Pass Offense: D-
Whenever a team throws more interceptions than touchdowns it’s never a good thing. With no passing touchdowns in the last two games, quarterback play seems to be the Achilles of the Rattlers.
“Ukpai has to trust his game and what he hears in the locker room, not from reporters,” head coach Joe Taylor said. “When you pass for only sixty three yards a game it’s hard to get those reporters thoughts out of your head.”
Rush Offense: B-
Returning to his usual form, senior running back Phillip Sylvester was virtually unstoppable against the Savannah State Tigers. Leading all rushers in the game, Sylvester amassed 153 on 18 carries. The Rattlers totaled 327 rushing yards against Savannah State.
“The play of the offensive line was wonderful and I know it will get better,” Sylvester said. The Florida A&M rushing attack has four touchdowns in the second quarter, despite being shutout against South Carolina State.
Pass Defense: A
Led by senior cornerbacks Qier Hall and Curtis Holcomb, the secondary continues to get better. The Rattlers possess one of the best pass defenses in the conference, allowing the opposing quarterbacks to only pass for 121 yards a game.
“Our coach says big plays happen in the secondary,” Holcomb said.
He and the secondary collected three interceptions in the second quarter of the season, and opposing quarterbacks started using more screens to stay away from the ball hawking defenders.
The defense has not allowed a passing touchdown in that span.
Rush Defense: C
Getting the first shut out of the season, the defense helped the team in the second quarter of the season. The team allowed only one touchdown, but opposing teams averaged 4 yards a carry. With less than a 200-yard average, there is room for improvement in the Rattlers’ attack.
Special Teams: A
Connecting on all PATs and field goals, Trevor Scott has returned. The kicking game of the Rattlers is consistent and a big help. Punter Brandon Holdren is averaging a little more than 45 yards per punt.
Running back James Owens is averaging decent return yardage and if not for a penalty, Antonio Lawrence would have had the Rattlers’ first special teams score of this season.
As usual, coach Taylor keeps the wheels turning and always gets his teams prepared for whatever situation they seem to be in. Even after a 19-0 loss to South Carolina State, Taylor reminded everyone that the season wasn’t over and there was much more football to be played.
It appears that all areas of the team are starting to click, so except a huge leap in the passing game. Virtually unstoppable in the rushing attack, the team pounded their recent opponent on the ground.
The team has yet to reach its potential. The defense needs a little improvement while the offense needs much improvement.
There are five games remaining this season, including one against the current first place Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. The rattlers must continue to improve to reach the goal of a post-season birth.