The Florida A&M [FAMU] Rattlers are still getting acquainted to the new system under Head Coach Alex Wood after an agonizing start to the season.
Last year under former head Coach Earl Holmes, FAMU applied a run heavy offensive scheme with a 3-4 defense, meanwhile, the 4-3 defense, under coach Wood utilizes three linebackers and four down linemen to attack the offense.
Wood feels that the team is still on track for a promising season.
“They’re coming along fine with it,” Wood said. “As we expect at this point, we’re not behind schedule.”
Senior linebacker Akil Blount, from Pittsburgh, Pa., played under both schemes and knows that perfection takes time.
“Rome wasn’t built in one day and this program isn’t going to be built in one day,” Blount said.
Even though the Rattlers were routed in their first three games of the season, there were still some positive signs.
Devin Bowers, freshman running back from St. Petersburgh, Fla., had a 73-yard running touchdown three weeks ago against the Samford Bulldogs and received Rookie of the Week honors. Blount had an interception and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown in the same game.
Their most recent defeat was a home opener last Saturday in front of more than 18,000 fans against Tennessee State University. The Rattlers lost 30-14, dropping their record to 0-4.
FAMU came out swinging up until late in the third quarter. The Rattlers went into halftime tied 7-7 after DeVondrick Nealy returned a punt for 83 yards. They scored again after the half when redshirt junior quarterback, Carson Royal threw a 46-yard pass to Kareem Smith, putting the Rattlers up 14-7. Everything went downhill after that.
Royal showed improvements in multiple areas of his game. Two weeks ago, he threw 12-31 and one interception. This week, he improved his ratings throwing 10-21 and a passing touchdown, his first of the season.
Royal knows he needs to continue to improve if his team is going to come out with a win soon.
“I have to hit wide open receivers,” Royal said. “That’s really what it comes down to. I have to get better and everyone else needs to get better.”
The next three teams the Rattlers will face all have losing records: Savannah State (0-3) North Carolina Central (1-2), Delaware State (0-3).
Wood wants to make sure his guys know that they can’t take any team lightly.
“There’s going to be a struggle, there’s going to be a battle, there’s going to be competition all the way through no matter what the caliber of the team is,” Wood said.
For more details visit famuathletics.com or call the ticket office at 850-599-3141.