Fans optimistic Rattlers will have a winning season


Quarterback Ryan Stanley interacts with a fan at Lawson Center.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

By St. Clair Murraine

Outlook staff writer

Alfred Paramore might have had to settle for just watching the FAMU football team go through a scrimmage if it weren’t for a no-show that allowed him to get into a sold-out kickoff event this past Saturday.

Once he was in the Lawson Center, there was no question that like the estimated 3,000 who showed up for fan day, that Paramore had a good feeling about the Rattlers this season.

What he saw during the scrimmage in which the defense had a better day and the turnout were enough to make him a believer.

“I was very excited,” said Paramore, a lifelong supporter of the Rattlers. “I saw a lot of promise.”

One thing that has the FAMU faithful optimistic about the season, which begins Sept. 1 against Fort Valley State is the six home games that the Rattlers will play. Paramore predicted a 7-4 season.

There wasn’t a soul in Lawson Center that doubted the Rattlers could do that or better. That, of course, is if the excitement among fans is any indication.

It’s a motivation, said quarterback Ryan Stanley.

“People around here are starting to believe the things that we are capable of,” said Stanley. “It feels good that everyone is taking pride in the team.”

Coach Willie Simmons had a constant line of fans seeking an autography during fan day.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

Naturally, FAMU’s president Larry Robinson can be counted among the believers. 

“This event shows the amount of excitement there is around Rattler football under the leadership of coach (Willie) Simmons,” Robinson said.

Robinson added that he’s watched a handful of practices and he saw a team that is eager to play.

“They seem to be thirsty; not just because of the heat. They seemed to be organized and excited,” he said.

The team that FAMU will put on the field will be stocked  on both the offensive and defensive lines unlike any other season in the last 10 years. The word coming out of training camp is that both lines are three deep with talented players.

That will be tested by the likes of North Carolina A&T and South Carolina that have historically tormented the Rattlers in the trenches.

Offensive center Emilio Gibbs said they will be more competitive this season.

“Every game is won in the trenches and I believe that O-line and D-line supposed to be the most physical,” he said. “We work very hard so hard at everything we do so we can play better.

“If we don’t play hard we are not going to go anywhere. If we don’t have the juice we are not going to go anywhere.”