TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | On a day when temperatures exceeded the high 90s and a heat advisory was in effect, the Florida A&M University football team wrapped up its seventh practice and first day in pads on Thursday morning at Bragg Memorial Stadium.
“I thought it was another productive day,” Rattler head coach Willie Simmons said. “Obviously we still have a long way to go. This is practice seven so we still have 18 more opportunities to get this team prepared to play our first game. The guys have a great attitude. Their intensity is good, the tempo is good, we just have to clean up some details. Overall after seven days, I’m pretty pleased with our progress.”
The Rattlers are preparing for Saturday’s scrimmage at Corry Field in Quincy, Fla. The scrimmage is slated to begin at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.
“We’re really excited to go back to Gadsden County like we did last year for our first scrimmage,” Simmons said. “It was a great turnout last year with over 3,000 fans and this year we hope for more.”
Florida A&M finished 2018 with a 6-5 record and 5-2 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) mark under first-year Simmons. The Rattlers completed their first winning season in nearly a decade. After a slow start in non-conference play, Florida A&M went on to win six straight games, culminated with defeating the eventual 2018 Black College Football National Champion North Carolina A&T State Aggies in Greensboro, N.C. At the time, the Aggies were among the top teams in FCS. However, the Rattlers faltered down the stretch with three consecutive losses to end the season.
High expectations have been placed on Florida A&M for the 2019 season. The Rattlers were picked third in the MEAC preseason poll and will have road titles against Central Florida (Aug. 29), Norfolk State (Sept. 28), South Carolina State (Oct. 12) and Morgan State (Oct. 26). The Rattlers will have six home games against Fort Valley State (Sept. 14), Southern (Sept. 21), North Carolina Central (Oct. 5), North Carolina A&T State (Oct. 19), Delaware State (Nov. 2) and Howard (Nov.16), along with the annual rivalry game against Bethune-Cookman (Nov. 23) in the Florida Blue Florida Classic.
All 11 games this season will be televised, starting on Aug. 29 at Central Florida. Kickoff against the Knights is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted live on the CBS Sports Network.
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