. Initial placement of the players proved accurate.
“I didn’t get any surprises. We’ve been out here all spring. There were no surprises as far as players we were relying on. I was hopeful that we’d get a lot of pleasant surprises…We didn’t, but that’s okay,” Joe said.
After the first quarter, Reggie Hayes came in for Printers as quarterback. Hayes emphasized the Rattler running game. Effective with the passing game as well, the first touchdown was scored by wide receiver Roger Dowoell. Dowoell caught a long pass from Hayes and made his way into the end zone.
With the exception of those forced to sit out of Saturday’s scrimmage due to previous injuries, members of the first second and third teams were given playing time. The day proved to be a true sneak peak into the upcoming season.
More talent arrives for summer practice including junior college transfers and high school recruits .
They will have to prove their skills to the Rattler coaching staff to gain a spot on the field.
“We’re hopeful that they’ll help us with our depth,” coach Joe said.
The Rattlers came into Saturday’s scrimmage just as they would have a regular season game.
“From the offensive perspective (our goal) was to score points,” Printers said. “We wanted to get something established where we could move the football and score points. We were able to work the whole field.”
Printers has high hopes for the 2002 season. “We gotta take it one game at a time but (our main goal is) to make it to Chattanooga,” he said.
Coach Joe looks with optimism to the season opener against the University of Miami.
“It is the first game on our schedule,” Joe said. “We want to go well prepared and play as well as we have the ability to play; hopefully well enough to pull off a win.”