This year’s Orange and Green football game will foreshadow the plan for the Joe Taylor coaching era. The game will be the first public display of the blueprint Taylor will use to build the program.
His plan is one that focuses on making the players are better people first, then better athletes. “Do the right thing,” Taylor said. “If you get in the habit of doing that, you’re going to become a winner. We’re not trying to win on Saturday and not win every day.”
He said it will take hard work and perseverance for success. He said he has also seen improvements in testing times and a greater work ethic in his players.
Taylor is not the only one who can see a change in the players. William Bennett, video coordinator for the football team, said the team’s morale is a lot higher.
“It’s more evident that they are willing to go the extra mile and they are more motivated. They trust that he will take them to the Promise Land,” Bennett said.
Taylor said the team will have a more balanced attack offensively. In order to combat any defense they want to have a solid running and passing game. Defensively the Rattlers want to be aggressive and force turnovers.
However, Taylor said the most important thing is for the players to uphold their responsibility on the field.
“I want everybody to understand that they are one-eleventh of that team on the field,” he said. “Whatever your responsibility is, don’t ever let your teammate down.”
Players are anxiously waiting for the game and are preparing vigorously for it as well. Dwayne Lanier, junior offensive tackle for the Rattlers, said this game is going to be entertaining and full of energy.
“As everybody can see, it’s a new era for FAMU and it’s a new era for FAMU football,” Lanier said. “We’re exciting, we’re flying around, we’re starting to click. A bunch of us have been around each other going on four years now. So it’s going to be clean, it’s going to be physical and exciting.”
Overall, Taylor said he has been encouraged by the group of players he has.
“We want everybody to get excited about what’s going on, not just the players,” Taylor said. “We are not some entity down on the other end of campus. We are Famuans and we want support. You won’t be disappointed.”
The game is Saturday at 1 p.m. in Bragg Stadium.