Tallahassee, Fla. – After a one-day delay, coach Willie Simmons finally got the chance to see the 2019 edition of the Rattlers in a full-blown scrimmage. A Saturday scrimmage in Quincy, Fla., for the second consecutive year, would not materialize as lightning in the area caused the cancellation of the scrimmage after about 90 minutes of waiting for suitable weather.
In the friendly confines of Bragg Memorial Stadium, the Rattlers opened the practice with individual drills and a brief seven-on-seven session. They then went through a series of scenarios in live action utilizing first, second and third string groups.
Simmons was pleased with what he saw from his team today.
“To be able to move the scrimmage to today, obviously with the weather from yesterday, I thought the guys responded well to that and we were happy to get out on the field today. It’s good hot weather which is something that we needed to continue to get ourselves in playing shape,” Simmons said.
First string quarterback Ryan Stanley took the least of snaps on the day. Reserve quarterbacks got their opportunity to run the offense with various teams. Rasean McKay, Isaac Sullivan and Cameron Sapp all took snaps behind center.
Starting the scrimmage, Stanley drove the offense right down the field. The series included both running and passing plays. He would see limited time under center following the series.
“What we wanted to see out of our young quarterbacks was them anticipating. At the high school level throwing the football at the right time means taking the right drop, having the right fundamentals and anticipating. Every level you go up,'open' has a different meaning,” Simmons said.
The defensive unit as a whole put the clamps on the offense in the last three quarters of the 80-play scrimmage. Led by a stout defensive line and swarming linebackers, the defense seemed to be closer to game form than the offense. Simmons said that is to be expected at this point in camp.
FAMU All-MEAC kicker Yahia Aly nailed several medium and long-range field goals as the offense stalled. In Friday’s practice, he hit field goals from as far as 60-yards out.
“Some young guys stepped up who we wanted to see make some plays. All in all, the guys came away healthy and that’s always a win. We see that we’re a talented football team, now it’s just a matter of cleaning up the details, the little things, that it takes to be a championship program and we’re well on the way to doing that, ” Simmons concluded.
The Rattlers will resume regular practice time on tomorrow at 9:00 AM. Next Saturday, the team will engage in the “Rattler Booster Kickoff,” which begins at noon in the AL Lawson Center. Tickets for the kickoff are $40. That will be followed by “Fan Day,” which is free to the public at 2:30 PM.
FAMU kicks off the 2019 season in Orlando on Aug. 29 against the Knights of UCF. The game will be in Spectrum Stadium and kicks off at 7:30 PM (Live on CBS Sports).