Simmons welcomes recent successes, but knows goal for Rattlers still not attained

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By: Ryan Kelly | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
October 30, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Tuesday afternoon, FAMU head coach Willie Simmons couldn't help but smile. And why wouldn't he? The Rattlers, the team he's loved since birth, is in the midst of its best season in years.

"Seeing as basically all intents and purposes my school, it's not my alma mater, but FAMU is my school with my mother, my cousins, aunts, uncles, wife, kids, everyone going to school here. This is my school and I want to see my school do well," Simmons said. "Fortunately for us we're doing extremely well. My job is to continue that."

But make no mistake, Simmons doesn't think his orange and green resurgence is about him. He's just happy to help.

"I don't want it to be about a hometown boy coming home to resurrect FAMU because the championship spirit has always been here," he explained. "I think these guys just needed a little bit of steering and direction to reach in there and pull it out and that's all I and this staff have tried to do."

"I think they're finally starting to realize that they can be the best team in black college football, they can be one of the best team's in FCS football," he continued.

Simmons also knows that, despite the recent accolades and accomplishments, the Rattlers' real goal remains.

"We haven't achieved it yet. Yes, we've won more games than we've won here in a long time. Yes, we've had our first winning season here that we've had in a long time. We went on the road and beat the big, bad [North Carolina] A&T Aggies, so we've done a lot of great things here. But, our goal is to win a MEAC Championship. That goal is still out there to be attained," Simmons said.

It's a goal that can only be reached by continuing his locker room's tunnel vision mentality this Saturday against Howard.

"That's what's in front of us, not the MEAC Championship, not the Celebration Bowl, not the first winning season since 2011, none of that. The Howard Bison is what's right there in front of our eyes," Simmons said.

Eyes that, on Saturday, might see a much brighter fate for the once-fallen Rattlers.

FAMU's game on Saturday can be seen on WCTV2. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

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