Simmons says Rattlers are learning valuable lessons after 1-2 season start

Willie Simmons addressing the press during his weekly press conference on Tuesday
Avery Jacobs/The FAMUAN

After Saturday’s 18-16 loss to Jackson State (1-1), the Florida A&M Rattlers (1-2) have now dropped two games in a row and Head Coach Willie Simmons was present at Tuesday’s press conference to address questions about the game and how the Rattlers can get better moving forward.

When asked about the team’s lack of clock awareness on the last drive against Jackson State, Coach Simmons said knowing the situation was critical on that drive.

“It’s always something that you work on and that you talk about and you try to give them every scenario they could possibly get. The learning lesson for us though as a team, and me as a coach, isn’t necessarily about how fast we’re supposed to get our field goal team on time, but about knowing the situation of the game and the situation of the game dictated that we didn’t need to hurry up and kick a field goal,” Simmons said.

“Our tempo at times is still not where it needs to be, even on the last drive its understanding that we didn’t have any timeouts and we need to have a lot more sense of urgency. Even on the last play, Ricky (Henrilus) took a lot longer to get up than we would’ve wanted too in that situation and understanding situational football is always an intricate part of a team’s growth.”

In a total of three games this season, the Rattlers lead the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in total penalties thus far. Whether it’s a lack of discipline or just mental errors, the mistakes on the field stalled FAMU’s offense the entire game against JSU on Saturday.

 “The games that we lost I’ve tipped my hat to the teams that beat us because they were obviously better that day, but when we watch the film we can see so many things that we’ve done wrong and they have been self-inflicted and not because of what the other team was causing,” coach Simmons said.

Although the Rattlers and coach Simmons have not necessarily gotten off to the best start with a 1-2 record, they seem to be poised and ready to prove any doubters wrong moving forward.

 “There will be a lot of people doubting the Rattlers and counting us out right now, but as long as we continue to put forth the work, effort, and energy into believing one another, I think good things are on the horizon.”

The Rattlers will look to get their second win of the season and will open up conference play this Saturday against Savannah State at Bragg Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m. on ESPN3.