TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The weight room. It's where teams go from good to great. The Florida A&M football team was not exactly happy with the way last season ended. They're expecting big things this year, and it all starts in the weight room.
The Rattlers have been challenged this summer, and they've put in the work to make sure this fall is a memorable one.
"The two most important hires of any football coach are his coordinators and his strength and conditioning coach," said head coach Willie Simmons. "We're a fast football team. We're about tempo. We have to train that way."
The guy making sure that happens? Director of Sports Performance Cole Forney.
"What we do now that's what we'll put on the field in the fall, right?" he said. "This by far, what we do here in these eight weeks in the summer is our most important work for sure."
"To be a competitive football team in today's landscape, I think it's imperative that you have your team here throughout the summer," added Simmons.
A summer that the Rattlers are taking full advantage of.
"A good problem that I have is I have to back it down," said Forney. "They will back it down until they can't go anymore and that's a testament to the kids."
A testament to the season they want to have.
"This season is as important than any season we've been a part of," said Simmons. "The expectations here in Rattler Nation are through the roof."
"I've challenged them," said Forney. "We're talented enough to be one of the best teams that FAMU has seen in a long, long time, but you can't just show up and do that right?"
That's why they're putting in the work and growing from a season ago.
"I think it's important to know what team we have for that calendar year and what they need to get better at," said Forney.
A science the Rattlers are looking to translate to the field.
"We have a saying around here that the body doesn't lie," laughed Simmons. "You can look at a guy, his physique and you can tell if he's been putting in the work in the weight room."
"One thing I want us to take pride in is that we will outwork our opponent and then hopefully when it gets late all that work we put in starts to show up," added Forney.
Work that started in the weight room. Forney said at the end of every year, he goes through a needs analysis where he looks at lifts and mobility testing. Based on areas of weakness, that decides the Rattlers yearly program.
For example, this year, to combat high ankle injuries from a season ago, they've worked on ankle strength to hopefully decrease those injuries from last fall. Fall camp for the Rattlers starts July 29th.