By: WCTV Eyewitness Sports
June 13, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- For Florida A&M football, 2018 will be a clean slate; a new coach, a new record and new expectations.
After three consecutive losing seasons under former head coach Alex Wood, FAMU has gone local and now has Quincy native Willie Simmons at the helm.
And, by the early looks of things, Simmons is determined to turn things around.
Earlier in the week, the WCTV Sports team asked fans how they would gauge a successful season for Simmons in his first year in Green and Orange, and the response was overwhelming.
What will you consider a successful 1st year of @FAMUAthletics football under new head coach Willie Simmons?— WCTV Sports (@WCTVSports) June 11, 2018
73 percent of fans said as long as the win total is improved from 2017 to this 2018 season, Simmons' first year will be a success.
And, in reality, that isn't asking too much.
The Rattlers won three games in 2017; a season-opening 29-7 victory against Texas Southern, a 20-14 win at Savannah State and a 34-31 victory against Morgan State.
If you take out the 49-7 defeat at Arkansas, every loss the Rattlers saw last year was within two scores. Of the seven remaining losses, four of them were within a touchdown, including the heartbreaking five-point loss to arch-rival Bethune-Cookman.
But, we don't know how easily the wins will come. There's some experience returning, but who knows how the guys who were brought in by Wood will perform under a new regime?
It isn't a death nail, far from it, and if FAMU can sustain, and maybe even garner an extra win or two in some of those close contests from a year ago, year one under Simmons will be a success, and the future will be looking bright for the Rattlers.
WCTV web producer Fletcher Keel and producer Ryan Kelly discussed this issue on the latest episode of the WCTV Sports Podcast.