How football players stay focused during Homecoming

Terry Jefferson, Nickelback, prepping for practice during homecoming week. Photo Submitted by Catherine Bryant

Homecoming is here and along with numerous festivities comes added pressure for the football team to perform on Saturday and cap the week off with a win.

FAMU is 1-0 in conference play and is riding off a momentous victory on Sept. 21 in the Rattlers’ epic rivalry with Southern University. This Saturday at 2 p.m. FAMU has the chance to pull ahead in the conference rankings as four teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, including FAMU, currently stand 1-0.

Head coach Willie Simmons voiced confidence in his team, mentioning the discipline that has been built up to this point.

“I think the biggest thing for us is the consistency of our message. Focusing on the little things … commitment to excellence every single day. “We’ve developed good habits from January until now. The fact that Homecoming is here doesn’t change that,” Simmons added. “I learned a long time ago that guys in particular respond better being told what to do rather than being told what not to do.”

Although it is Homecoming, Saturday is just another game for the football team, and Simmons plans to treat it as such.

Simmons’ players echoed that message when asked how they are staying focused during the week of Homecoming.

Chad Hunter, a redshirt junior and wide receiver for the team, said, “I’m from here so I’m familiar with the (Homecoming) environment. I stay focused by doing the little things, enjoying myself and winning the game on Saturday.”

Hunter has been out the last two games with an ankle injury, but will return for this week’s game.

His teammate, Terry Jefferson, a graduate student and defensive back, had a more serious outlook on Homecoming week — but with the same ultimate goal.

“It’s about us knowing that it all comes down to the football game on Saturday,” Jefferson said. “All the events, that’s fine for everyone else to enjoy, but as a football player and as a team we have to understand that we have a task that we have to fulfill which is for us to come up with a win.”

Amid the hustle and bustle of Homecoming the players are keeping their goal in sight, attending study hall and fulfilling their academic duties to ensure their season is a bona fide success.