Florida A&M University head coach Joe Taylor is adopting is “wait-and-see” approach as to the status of four key injuries to his offense suffered in Saturday’s 25-0 loss to the Hampton University Pirates.
The Rattlers (7-3, 5-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) will need to regroup quickly in order to take down the Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats in the 30th Annual Florida Classic Saturday. The Wildcats (5-5, 4-3 in the MEAC) have won five of their last six games.
Senior starting quarterback Curtis Pulley aggravated his prior groin injury in the first quarter against the Pirates. He is currently working with physical therapist to be rehabilitated.
Junior backup quarterback Eddie Battle suffered a second-degree right shoulder sprain in the fourth quarter of the game. Battle’s status is currently questionable.
Wide receivers Kevin Elliott and Isaac West both went down in the first half with sprained right ankles.
West was seen walking out of the Al Lawson Teaching Gym in a leg brace. While his teammate Elliott stated earlier that he was sure of his own ability to recover from his injury, Taylor is still unsure of the status of either receiver heading into the Florida Classic.
“We’ll know more as the week goes on, to best honest,” Taylor said. “All of them think they’re going to be ready. The injury report still says, ‘limited,’ for now. It’s still early but we’ll certainly have enough folks to line up with.”
All of the players are currently working with a physical therapist with hopes to participate in Saturday’s upcoming game. The Florida Classic will be a chance for the Rattlers to validate their No. 23 spot in the Coach’s Poll, despite having lost against the Pirates.
The injuries will force the Rattlers offense to quickly learn the tendencies of new players and get former backups up to game speed.
Players had trouble making quick adjustments against Hampton which led to Florida A&M’s worst statisical offensive performance all season. The Rattlers gained a total 184 yards.
The offense hopes to return to form in what could be its final game.
“They weren’t expecting to get in or to have that much time on the field,” said senior offensive lineman Robert Okeafor. “I think the timing is just off. I mean we’re deep; we’ve got guys that can play. We just need to get together and get the timing and stuff right.”
No players practiced Tuesday, focusing instead on recuperation and rehabilitation.
According to Taylor, players will be working on treatment and their first full practice will more than likely be tomorrow.