The Rattlers wanted to put their 52-13 loss to Illinois a week ago behind them in order to begin preparations for their 6 p.m. (central time) contest Saturday against Tulane (0-1) at the Louisiana Superdome.
But Tropical Storm Frances, which caused practice to be cancelled Monday and Tuesday, forced Florida A&M to think about the debilitating defeat for two more days.
FAMU (0-1) head coach Billy Joe though accentuating the positives, said despite the two-day setback, his team would be ready to surf the Green Wave in the second game of the team’s four-game road trip.
“We needed some rest,” Joe said. “Hopefully that will allow us to go into New Orleans and bring a victory back to Tallahassee.”
A win would salvage the prospects of a winning season.
It’s not unlikely. Just ask Division 1-AA Northwestern State who dragged Tulane into overtime last season before the Green Wave edged it out 27-24.
But based on the Green Wave’s similar makeup, they will be a grave challenge for the Rattlers.
“I would surmise that they will be better prepared for us then a Big 10 team,” said Joe, as this will be the first ever meeting between the teams. “Tulane is more in a mode of FAMU in that we rely more on skill and finesse. They will have a handle on what we do, so we will have to execute extremely well.”
Tulane runs a spread offense, which is similar to the Rattlers Gulf Coast offense.
“Their defense will be ready for a passing attack because they play one in practice everyday that is the same as ours,” said junior wide receiver Ronnie Thomas, who led FAMU with 10 receptions in the opener.
Thus, the Rattlers may have to establish the run, something they couldn’t do against Illinois.
“Illinois tried to really squeeze the box and at times we had to check off several runs,” said senior quarterback Ben Dougherty, as FAMU’s running backs tallied only 46 yards. “We have to get (junior running back) Rashard (Pompey) going this week in order to be successful.”
Mississippi State used its 199 yards on the ground to defeat Tulane 28-7 in its season opener in Starkville,Miss. a week ago.
But according to Joe, if the run isn’t there, then the Rattlers will again pass the ball 55 times like they did against the Illini.
“If the opposition does not give us the run, then we are not going to try to force a square peg in a round hole,” Joe said.
FAMU will also play the reactionary role on defense, as it’s tough to predict what the Green Wave are going to do after not being able to move the ball against MSU.
Ultimately though, the Rattlers will have to limit their mistakes
“We need to play error-free football,” Dougherty said, in order to beat these (Division I-A) teams.”
contact ibram rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org.