Assessing the Future: FAMU Football Coach James Colzie III Reflects on 2024 Spring Game

WATCH: FAMU football coach James Colzie III assesses 2024 spring game

James Colzie III is the head football coach of the Florida A&M University Rattlers (2024).

Football returned to Ken Riley Field at Bragg Memorial Stadium Saturday as Florida A&M hosted its Orange and Green Spring Game.

In the first organized game action since the Rattlers’ Celebration Bowl victory in Atlanta last December, FAMU culminated spring football camp with its annual showcase game and ushered in the James Colzie III era.

The Rattlers’ Green team, wearing white jerseys, beat the Orange team 14-7.

With several transfers, recruits, and a new-look roster getting a first taste of action under Colzie, here are three takeaways from FAMU’s Orange and Green Spring Game.

FAMU’s quarterback battle continues, Junior Muratovic shines in spring game

Saturday’s spring game gave us a look at the future of FAMU’s quarterback room to succeed award-winning signal caller Jeremy Moussa, who exhausted his eligibility.

All six quarterbacks on the rosters took snaps during the spring game.

However, it was Junior Muratovic stealing the show in the game and Florida Atlantic transfer Daniel Richardson having a solid spring showing.

Muratovic looked confident Saturday, leading the game’s first touchdown drive after taking the offense over 80 yards to open the game’s scoring. One of the veterans on the roster, Muratovic appeared in six games last season, throwing for 138 yards.

In Saturday’s game, Muratovic threw two touchdowns and led the only successful offensive drives of the game for the Rattlers. He also shined in the 7-on-7 portion of the spring game.

Colzie was impressed with Muratovic and Richardson during spring but isn’t ready to declare a starting quarterback.

“At the start of the day, I thought Junior had made some really, really good passes. Daniel made some really, really good passes as well,” Colzie said. “So I think we can wait and see who that quarterback would be as we navigate the summer.”

Richardson, who earned the best quarterback of spring honor from FAMU at halftime, had a slow start to the spring game. Despite throwing three interceptions on Saturday, the graduate transfer has looked strong during practices but struggled to find his footing in his first gameday simulation at Bragg.

“I thought Junior and Daniel did a really, really good job in the spring,” Colzie said. “Those two guys did a really good job. We’re not going to make any decisions. Not because those two guys didn’t necessarily separate themselves, but I think both guys did well.”

Alston HookerTrey Fisher, Noah Rossand DJ Boney all took snaps for the Rattlers.

However, the duo of Muratovic and Richardson is battling for the starting job. Both players completed difficult passes and showed good pocket awareness during the game scenarios portion of the spring game.

FAMU’s ‘Dark Cloud Defense’ forces abundance of turnovers in spring game

FAMU’s ‘Dark Cloud Defense’ stole the show on Saturday, forcing four interceptions and allowing only one touchdown from the offense.

The Rattlers ranked as the nation’s second-best defense last yearand this year’s squad looks to be following suit.

Even with the takeaways and limited offensive action, Colzie is looking for more out of his defense.

“We did some good things turnover-wise, but I didn’t think we played as fast as we normally had played on the defensive side,” Colzie said. “We got to make sure we sure up some things personnel-wise to make sure we are where we need to be once we start the season.”

The secondary was strong against a pass-heavy FAMU offense, forcing five interceptions, including one pick-six, and a slew of incompletions. Jordan Cumberbatch, Ah’Mare Lee, Andre Powell Jr.and Gabriel Nance all came up with picks for the Rattlers.

Across the board, FAMU’s defense showed its promise with a handful of tackles for loss and sacks. While the offense rushed only a few times, the Rattlers’ front seven looked strong against the run, allowing very few yards after contact.

With the defensive starters facing the offensive starters throughout the game, Colzie tried to test his best against each other during the afternoon.

“Iron sharpens iron for me,” Colzie said. “I want to see the ones go against the ones. We won’t play the twos or threes when we play Norfolk State. So I just wanted to see how we react against each other with our ones versus our ones.”

Standout Player: FAMU defensive back Andre Powell Jr. grabs two interceptions

Powell was one of the standouts among the strong showing from the defensive backs.

He picked off Richardson twice in the first half, including a well-timed jump of a route that led to his first interception.

The Rattlers had one of the strongest defensive back groups in the nation last year and retained the likes of Kendall Bohler and Powell on this year’s squad.

Powell had a strong showing in the spring game Saturday, covering well and forcing a few incompletions alongside the interceptions.

“Those are guys that made plays for us when we were making that run for the national championship,” Colzie said. “Andre Powell was a guy that sat behind a guy like Javan Morgan last year, so now it’s his opportunity to make some plays.”

After appearing in 11 games last season, Powell recorded 14 total tackles in the 2023 season and showed promise in the spring game that he could be in for an improved season for himself and the defensive back group come fall.

Colzie feels like the defensive backs playing against the top two quarterbacks on the roster was a way to measure where the group is to conclude spring.

“That’s another reason why I did the ones versus the ones, so our DBs get a chance at our number one and number two quarterback on our team,” Colzie said. “How can they react against the [FAMU wide receiver Jamari Gassett] and our other really good offensive players?”

Liam Rooney covers preps sports for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @__liamrooney

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2024-04-13 22:26:10
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