It’s an understatement to say that Florida A&M will have its hands full when the Rattlers visit Norman Saturday night. The Sooners will be an overwhelming favorite to dismantle the Rattlers quite easily, but for A&M it’s all a matter of economics.
(photo by FAMU Sports Information
“With the way the economy is going, this is one of the ways that FCS is trying to generate a revenue stream,” said A&M Coach Joe Taylor. “Everybody is going after the same dollars and of course the BCS is going to be the most attractive. This is a way that the FCS is trying to generate funds. [For athletic departments] football is the engine that drives the train. We were looking at a few other places and my AD told me about Oklahoma. I told him that I did know Bob and the whole family there and that this would be a great opportunity. I probably should have waited until Landry left though, that probably would have made it a little easier for us. But, it's a great experience for the kids and we're looking forward to it."
As far as the game is concerned, Taylor says not to throw his club under the bus so quickly. After all, they do recruit in that vastly talented state of Florida.
"To be honest with you, we feel like we've done a good job of recruiting,” said Taylor. “We needed some up front people and were able to bring in some. I feel like from a skill standpoint that we do have speed. But, the real key is the experience overall. Again, this is an opportunity to come back and see where we are. Of course, the first goal every year is to win your conference. And games like this are a chance to evaluate and see really where we are."
On offense the Rattlers are led by Sophomore Damien Fleming.
“The offense starts with our trigger man [Damien Fleming]. He's a sophomore and has all the throws. He's very athletic and very cerebral. Eddie Rocker and James Owens take care of the running back position. Travis Harvey is at wide receiver. He's a senior and we feel good about the kind of things that he's getting done. On the offensive line, the left side is seniors but we do have some youth on the right side. The right guard and right tackle are a little bit inexperienced. But again, it's all about getting better and there's a lot left to be played and we just want to see these guys get better each week."
Taylor says his Rattlers won’t be shying away from Oklahoma but knows the Sooners are a talented football team.
"Well, Bob has put together a real solid program,” said Taylor. “What I'm impressed with on film is these guys get lined up in the right place, it's obvious that they know what their assignment is, but you also see a sense of urgency. I'm so impressed with how fast they play and how they play together. Sometimes there looks like there is an opening but it closes real quickly. And that’s in all three phases of the game, so I'm really impressed. And I'm not surprised, Bob has been doing this a while. He comes out of that Ohio bed of coaches. It's obvious he's doing a great job.
"[Landry Jones] has the ability to read the coverage but then he can buy time with his feet, sliding to his left and sliding to his right. He's always got his eyes downfield. Then it looked like he just flicked his wrist and the ball was 70 yards downfield, I had to run the tape back a couple of times. He's able to extend plays and if it looks like there's a breakdown, you really can't see it because he finds a way to get it done."
The Sooners and Rattlers will kick off on Owen Field at 6:00 p.m.