One player short

Rattler head football coach Rubin Carter said one player does not make a team. And he will have to test that theory after suspending star wide receiver Willie Hayward.

Hayward was suspended indefinitely because of conduct that Carter deemed detrimental on Monday.

According to Carter, Hayward’s indecent behavior over the past few months had begun to take a toll on the team.

Carter said Hayward was misrepresenting the team both on and off the field, and it had to come to an end.

“Our athletes need to be aware of the code of student conduct.” Carter said. “They do not need to bring a negative reflection on the team.”

Hayward’s suspension was the first in the 2006- 2007 season.

Carter said these recurring issues needed to be addressed.

Hayward has a reputation for his on the field trash talking, but his behavior had never merited a suspension.

Carter was not open to discuss any specific incidents but it is speculated that a recent altercation in the cafeteria was the final straw.

The 6-foot-4 receiver from Miami also did not comment.

Receivers’ coach Gary Harrell said the decisions made by Carter were based on team rules and what Carter felt was best for Hayward’s life.

Harrell did go on to describe Hayward as the “heartbeat of the team,” and said loosing his best receiver is going to have a tremendous impact to the squad.

“He’s an incredible athlete.” Harrel said. “Willie brings a lot excitement to the team. Where Willie goes the team goes.”

However Carter made it clear that the Rattlers program is about morals as well as football.

“No one player is above the FAMU program,” Carter said. ” And as a team we have to operate and be over that. The team is based on everyone. And athletes should know their role.”

Despite Carter’s assertions that the team will function normally without Hayward, the Rattlers could be without one of last season’s top play makers and receivers.

The receiving corps will already be without graduating senior Roosevelt Kiser, and barring the a lift of the suspension by Carter, will be without Hayward.

Last season Hayward averaged 670 yards and 13.8 yards per catch.

Kiser said he doesn’t believe the Rattlers will be without Hayward in the fall season, but if it does escalate to that point the team will definitely be young at the wide receiver position.

Kiser said he hopes Hayward clears up this situation and goes on to lead the team.

“Hopefully his attitude would change and he will step up and be a leader. Without Hayward the offense is without a veteran,” Kiser said.

Harrell said in the meantime freshman Adrian Smith will take Hayward’s place.

Both Carter and Harrell explained Hayward needs to understand this is not a test and it’s only for Hayward’s best interest.

“It’s not about X and O’s, it’s about doing the right thing,” Carter said.