Tallahassee, FL - Earl Holmes is used to the routine. Ninety-plus degree temperatures, whistles on a cadence ringing through the grunts of about 100 football players. But this year, Earl Holmes is not the onlooker, the player or an assistant coach. Holmes is spending his first fall camp as FAMU's head coach.
On the first day of training camp, he opened with strength and conditioning drills for two hours in the morning followed by a two-hour afternoon walk through.
"At the end of the day, you got some young guys who might have a chance to play, said Holmes, a Tallahassee native who graduated from FAMU High and FAMU. "So you don't try to make the game complicated. You want to make it as simple as possible so the guys can play fast."
More than 20 freshmen tackled the transition to the college gridiron. But camp is filled with veterans including third-year quarterback Damien Fleming.
"Damien's by far one of the best quarterback's I've ever seen," Holmes said.
"Just happy to have my quarterback. It's gonna be a good year," said Lenworth Lennon, a junior wide receiver.
Fleming has a handful this preseason, but so does the new coaching staff.
"They're helping us tap into our potential to a whole other level," Lennon said.
The Rattlers will be in full pads on Saturday.
"Once they put the pads on and guys really understand what we're trying to get done, then we'll let them feel their way," Holmes said.