The Florida A&M Rattlers will look to remain one of the top teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference when they head to Greensboro, N.C., to take on the North Carolina A&T Aggies. After a critical homecoming win, FAMU is in position to take sole possession of second place in the conference.
With the 2010 homecoming festivities in the rear-view mirror, head coach Joe Taylor spoke at Tuesday’s press conference about what steps his team takes to remain focused on an Aggie team hungry for their second win via upset.
“The idea is at the end of the tunnel there is a lot still to be gathered,” Taylor said. “To be in a position with the challenges we’ve had at the early part of the season in terms of injuries and senior laden teams, travel; all of that and we’re still in position to gain every goal that we had in place. That’s the motivation. That’s what keeps you focused. We’re keeping our eyes on the prize.”
The Aggies boast one of the conference’s most prolific rushing attacks behind Mike Mayhew, who has gained 1,042 yards on 203 carries this season. The junior out of Charlotte has crossed the goal line seven times this season, and averages 115.8 yards per game.
Florida A&M senior defensive end Marquiste Ramos spoke about the team’s preparation for the speedster after this weekend’s homecoming events.
“We win the game on Saturday. Then we come in Sunday and talk about the game; what we did well and what we need to work on,” Ramos said. “We work out; we run and get focused on the next opponent. We take Monday off, then Tuesday we’re right back at it early in the morning studying the next opponent.”
Part of that preparation included the addition of a play clock to aid in cutting down the 21 penalties from last weekend that cost the Rattlers 157 yards.
Redshirt-sophomore center Shelley Anthony spoke about some of the things he is looking to do to limit the offensive penalties on the road.
“I’m trying to be more self-conscious in practice,” Anthony said. “I know that we’re doing everything efficiently; in the right way. I’m trying to be hard on myself about the play clock and hands assignment, but also not having dumb penalties. We’re trying to cut those out.”
Also announced at the press conference was the new deal between IMG Worldwide and FAMU.
IMG is a global sports, entertainment and media business with an interest in applying their expertise to FAMU’s marketing plan.
The agreement will make IMG FAMU’s third-party sales representative for the school’s corporate sponsorship program.
Athletic director Derek Horne spoke about the new deal Tuesday.
“We have an awesome institution that needs to be branded in a way that we feel befits not only our athletics program, but the university,” Horne said. “It gives us an opportunity to leverage what we have not only in our region, but make a more national presence.”
While a new marketing regime takes over the advertising reigns of the FAMU athletic program, the Rattlers will be determined to impress this Saturday.