Rattlers start off with FBS challenge

The start of the Florida A&M football season is only one day away. Opening day for the new-look Florida A&M Rattlers is tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

The opponent: The Miami Hurricanes, ranked 13th in the nation by the Associated Press poll.

Film study has been essential to the team’s preparation this off-season. It’ll be the task of those who played in the game against Miami last year to lead the team this year.

Alvis Graham played in the Miami game last season, and will use what he learned from that game to help the defense with the different looks they will see.

“When I’m out there on the field I try and let the guys know some of the things I’ve seen on film and also some of the things I saw on the field last year,” Graham said.

Starting Cornerback, and Miami native, Curtis Holcomb has his mind set on using this game to help sharpen this years team’s focus going into the season.

“Of course this is Miami, so you have to be prepared. We all take home film to get in the habit of learning tendencies of the receivers route running and all the other little things,” Holcomb said. “What better team to start with than one with Travis Benjamin, LaRon Byrd, and Leonard Hankerson.”

FAMU is heading to the game with first year starter Martin Ukpai under center. Ukpai will be protected by a line compiled of four transfers, but has a host of experience in his skill positions.

Kevin Elliott, Isaac West, and Adrian Smith lead an all senior receiving corps.

“It’s really exciting,” Elliot said.  “We’ve been hitting each other for the past two months and we’re really just excited just to go on the field against another opponent.”

Holcomb, who had an interception in the last game against Miami, said he was less excited and more focused on the impending match up with a top-tier FBS school.

“Last year when we played against Miami everybody was so excited because it was Miami,” he said. “To me it’s just another opponent, you know, so we want to get more focused.”

Veteran senior Phillip Sylvester and upcoming talent Eddie Rocker will be seeing the majority of the time at the running back position.

“Last year when you saw us line up, most things went through Pulley,” Taylor said. “You’ll see Philip in the backfield this year.”

In a rematch of last season’s biggest loss for the rattlers, Coach Joe Taylor sees no reason for heads to be hung low.

“If you are sending us an invitation to a pity party or a wake, we wont be there,” Coach Taylor said. “We are going to show up and you will enjoy everything you see.”