Rattlers prepare for rude welcome home


After a disappointing loss to the Tennessee State Tigers last week in the Georgia Dome, Florida A&M will host the South Carolina State Bulldogs in Tallahassee.  It will be the first home game of the season, and the team is excited about giving the Rattler faithful an improved performance.

The Rattler offense posted just 199 yards of total offense against the Tigers a week after putting up 406 yards against the Howard Bison in Washington D.C.  Now, the Rattlers face a tough test against the defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Bulldogs, who have dominated its last two games after an opening week loss to Georgia Tech.  

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you respond to it,” said head coach Joe Taylor.  “We look forward to returning home.  I’ve heard so many times that maybe the four games on the road created the flatness, the bottom line is: you’ve still got to play.  I know we’re better than we showed last week, and we’re anxious to take on the challenge.”

To remedy the offensive struggles, players have been spending extra time in the film room.  One of the Rattlers’ most potent weapons on offense, T.J. Lawrence, said that Monday’s film session was the longest he’s experienced since transferring from the University of Florida.   

“Last night was the longest film session we’ve ever had. We looked at everything we did. We rewind the plays so many times, and we had to see what mistakes we made to see how we can correct them,” Lawrence disclosed.  “As we’re being coached we have to show it on the field.”

Looking to make his mark on the game is Junior wide receiver Brian Tymes.  Tymes had only one reception against Tennessee State, but thinks that the extra time spent watching film will have the offense ready for the big match up this weekend.

“Watching the film and looking at the scouting report they have a really good pass defense, they’re ranked number one in the nation,” said Tymes. ” As far as running, they’re pretty good there too. We trust our scout team to give us some good looks.  We’ll be ready for them.”

Students attending the game are encouraged to wear black during the toughest conference  test for the Rattlers so far this season. Lawrence says that instead of letting opposing defenders dictate what he does on the field, he draws motivation from the home crowd.

“We always look to score early of course.  As far as getting in their head, some people talk some people don’t.  I’m not really a big talker on the field,” Lawrence revealed.  “If anything it’s the crowd that affects me before [the defense] affects me.”

Just as the Tigers broke their losing streak against the Rattlers last week in Atlanta, FAMU will try to break their seven-game losing streak against the Bulldogs. South Carolina State is currently in the midst of a 17-game winning streak against MEAC opponents, a run that the Rattlers are excited about having the opportunity to halt.

“You come back, you watch film, and you know that what you saw last week was not us.  So the bottom line is you go out and you bring full faculty,” Taylor declared.  “It’s alignment, assignment, and execution.  They’re billing this as a heavyweight fight, well come six o’clock it will be a heavyweight fight.”

Saturday night’s game will begin at 6 p.m. under the bright lights of Bragg Memorial Stadium, and will be broadcast on WXBX 96.1 FM.  A tape delay of the game will air on ESPNU at 10:30 p.m. the same night.