Things just keep getting better for the (8-1) Florida A&M Rattlers. This week their schedule came to a pit stop as they entered a bye week coming off an impressive eight-game winning streak.
FAMU Head Coach Willie Simmons held his weekly press conference on Tuesday afternoon and spoke about his team’s most recent performance against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) opponent Delaware State University.
“Offensively, we threw the ball well like we’ve done all year, (along) with having the highest output in rushing, which is good to see,” Simmons said. “Defensively, we (forced) some turnovers, gave (up) a couple of big plays, and they ran the ball against us, which is something we’ve been really good at stopping this year,” Simmons added.
Also, FAMU Quarterback Ryan Stanley became the school’s all-time leader in passing attempts (1,017 )and passing touchdowns (58) in last weekend’s conference game.
FAMU wide receiver Xavier Smith, one of the top MEAC receivers this season also broke the record for the most touchdowns scored in a single game, with the previous record by a Rattler receiver with a total of four.
With the bye week officially in full effect, Coach Simmons emphasized the importance of recruiting, being that their schedule has been hectic all season long.
“Obviously, during football season it’s hard to emphasize and focus on this level,” Simmons said.
“We don’t have manpower of the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) power five programs to have guys watch film all day while we’re game planning, so we’ve (decided) to take a step back from game-planning for a couple of days to really just get caught up on recruiting film and trying to get a good list of guys together, for the upcoming weeks” Simmons exclaimed.
When it comes to FAMU’s scouting, the coaching staff plans to visit local high schools first, and then work their way to the statewide level.
“The plan is to get out as far as we can,” Simmons stated. “We have some coaches who are designated for this recruitment area,” Simmons said.
“I spend most of my time here locally, but we’ll get out to Atlanta, we’ll get down to South Florida, Central Florida, and try to see some of the high games this week as well,” Simmons stated. “You want to utilize the bye week as much as you can with the free time that we have,” Simmons added.
The excitement of FAMU football, both nationally and locally, has caught the attention of exciting potential recruits lately, according to Simmons. His biggest focus on recruiting all falls on the level of interest the recruits are giving back to FAMU football.
“Some are high profile recruits, but the reception has been really good, and that’s a good thing for this program moving forward,” Simmons said.
“Every year there a ton of guys from the Big Bend area who go on to sign FBS, Power Five and mid-major scholarships, even at the FCS level,” Simmons said. “To have the contact and interest from a lot of those guys… it does show that the program is trending in the right direction,” Simmons added.
FAMU will look to keep their winning streak alive (8-1, 6-0 MEAC), as they will take on the Howard Bison (1-8, 1-4 MEAC) in their last home game at Bragg Memorial Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 at 4 p.m.