At this point in the season last year, the Florida A&M University’s football record was 2-5, the complete opposite of their current 5-2 record.
They have proven that they are not the same team, and head football coach Joe Taylor credits their success to discipline.
“They bought into the idea that the harder you work, the harder it is to fail. I guess you could say our weakness is inconsistency, but that’s something that comes with the youth,” Taylor said.
Taylor said their game plan for the next match-up, against Norfolk State University, is to stop the run and show consistency on the field.
“A factor that contributed to our inconsistency is the fact that we only returned five seniors to the team this year,” he said. “We shouldn’t be as good in the third game as we are in the eighth game hopefully we can see the improvement in our consistency,” Taylor said.
Junior outside linebacker Bryan Parker is not concerned about the lack of upperclassman on the team.
“I think that youth is an advantage for us. We’ve got five seniors this year, that means we’ll have 25 next season and we’ll see steady progress.” Parker said.
He also mentioned that another reason the team was doing so well this season was because of the increased team chemistry.
“This is more our team, yes Coach Taylor is the head coach, but he gives us the chance to make certain decisions,” Parker said.
Parker said the main thing the team wants to do against Norfolk State is try to stop the run game and force them to pass.
“When you can make an offense one dimensional you know what they’re going to do and that makes it easier.”
According to junior linebacker Damien Priester the improvement of their special teams has been a factor this season as well. The Rattlers have scored six special teams touchdowns compared to zero last year.
“Coach Taylor is very passionate about special teams. We dedicate more time this year to working on special teams than we ever did last season. A lot of people don’t think that special teams is important but that’s a big part of our game.” Priester said.
The Rattlers are now entering the most important part of their schedule. The final five games of the regular season will be played against teams in the MEAC.