To coincide with the onset of the 2021 season, rattlernews.com presents FAMU football 30 for 30. This daily series includes commentary, analysis and information of the Rattlers during fall camp. The 30 days of reporting serves as a prelude to the season opener between FAMU and Jackson State on Sunday, Sept. 5 in Miami Gardens. Day 9 of 30: Rock Boyz defensive linemen build a house for domination
The offense for Florida A&M grabs the headlines and web clicks. But when asking any Rattler on that side of the ball how far they can go in 2021, the quick response is it comes down to the defense.
FAMU’s defensive prowess begins upfront with the heavyweights on the line.
This unit – better known as “The Rock Boyz” – features a rugged mix of veterans with several downs under their belt.
“We’re the Rock Boyz because we go by the saying we can build a house on a rock. It doesn’t matter if it’s sand or concrete. We’re the rock that’s under the house. We’re the alphas of the defense,” FAMU defensive lineman Renaldo Flowers Jr. said.
Richard Summers is one of the interior leaders for FAMU. At 6-foot, 2-inches and 345 pounds, he stands as a hard object for offensive linemen to move.
The Tallahassee native and Godby High School alum occupies a lot of space. He often commands a double team in blocking schemes. This frees up the linebackers to collect tackles behind him.
Summers takes pride in his responsibilities of clogging holes. The magnitude of this role increases in short-yardage and goal-line formations.
“I’m here to do the things I need to put my team in the best position,” Summers said. “It feels good when I do work. I’m ready to do whatever is needed.”
Donald Hall is another wide mass at defensive tackle. He stands 6-foot, 3-inches and tips the scale at 315 pounds.
This fall is his debut season at FAMU. Hall transferred just before COVID hit in 2020 from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He helped that team win the 2019 junior college national crown.
Flowers is the top-rated tackler of the returning defensive linemen.
In 2019, he had 24 tackles with nine for a loss. The Miami-born stud also led FAMU with 4.5 sacks that season.
More FAMU Football:FAMU 30 for 30: Top-3 takeaways from first scrimmage of fall camp
These totals propelled him to being selected as preseason Second-Team All-SWAC.
The Miami native is humbled by the honor, but for him, it’s all about his brothers in the locker room. He has a no-nonsense approach to executing at the highest level for overall team success.
“Being All-SWAC is an inspiration to go harder. Even though it’s my name, it’s all of us on the defense. We’re in it together,” Flowers said.
FAMU made a big splash in January upon completing the transfer paperwork of 4-star defensive end, Savion Williams.
He joined the squad after playing at Tennessee. Before that, Williams was a member of Lackawanna College’s 2018 junior college national championship team.
During the offseason, FAMU made several changes to the coaching staff.
Former defensive coordinator/defensive line coach resigned to take a position at Marshall University.
Rattlers head coach Willie Simmons promoted Ryan Smith and Brandon Sharp to co-defensive coordinator.
Milton Patterson was hired to become the defensive line coach.
His coaching history includes working as the defensive coordinator at Fayetteville State, Jackson State defensive analyst/assistant strength & conditioning coach, Mississippi Valley State co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach, Alabama State assistant strength & conditioning coordinator, Clark-Atlanta University defensive coordinator/linebackers coach.
Patterson’s knowledge is matched by his enthusiasm to coach his players.
The learning curve for him and the defensive linemen has been smooth. Their mindset is to be physical at all costs.
“We’re getting better one degree at a time. We’re a talented group. It’s about building the house on the rock,” Patterson said.
“My guys are Florida fast. The speed and athleticism are great from the first to the third group. There will be individual accolades, but what we do for one is for the unit. They’ve bought into this system.”
Defensive linemen within the system who are expected to be heavily involved in the rotation are Isaiah Land, Gentle Hurt, Kameron Smith, Jolan Gilley, Abu Bangura and Stanley Mentor.
Follow FAMU beat writer Rory Sharrock on Twitter @rattlernews and @married2game1.
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