The first step in recapturing the glory days of football at Florida A&M University began Saturday with the annual Orange and Green football game.
After a disappointing 2007 campaign, which ended with a 3-8 overall record, there is a new coach, a new system and a new attitude.
Football players are impressed with the new lineup and have expressed their approval of the upcoming season. Demarius Folsom, 18, sophomore tight end, said he can see the improvements.
“I think the defense should be a lot better and I’m looking forward to the offense to obtain its glory from days past,” said Folsom, a broadcast journalism student from Madison.
The Orange and Green game started with a bray of strikes by the green team, who found itself up 21 to 0 at the end of the first quarter. After the teams changed sides of the field, the green team continued with its drive. The play ended with a nine-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Philip Sylvester to extend the lead to 27 but not 28 as freshman place kicker Troy Walker missed the extra point wide right.
After a series of stops, the second quarter came to an end, which brought on halftime. At halftime while the team was making adjustments, the Marching 100 entertained the crowd from the stands with various songs including “Purple Rain,” which it performed alongside Prince in its 2007 Super Bowl performance.
After halftime, the third quarter was on its way with the same results from the first half of the football game. Bad luck struck the orange team once again with a costly turnover. A fumbled punt return by junior cornerback Antwaun Moore led to a two-yard touchdown pass from redshirt sophomore quarterback Eddie Battle. The pass led to junior running back Mykel Benson to further increase the score in favor of the green team to 34 to zip.
Turnovers were a weak point for the Rattlers last season with a -15-turnover margin, which is key to the success of the offense as well as the defense. Another turnover was forced by the defense when sophomore cornerback Qier Hall intercepted a pass, then proceeded to take it to the house. That made the score 41 to nothing.
As the game came to an end, the final score of the game came by way of Battle to freshman wide receiver Kelvin Elliott for a four-yard touchdown pass that made the score 54 to 0, with the green team taking the win.
The game displayed a new offensive system that showed a more explosive style that could bring comparisons to the old “Gulf Coast” run by coach Billy Joe in FAMU’s hey day.
The football team is ready for the new season, and Nari Tomilson, an offensive lineman, said the Rattlers have made excellent progress.
“A lot of things were accomplished today,” said Tomilson, 19, a sophomore public relations student.
Folsom said the team is anxious to show off its skills.
“Guys just want to win and play at their best ability,” he said.
With this new team focus, the Rattlers are ready and willing to take the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference by storm.