HU vs. FAMU: The mentee vs. the mentor

By Tiffany Sheppard

When the Hampton Pirates play the Florida A& M Rattlers on Saturday, it will be an old-fashioned battle between the mentee and the mentor.

When the Pirates (4-5, 2-4) face FAMU (7-2, 5-1) on Saturday at Armstrong Stadium, head coach Donovan Rose will test his abilities against his former head coach, Joe Taylor.

Rose and Taylor have a long history together. Rose returned to Hampton University as an assistant coach in 1991, but changes were made during the HU alumnus’s first year. Taylor’s arrival was one of those changes.

“Everyone got fired except for me,” Rose said.

One of Taylor’s moves as the new coach was to give Rose an ultimatum.

“Coach Taylor gave me the option of staying or resigning,” Rose explained. “So I went to the interview and I got the job.”

Rose was an assistant under Taylor from 1992 to 2007, when Taylor left Hampton to coach FAMU. Rose took over for fired coach Jerry Holmes in 2008.

Rose’s inaugural season has been a whirlwind. He took the job on January 26 and had a recruiting class three days later. Rose also has a coaching staff with little college experience. Bernard Clark Jr. is a first-time defensive coordinator. Quarterbacks coach Chris Siegle also is coaching at the collegiate level for the first time. But Rose believes the staff’s lack of experience is offset by their chemistry as a coaching unit.

Things haven’t been nearly as chaotic for FAMU, who is second-place in the MEAC behind South Carolina State.

Though Hampton is still reeling from their loss to Bethune Cookman last weekend, the Pirates view the FAMU game as critical.

“We have to do whatever is necessary to win,” Rose said.

The most challenging aspect of Saturday’s game is the fact that both coaches know each other so well. That familiarity has inspired Rose to come up with some new wrinkles in the game plan. He hinted he’ll use some of the wildcat offense, but was coy on his other game strategies.

“During the game, people will definitely see things that they haven’t seen before,” he said.