After working for 17 years side-by-side with Florida A&M Coach Joe Taylor, Hampton Coach Donovan Rose is confident he knows what to expect in Saturday's game.
"I know most of those players, I know what he's going to do," Rose said. "He's not going to fool me."
Even though the Pirates are coming off a devastating 23-18 homecoming loss against Bethune Cookman on Saturday, Rose took solace in the fact that he's facing a familiar opponent in the Rattlers (6-3). That familiarity was evident last season when Hampton defeated the Rattlers 25-0.
Rose believes Taylor will be pulling out all the stops this weekend. "He'll come back vindictive and ready to win." Rose said.
Rose expects to rely on his defense, ranked No. 7 in the country, against a Rattlers offense ranked 90th.
"Do the math," Rose said.
Rose said he is unsure about his quarterback situation. Starter Herbert Bynes "banged up his knee pretty bad" and backup David Legree is also hurt. Rose said he will make a "game-time decision" about who will start but expects Legree would be ready to play.
The injuries have forced Rose to rely on his team's depth, something that does not bother him. He said he keeps a poster of his depth chart hanging on his office wall that he compares to soldiers.
"The ones who are hurt, died in battle, but the ones who are left are the ones I'm preparing for battle," Rose said.
With his team at 5-4 and out of the running for the MEAC crown, Rose said he wants to "smack" the Rattlers and keep them from winning the league. He says he has overcome the embarrassment from the homecoming defeat by taking the advice offered by his 14-year-old son.
"He told me Dad, Get over it!" Rose said.