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North Carolina A&T head football coach Sam Washington on Norfolk State: “Looking back to Norfolk State, I thought it was one of our better football games team-wise. I thought we played well on both sides of the ball as well as special teams. But with this very worthy Florida A&M Rattler football team approaching, it’s kind of hard to remember what happened because all of our focus and emphasis has been on this upcoming ballgame, which is a very significant game for many reasons.”

 

Coach Washington on playing well during the middle of the season: “We’re one of three teams left in the conference that are undefeated. I think it’s very important that you perform well in Games 6, 7, and 8. Those are what we look at as championship football games. Those are the most critical on your schedule, so it’s very important that we play well, do what we do, don’t try to do anything supernatural. Do chicken. There are three undefeated (MEAC) teams out there. After Game 8, it should only be one. We look at it from that perspective, and we want to be that team. That definitely will be our approach.”

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Coach Washington on preparing for Florida A&M Ryan Stanley: “We have worked on a lot of the fundamental stuff. Pass defense has been very critical coming into this ballgame. Their quarterback is legit. He’s a true Division I football quarterback. He throws the ball extremely well. He reads coverages extremely well, and he makes plays.”

 

 Coach Washington on Florida A&M: “Florida A&M is a very worthy football team. They have won three of the last four ballgames on the last drive. I do recall that’s how they beat us last year – on the last drive. That shows a team has character when you can win ballgames on the last drive. We do tip our hats to them for their efforts so far, but I promise you we will come locked and loaded and ready to roll.”

 

Coach Washington on whether he was surprised at the score against Norfolk State (58-19): “Well we watched them play Florida A&M the week before. They actually should have won that ballgame. We knew that they were very worthy, but we felt it was very important that we started fast. We were able to do so, and the ultimate word is finish strong. Those are the two things that we will continue to do throughout the remainder of the season.”

 

Coach Washington on what the team worked on during the bye week: “Fundamentals. We always go to those fundamental settings in practice and work on the basics – running, blocking and tackling. It also allowed us to do some additional pass coverages. We were able to add-on and increase our playbook and our approach to this upcoming ballgame.”

 

Coach Washington on comparing Norfolk State quarterback Juwan Carter and Florid A&M quarterback Ryan Stanley: “They’re very similar in some ways. I think Carter’s a better runner. I think Ryan is a winner. He knows where the football should go. You can tell he spends a lot of time in the film room. We’re going to have to do a very good job with disguising coverages and giving him some obstacles, he has not seen this year.”

 

Coach Washington on what it takes to slow down FAMU QB Ryan Stanley: “I always have said and still believe that pass rush is the best pass defense. We’re going to get after it. We’re going to have to get after them with four, five, and sometimes six. We cannot allow him to sit back there and pat the ball and choose his way. We’re going to have to force the issue at times.

 

Coach Washington on whether he wants Stanley out of the pocket: “I want him on the ground. That’s where I would like for him to be. But what we cannot do is allow him to stand on his spot where he feels comfortable throwing the football. We must make him move. We have to get him off his spot.”

 

Coach Washington on scoring: “As a coach, you don’t care where the points come from really. Obviously, you expect your offense to score and we expect our offense to score. It’s that simple. If we are afforded opportunities to block a punt or return a punt, we will greatly appreciate those efforts. But we’re going in with the approach that our offense can score on their defense.”

 

Coach Washington on the Aggies defense: “It’s very critical. That was one of the pivotal moments last year. In the second half, we only had three possessions. They kept the ball away from our offense. We must get off the field. Third down conversions are going to be humongous. We must win third down. First, we have to get them in third and long situations. On offense, we have to get first downs. First and third downs are going to be key to the outcome of this ballgame.”

 

Coach Washington on Florida A&M having nothing to lose: “Well that’s one of the things we can’t control. I put no emphasis behind it at all, honestly. Our job is to go out and stop them and score points. And that’s what we are going to do.”

 

Coach Washington on where the bye landed in the schedule: “I think we have gotten much healthier. Honestly. I was really hoping that we had an open date a little later but knock on wood, perhaps it has come at the perfect time and the most opportune time for us.”