As the FAMU community prepares to welcome yet another head football coach to ‘The Hill,’ there may be a sense of apprehension or uncertainty of what will come.
Many of us who follow sports regularly wonder if new Coach Joe Taylor can restore FAMU to those days of glory, such as when the legendary Billy Joe roamed the sidelines of Bragg Memorial Stadium.
Calm down Rattler fans, I’m here to tell you that I believe Taylor’s presence will be very much felt on ‘The Hill.’
Here is a man that already has a lot of history under his belt. He’s currently the third winningest coach in Division I Football Championship Subdivision history, he’s coached at some level at four different schools and his most successful reign at Hampton University for 15 seasons has brought their football program eight conference titles, a Heritage Bowl Championship, seven trips to the NCAA playoffs and, prior to last season, three consecutive MEAC championships (2004-2006).
What many people considered a terrible year for both FAMU and HU football programs last year, it is still quite evident what Taylor can bring to the Rattlers program that should spell out success in the long run. Last season the Pirates still ranked in the top half out of a total of 10 MEAC teams in all but two of the top offensive categories, while the Rattlers under Carter ranked in the bottom half of all but two of those same categories.
Defensively, the Pirates were also not so bad, but they had their woes.
Last season FAMU went winless on the road (0-5), had their starting quarterback Albert Chester quit a few games into the season (for what reason, who really knows) and suffered a 7-34 defeat at the hands of rival Bethune Cookman-University.
When it was all said and done, the end of the year could spell nothing but defeat for Coach Rubin Carter as well. And after his firing and the resignation of Athletic Director Nelson Townsend, many fans hoped it might be Billy Joe who came back to save the Rattlers. However I believe FAMU still got a great deal.
Taylor has proven he is a winner. He’s ruled the MEAC the last few seasons prior to last year. I believe the stakes are in his favor. He’ll have bigger, better and even faster recruits, and his track record may even excite a few of the bigger schools to come and play FAMU more often, which in the long run could better prepare us for long playoff runs and championships.
The following statistics further show some of Taylor’s accomplishments. The grades are based on what I would have given the teams in each category compared to the stats from the rest of the conference ( Taylor’s 2007 season at HU, although it wasn’t as impressive as prior ones, still looked pretty good compared to Carter’s last).
FAMU can’t go anywhere, but up.