Willie Simmons wants to deliver a victory for FAMU’s homecoming

Willie Simmons making his FAMU head coaching debut against Fort Valley State Sept. 1
Sydne Vigille | The FAMUAN

After Saturday’s victory against North Carolina Central University, head coach Willie Simmons has his eyes set on delivering a victory for Florida A&M football during its homecoming game.

FAMU will square-off with the Norfolk State University for its annual homecoming game. The Spartans defeated the Rattlers last season on a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter and beat FAMU in the 2014 homecoming game 12-10. 2014’s blunder was caused by bad-clock management on the final drive of the game where FAMU got the ball to NSU’s two-yard-line and let the game clock run out of time.

Though Simmons is a Tallahassee area native, this will be his first homecoming as the head coach of the Rattlers. Simmons spoke to what he expects out of his players and out of the week.

“As always, homecoming is a right of passage at FAMU. It’s an event everyone looks forward to and a date everyone circles on their calendar. There are people who only show up to FAMU once a year and that’s for homecoming,” said Simmons.

“We understand as a football team the worst thing to do is to lose homecoming… Our football team understands that one, our homecoming reputation is at stake and two, our conference standing is at stake.”

Simmons said he conversed with his players after Saturday’s victory and told them he expects them to block out all distractions and focus on the task at hand which is beating a good NSU team who is also undefeated in conference play.

The Rattlers control their own destiny now being 2-0 in conference play. This is significant because due to the Rattlers slow starts in recent history, homecoming has been more about the festivities than the actual football game. This year, there’s a lot on the line in the homecoming game.

“This is a position this football team hasn’t been in, in a long time,” said Simmons. “But I think they understand how we got here and for us to continue to control our own destiny in conference play, obviously we have to play well this weekend.”

The Rattlers host the Spartans Saturday, October 6, at 4:00 p.m.