After dropping the first home contest to the South Carolina State Bulldogs, head coach Joe Taylor said at Tuesday’s press conference the team is looking forward to getting back on the right track to a MEAC championship.
“This is the second season. A lot of folks that are undefeated have not played each other,” said Taylor. “Our goal is to take the games one at a time each week, compete, and we’re as much in this race as anyone in this conference.”
The Rattlers currently hold a record of 2-1 in conference play as they prepare for a team who is joining the MEAC on a provisional basis. Free Safety John Ojo is one of the players on the defense ready for Saturday night’s redemption game.
“We have to put that game behind us. We’re playing a totally different team, so we have to change the game plan in every aspect,” said Ojo. “We understand this team came from a lower division, but we’re not going to take them lightly.”
The Tigers possess a the three-headed rushing attack led by Justin Babb. He has 266 rushing yards and one touchdown on the season.
Freshman Sheldon Barnes leads all rushers with three touchdowns. Though Savannah State can feature many rushers, a local signal caller will be leading the offense when he returns to the area.
A Quincy, Fla. product, Antonio Bostick has risen through the ranks to become the Tiger’s starting quarterback. In five games the freshman has 378 yards with two touchdowns. Bostick’s quarterback rating sits at a comfortable 113.3 as he has completed well over 50 percent of his passes.
The Florida A&M defense has been watching tape on the local talent, and linebacker Demarius Folsom is confident that his unit will be ready for the deep ball, as well as the running threat Bostick brings to the game.
“They rely on the quarterback No. 13 Bostick. He’s a leading guy, and when they need something they run a lot of quarterback powers,” said Folsom. “They give him the ball like the University of Florida uses Tim Tebow. Basically we’re going to cut the head off the snake, and have him wrapped up for the win.”
Taylor addressed the play of the young quarterback Tuesday, and is confident that his team is well prepared for the type of offense that the Tigers implement.
“He’s an athlete,” commented Taylor. “They run the stretch-zone, but most of the time he’s going to pull it and keep it himself. He gets up like the energizer bunny. He gets hit, but he gets up and keeps moving around.”
Martin Ukpai will get the start Saturday, but redshirt freshman Austin Trainor could see playing time should Ukpai go down with an injury.
“Each game is separate based on the game situations. If there is a backup needed it would be Trainor. Battle, we called him in and let him know that as a senior you’re probably not going to get too much better,” added Taylor.
“Trainor, who is a red-shirt freshman, certainly there is a lot of room for improvement. Battle did not separate himself when we needed senior leadership so again, if there is a need we’d like to play both just for experience. To get to, you’ve got to go through. The only way to get experience is to get out there.”
The Rattlers will meet the Tigers in Bragg Memorial Stadium Saturday, October 16 at 3 p.m. The game will air on WXBX 96.1 FM Tallahassee, Fla. with FAMU Hall of Famer Keith Miles calling the action.