Rattlers ready to strike after their week off

It’s only a matter of hours until Bragg Memorial Stadium is again filled with orange and green and anxious fans. Fresh off a bye week and with a three-game winning streak, the Florida A&M University Rattlers have rested and prepared for Saturday’s opponent.

The Rattlers (3-2 overall, 1-1 MEAC) enter the contest after closing out another nerve-wracking win in the Atlantic Football Classic. FAMU takes on South Carolina State University (2-3 overall, 1-1 MEAC) in hopes of mounting yet another victory.

“Last week was all about recovery. We spent time working on new plays and making new adjustments,” said redshirt junior quarterback Albert Chester II, who helped put two touchdowns on the scoreboard and completed 13 of 25 passes for 218 yards against Tennessee State.

Even with their accomplishments, players said there is room for improvement. The Rattlers have made second half comebacks for much of the season. Chester said the offense should prepare to start off the game faster and know what to expect from the opposing defense.

On the other side of the ball, defensive end Tyrone McGriff, a junior, said the team has played with a lack of fire in the first half of games.

“We need to come out with more intensity,” McGriff said.

Two weeks ago, McGriff registered four tackles including a quarterback sack and tackle for loss. But the defense surrendered 437 yards of total offense against the Tigers, including 227 yards on the ground. McGriff said the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We needed the rest and some players needed to heal,” McGriff said.

Building a reputation for comeback games, Chester said the team needs to make less unforced errors in both halves. If the Rattlers take care of the ball, then the squad has a better chance to win.

“It’s time to cut down on turnovers and score every time we get the ball.”

Defense is the driving force in games, and lately, the Rattlers haven’t been able to muster up much of it. But with constant pressure on the SCS offense, FAMU is likely to wrap up the game sooner. With no excuses, McGriff is aware of where their flaws dwell and said all they have to do is play better football.

SCS has defeated FAMU the last three years. But the Rattlers will fight to uphold their recent win streak.

The game’s importance is not lost on redshirt junior wide receiver Derrick Williams. With both teams tied in the conference at 1-1, Williams said, “whoever wins this game has a better shot to win the title.”

Coming from a week off, the Rattlers say are fully conditioned and mentally prepared for their opponents. Despite the past, the team is confident in their new tactics and strategies.

Kickoff time for FAMU’s second home game of the season is at 6 p.m. And in the comfort of their home, the Rattlers are not primed to take their guests lightly.

“Its going to be a good one,” Chester said.