The Florida A&M University football team (5-3 overall, 3-2 MEAC) prepares to play the North Carolina A&T University Aggies (0-8 overall, 0-6 MEAC) Saturday, but the real battle will probably begin from within.
Last week the Aggies were blown out 70-7 against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. It could be an easy game, but the Rattlers are not taking the game lightly.
“We have to go out and take them seriously and play hard,” said Leon Camel, a junior backup quarterback, who completed six passes for 76 yards last week against Morgan State University and led the team in rushing with 49 yards.
Redshirt freshman Demetris Lane, who assisted the defensive effort with seven tackles, said the team feels confident about Saturday’s game, but the Rattlers shouldn’t underestimate the opponent.
“There are good players in every team regardless of who they are,” he said.
As far as Saturday’s line up, there are a few players still on the injured list, including senior wide receiver Roosevelt Kiser.Kiser twisted his ankle last week after receiving for 37 yards. After reviewing X-rays, at the weekly press conference, he said his injury was not as bad as he first thought. Kiser said whether he plays against the Aggies depends on Head Coach Rubin Carter’s decision.
Carter said he looks forward to getting all of his injured players in the game Saturday, but it depends on the final review.
“We’ll get an opportunity to be able to evaluate those players during our Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday practice and see whether or not they’re capable of being able to go in and compete,” Carter said.
This season, FAMU’s players have worked to win many close games. Carter said the team must work to improve its mental mistakes.
“Eliminate the turnovers and especially the penalty situations and all those things that can deter you from having a successful game,” he said. “I think that’s one of the things we can do so we can execute a lot better.”
The ultimate goal for the Rattlers is to play a full game against the Aggies.
“We feel, you know, that this game can go either way. They’re 0-8, so they’re hungry. So we can’t take them lightly,” Kiser said. “We’re taking them as if they are the No. 1 team in the conference.”
The offensive line has allowed nine sacks all season, ranking them second in the MEAC for fewest allowed sacks.Lenard Black, a senior offensive lineman, said the team will focus on getting back to the basics Saturday.
“We need to go out, start fast and finish fast,” Black said. “We want to win, and we got to win again. We have to finish the season strong.”
The theme for the Rattlers this weekend is to not become overly excited and to get a win.
“I don’t want our team to get caught up in going and playing an A&T team,” Carter said.
“We have to focus on the things that we need to do.”The passion, focus and desire to win may determine the game’s outcome.
“We have a lot of heart and we’re not going to let some team that hasn’t won a game yet beat us,” Camel said.Heart is what Carter and most of the players said continues to fuel their drive in close games.
“Everybody on our team, we just have heart,” Camel said. “We have skill also but I know every guy in that locker room. When we look at each other, we know we got each other’s back.”
Saturday’s game is at the Aggie Stadium in Greensboro. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.