FAMU head coach Joe Taylor, considered the "Godfather" of MEAC coaches, gave his evaluation of the Rattlers for the coming season. "(Austin) Trainor is our guy," he said in reference to speculation about our starting quarterback. "Tyler Bass and Dayne James are expected to contribute when needed, but at this point Trainor is undefeated," Taylor said. Bass is a highly touted transfer from Memphis and James is a true freshman from Boyd-Anderson High School.
Earlier, the All-MEAC football team was announced. Offensive lineman Robert Hartley and punter Brandon Holdren made the first teams on the squad. The Rattlers had five additional players make the All-MEAC second team. The team was officially announced at the banquet by Patricia Porter, MEAC Director of Media Relations.
Taylor recognized FAMU Director of Athletics Derek Horne, who was in attendance at the luncheon. Video coordinator William Bennett, associate head coach George Small and assistant coach Aaron Taylor were all present at the kickoff luncheon. Vaughn Wilson and Ronnie Johnson were also in attendance, after attending the MEAC's mandatory sports information director's meetings.
Taylor, said with confidence, that with returning 17 starters, the Rattlers should be familiar enough with each other and the system, to be successful this season. He added that the parity in the league had rendered the MEAC a much stronger conference than ever before. "When you bring in successful coaches from the SWAC into historic programs in the MEAC, it makes for a stronger league," Taylor said.
There are five new coaches in the MEAC. Howard's new coach is Gary Harrell, who previously coached receivers at FAMU under coach Rubin Carter. Rod Broadway, formerly of Grambling State, is the new coach of North Carolina A&T. Henry Frazier, is the coach at North Carolina Central University. Steve Davenport, took over the head position at Savannah State, while Kermit Blount, took the head job at Delaware State.
The luncheon has grown to hundreds of interested fans, alumni and members of the media. Also during the luncheon, commissioner Thomas announced that barring any unforeseen circumstances, North Carolina Central University and Savannah State University would gain full entry into the conference on Sept.1, with full championship competition beginning for the two schools this year. That would bring the total number of football-playing school to 11 in the MEAC. There will still be one big division, as opposed to breaking up into two divisions, as some larger conferences are able to maintain.