Simmons wants Rattlers to ‘trust the process’

Coach Willie Simmons makes the rounds on the
practice field.
Photo courtesy FAMU athletics

By St. Clair Murraine

Outlook staff writer

At the end of the first day of spring football practice, coach Willie Simmons beseeched his FAMU players to “trust the process.”

At this point, the Rattlers don’t have a lot of choice considering that Simmons has taken over the program for the first time this season. For the most part, the players are still getting to know Simmons, who was hired away from Prairie View University to turn around FAMU’s program.

It’s obvious that the players are buying into Simmons’ process, judging from the way they flew around the field on opening day without pads. They spent the two-hour early-morning practice running through a handful of plays.

Individual drills with position coaches and special teams focused on punts and kick returns.

“The guys were anxious to get out here and put it all together so it’s natural for a football player to want to see,” Simmons said. “Today I think the guys have a good understanding of what we want them to do.”

The energy level was high. Quarterback Ryan Stanley attributed that to the team doing just what Simmons asked them to do– trust the system.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Stanley said. “We are just doing the little things and trying to execute those. We just have to keep tunnel vision to the end, which is the MEAC championship. We just have to trust the coaches that they are going to put us in the best position with the best plays. I trust them.”

With every player wanting to grasp the system, they’re relying more on each other than they did last season, Stanley said.

“We have the same goal and holding each other accountable. We are much closer to a brotherhood.”

That brotherhood is part of Simmons’ system. It’s the first step to each player being accountable for his role, Simmons said.

“We have to be mindful of the fact that there is a lot to be done before we get to the season,” Simmons said. “We don’t play a game for another five months.  The important thing is for them to understand what we need to do to prepare ourselves for this coming season.”

At this point, the season is about details, he said.

“The little things it takes on a day to day basis to become a master of your craft,” Simmons said, “to learn the scheme and trust the coaches that’s all a part of the process.”

Each of the players seemingly knows that the process will take some time. Right now they are taking one step at a time, said safety Terry Jefferies.

“We are falling in love with the playbook and the coaches are falling in love with the players,” he said. “We just have to put everything together. That way we could win the prize at the end of the season.”