Taylor pushes team to next level

Florida A&M Rattler football is back on track this year, and many players have credited first-year, head football coach, Joe Taylor.

Taylor has not wasted any time returning FAMU to gridiron glory. A year ago, the Rattlers record was 2-7. This year, the record is 6-2.

In one year, Taylor has gained the respect of his staff, players, students and alumni.

Players have adapted to Taylor’s coaching and have even gone as far as saying Taylor is a better coach than his predecessor, Rubin Carter.

Nari Tomlinson, junior offensive lineman, from Miramar, said Taylor is a good coach because of his coaching style – on and off the field.

“Taylor is a better coach first of all, because he is a very spiritually rooted individual and he makes us believe this is our team,” Tomlinson said. “He makes us believe it is our season and we can only go as far as we want it to go.”

Players said Taylor is big on discipline, one key element missing under Carter’s direction.

“There was no discipline last year,” said Kevin Elliott, a sophomore wide receiver from Orlando. “Coach Taylor expects more out of us players. Our workouts are stricter and our scouting reports for games are more detailed.”

Coach Taylor, 58, has an impressive coaching resume. He accomplished many things before coming to FAMU. In his 26 years of coaching on the collegiate level, Taylor has been named MEAC Coach of the Year three years in a row, 2004 through 2006. He has won four Black College Championships, eight conference titles, a Heritage Bowl, and has taken seven trips to the NCAA Playoffs.

Much of his success occurred during his 16-year tenure as head football coach at Howard University.

Taylor is the eighth all-time Division I FCS coach to reach 200 victories. William “Billy” Joe is the only other FAMU football coach (1994-2004) to achieve such an accomplishment.

Last year under Coach Carter, players said they were confused on many of their coverages and assignments, which caused them to lose games.

“Coach Carter’s approach to the game was not as in-depth as Coach Taylor’s now,” Elliot said. “We feel more confident going into games and it is showing.”  

Andre Jacobs, a junior running back from Ocala, said the team has more faith in the program.

“We believe in the program and he is straight forward with you,” Jacobs said. “We know what he expects and we do it with a sense of passion because he makes it fun for us.”

Javier Wallace, offensive lineman from Austin, Tx., said the team admires Taylor’s character overall.

“We respect Coach Taylor and his philosophy and also the vision,” Wallace said. “He helped us to see the great things we can accomplish as a team and as individual men in life. We just have to work hard at it. He has showed us more things than just football. I really enjoy the FCA program and I feel it’s helping the team to bond and grow spiritually in which will make us perform better on and off the field.”