Alabama A&M will go another week without a football game as the team was unable to find a replacement opponent after the team’s matchup with Prairie View A&M was postponed for a second time due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Bulldogs (2-0) have two wins to their name but have only played one game -- the other “win” is due to Alcorn State forfeiting the season.
Since the start of the season on Feb. 27, A&M has only taken the field in a real game once, a 31-7 victory over South Carolina State on Mar. 6. After that, the Bulldogs game against Prairie View A&M has been postponed twice (originally slated for Mar. 20) and the team’s only home game against Grambling State was canceled.
With 10 weeks of practice under their belt and only one game played, head coach Connell Maynor said the season has been frustrating for players and coaches.
“You do all your homework, you get your game plan together and then come to find out they cancel the game or postpone the game and a lot of hard work has gone down the drain,” he explained.
This week, the university looked for other opponents, hoping another team would be willing to play. According to Maynor, Texas Southern seemed like a logical move since the team’s game against Grambling State was canceled, but the Tigers declined.
With a seemingly endless schedule of postponements and cancelations, Maynor said his staff has been working to try to keep his guys motivated at practice.
“It’s tough,” he said. “Especially when we practice early in the morning, you’ve got to get up early in the morning and knowing that you’re not going to play the games.”
While the team prepares to take the field again against Jackson State next weekend, Maynor said it's hard to gauge where his players stand due to a lack of reps at “game speed,” something they can’t replicate in practice.
“We only have one game to look at film and make corrections off of,” Maynor said. “In the regular season, you get three or four non-conference games before you start in conference and so now you know exactly where you are -- what your weaknesses are, what your strengths are, what you need to work on -- and we’re not there yet.”
Despite having only played four quarters all season, Alabama A&M is still considered one of the best teams in the league, topping both the BOXTOROW media and coaches polls for the second consecutive week when the results were released on Monday.
“We know we’re one of the top teams in the league, it’s no doubt about it. We’re one of the top teams in the league ... if not the top team. So we’ve got confidence,” Maynor said Wednesday.
With the confidence, the coach believes his team still has a chance to make a run this season, saying they control their own destiny.
“If we beat Jackson and Alabama State, we’re in the championship,” he said. “They’re doing it like baseball, so we win those two games, we’re pretty much in.”
“We’ve just got to control what we can control, don’t worry about other teams.”