During a press conference Tuesday, Florida A&M head football coach Earl Holmes said the Rattlers need to move quickly and never quit against the North Carolina A&T Aggies.
After a homecoming loss to the Howard University Bison, the Rattlers (2-5, 1-2 MEAC) are looking to rebound against the Aggies on Saturday.
“We didn’t make the plays and they did,” Holmes said of Howard.
The Rattlers trailed 21-3 early in the second quarter after allowing three rushing touchdowns. Freshman Bison running back Anthony Philyaw ran for two.
Frances May, a senior defensive lineman for the Rattlers, expressed his sadness about allowing the three rushing touchdowns in the first half.
“The defense started off slow,” May said. “You can’t do that against teams who are trying to beat Florida A&M.”
The defense will have to stop two Aggie running backs and their dual-threat quarterback. Holmes said the Rattlers need to focus on containing the Aggies’ redshirt senior quarterback Lewis Kindle.
“When you have a guy who can extend plays, it is hard to stay with receivers that long,” Holmes said.
Holmes also mentioned that younger players are stepping up for the team. The Rattlers have two freshmen defensive backs with three interceptions each: Darren Parker and Patrick Aiken.
Offensively, FAMU had a difficult time executing when opportunity struck.
Admasen Felix, a redshirt junior wide receiver, emphasized the importance of execution against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s fifth-ranked defense.
“Third downs are money downs,” Felix said. “We have to make those plays.”
The Rattlers went 3-for-10 on third-down conversions. The Rattlers want to focus on converting third downs to get momentum during the game.
Holmes wants his team to control the line of scrimmage because “the run game was his offense.” The Rattlers will need to have a strong run game because the Aggies take pride in stopping runs, he said.
Junior kicker Chase Varnadore has not had as many opportunities to kick field goals this year.
“If we win the game, then I don’t care if I kick a field goal,” Varnadore said. “I want to do whatever it takes to help the team.”