TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The first of what Florida A&M football is hoping to be many local media days has wrapped up here at the Hyatt House and as excitement for the Rattlers first season in the Southwest Athletic Conference ramps up so is there drive to hit the field for the first day of practice on Saturday.
“I’m just excited to see these guys get to work Saturday morning," said head coach Willie Simmons. "To see all the hard work they’ve put in over the last 600 days finally coming to fruition as we take the field for that first practice.”
It’s hard to even fathom the fact it’s been that long since the Rattlers have played an actual game. Which gives these players goosebumps when they think about their season opener.
“It’s something to look forward to. That first game is going to be something. I know that first home game is going to be different," adds defensive back Makquese Bell.
Markquese, named a preseason All-American will anchor a defense that is gearing up to bring a new level of physicality to the FAMU brand of football. On the other side of the ball wide receiver Xavier Smith, a preseason 2nd team All-American credits his preseason honor to the guys around him.
“It’s kind of like a domino effect. As to where you have somebody on the other end who may not be getting that recognition. But they’re pushing you to the max," says Smith. "To a level you probably thought you could never reach.”
Fans will get to see their Rattlers clash in some of the best rivalry games in the nation. Another key component that has Simmons and his guys fired up for what’s in store.
“Some true blue blood programs in the conference. A lot of our natural rivalries we’ll see," Simmons adds. "Starting right out of the gate with Jackson State.”
Fans can start their countdown for the September 5th Orange Blossom Classic against Jackson State