FAMU spring game will feature some players in new positions
St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
If there will be any major personnel change for the FAMU football team, it may come in the fall.
Not that moving at least four players to positions they’ve played in the past or playing for the first time isn’t big in terms of coach Willie Simmons’ offense, but it’s safe to say spring hasn’t been much more than a test run.
What that means essentially is that the players who are getting comfortable in their new position could persuade Simmons to keep them there. They get their opportunity to make an impression in a game-like situation in Saturday’s Orange and Green game.
However, the game essentially is an opportunity for every player to showcase how much he has grasped the pass-option offense that Simmons has introduced since taking over the program in December.
“It’s the last day of spring (practice) so hopefully we’ll be light years ahead of where we were on day one,” Simmons said. “Hopefully we will give the fans a good showing for this season.”
The players that will be in different positions from the ones they played last season are Azende Rey (from running back to receiver/tight end) ; Kevin Newman (from fullback to tight end) ; Mack Green (defensive back to quarterback) and Terry Jefferies (safety to nickel back).
Most of them seemingly are comfortable with the moves.
“It’s something I can embrace; something I’m looking forward to,” said Newman. “I want to contribute to wins and I want to help the team improve.”
The pass-option offense that Simmons brings means the Rattlers will have to play at a much faster pace than seen in the past three seasons. It requires spreading the field and extending drives with the potential for quick scoring.
Newman is eager to test it in the Orange and Green game to gauge his development in the system. He’s been putting in the time on the practice field.
“It’s complicated so it requires a lot of time,” Newman said. “It’s dedication and anything that you want to be good at you’ve got to sacrifice your time. You’ve got to put the time in the playbook to get it done.”
As much as the spring game will weigh in the evaluation of players, Simmons said he’ll simply be looking for how well they execute.
“I didn’t say at this point I want to be here or after this many practices I want to be in a particular place. From practice one to practice two I want to see improvement and from five to six I want to see improvement. One step at a time has been our motto here.”