Simmons moves to change football culture at FAMU

Willie Simmons has a new list of demands for the Rattlers.
Photo courtesy FAMU athletics

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook Staff Writer

Stop wondering what kinds of changes Willie Simmons is going to make as FAMU’s new head football coach.

Anyone who was at the 220 Quarterback Club’s luncheon a week ago got an earful of what he brings.
Simply put, Simmons is changing the culture of FAMU football. It’s time. Been too long.

After he got through pleading with the 220 Club to support his effort to buy Muscle Milk (protein) for his players, he went on to discuss a couple of areas that change must be made during the upcoming months.

Simmons demands accountability. He insists on hard work. Attending classes is mandatory.

And, he is big on his players forming a brotherhood that goes beyond what they do on the field.

“That’s the one thing I think we have to improve upon,” he said. “Once we get to that I think we have a chance to become a real good football team.”
All that is his conclusion after evaluating the Rattlers during his first two months on the job.

Wonder if the coaches prior to Simmons didn’t realize the difference what he saw could have made.

So he is teaching accountability the hard way. One man misses an assignment and the entire team pays.

That simple. Seems like accountability, coach.

“They have the idea now,” Simmons said. “The trick is to continue to raise them up in it so that once we get closer to the season everybody could move forward in the same direction.”

The changes don’t stop there. Down to the numbers players will wear on their jerseys. That will be decided through competition in practice, although Simmons admittedly will make the final decision.

But compete for a jersey number, Willie?

“Nothing in this program is going to be given,” he said.” Everything is going to be earned. It just goes along with the overall theme in our program.”
The players already know.

“I told the guys you’re not only competing for a starting position, you’re competing for a number,” Simmons said. “If a guy wore No. 10 last year and he thinks because I wore No. 10 he’s going to wear No. 10 (this season), but he doesn’t go class and he doesn’t go to study time, and he doesn’t practice hard; that little freshman who does everything right gets that number.”

Wonder is any player who wants time on the field will argue about that.