2017 In A Sentence: What’s a FAMU season without drama? After a 3-8 season and yet another loss to their bitter Rival Bethune-Cookman in the Florida Classic, head coach Alex Wood decided to resign at the end of the season. In his 3 years at FAMU, he never found a way to beat the Wildcats. They soon thereafter hired Willie Simmons away from Prairie View A&M, a local high school legend who saw success coaching the Panthers, to take his place.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: Florida A&M DE Elijah Price was a huge disruptive force on the Rattlers front line, and he managed 7.5 tackles for loss last season to cap off a tremendous career at FAMU. Simmons will need to find his next Price this year.
Key Player: Simmons wants to build around star DB Terry Jefferson on defense to utilize his versatility in coverage and on the blitz in order to keep Rattler opponents from late fourth-quarter rallies last season. If Jefferson can continue his development and become one of the best defensive backs in the FCS, Rattler fans are optimistic some of those close losses last year might be close wins this year.
Fearless Prediction: Florida A&M fans feel like this version of the Rattlers have the talent and the desire to get back to their winning ways fast. But how often have they heard the same pitch, only to be disappointed? If Simmons is given some time to establish himself and his staff, the potential is there to turn things around and get back over .500 this season. But FAMU Nation is not known for their patience. There should be improvement, but contending for the championship seems a year away.