The Rattler football team is entering into the season with a sense of optimism. After a summer of long workouts the team is confident it can compete in the MEAC
Head coach Joseph Taylor said about 75 athletes stayed in Tallahassee for the summer.
“They took classes,” Taylor said. “They were up on the track at 5:45 a.m. working on speed and later in the evening, they were lifting.”
Taylor said this season the team must play smarter.
“It’s all about hard work. We expect to be successful,” Taylor said. “On offense, we have to make sure we protect the football. On defense, we have to be accountable and pay attention.”
Even though Tropical Storm Fay caused delays and closed some schools, Taylor said the weather had minimum effects on the team. The team watched a film and took a written test during the bad weather.
“It was a good chance to get our legs back,” Taylor said.
This week’s task will include trying to stop the Alabama State attack in its first home game on Saturday.
Taylor said that the Rattlers have to watch the Hornets deadly passing game .
“They spread out the field. They throw the ball a lot,” Taylor said. “We really are going to have to be disciplined- just minimize our mistakes. The team that wins is the team with the least mistakes.”
Earl Holmes, assistant coach for defense, said the first quarter of the game each team will be feeling each other out.
“They have a new offense coordinator,” Holmes said. “Your goal as a defense is to make sure you put them in some situations they don’t want to be in. You have to be disciplined in your defense and in your zone drops.”
Holmes said it will be a team effort playing against ASU this weekend. This will be the first game of the season for both teams.
FAMU’s quarterback, Eddie Battle, spoke at the conference about his plans for the season and the first game.
“I plan to execute our assignment,” Battle said. “My biggest goal is to maintain a leadership position. I don’t have no room for error.”
Battle, 20, a junior accounting student from Titusville, said his goal for game one is to execute the plan he and the team have been working on since last season.
Battle said that unlike last year, his team is more focused and determined.
“Every athlete on the team is actually believing what coach Taylor is saying,” Battle said. “Every time our team takes the field, we practice to win every game.”
Battle said it upsets him how low the football team was ranked in the MEAC coming into the 2008 season. The team was expected to place in the conference basement, with an eighth place ranking.
“I look at it as a slap in the face, I take it as an insult,” Battle said. “We were beating ourselves with turnovers and injuries.”
Taylor said the team has been getting involved in the community as well as improving their game.
“They provided classroom equipment for schools to present to the less fortunate children,” Taylor said. “They got together and had a team building exercise by painting the stadium.”
The team kicks off its season on Saturday at Bragg Stadium