Like most coaching staffs, Howard University coaches drill into players to take things one game at a time, and that often flows through in media interviews.
Junior defensive back Robert Jones III was mostly sticking to the script when HBCU Gameday hit Howard’s camp earlier this month to talk about the season.
“We do have to take it one game at a time, one step at a time,” Jones said. “But I do believe that when I look at our schedule we can compete with every single team that we play against this year. It’s just about if we perform to the best our abilities.”
Jones, when pressed, did give a few games he was looking forward to.
“First game of the season, Eastern Michigan, they’re going to be good opponents as well. Harvard — they came down here and beat us last year, we’re going to go up there and play them. And that red team in North Carolina. It’s a new, fresh year like I said. I can’t wait for that date and the other games in the MEAC as well.”
That ‘red team’ in North Carolina, (actually maroon) is North Carolina Central, the team Howard University technically shared the 2022 MEAC title with. But NCCU dominated the head-to-head matchup 50-21 last season to claim the league’s bid to the Celebration Bowl, and eventually the national champion.
“They have the right to talk all the trash they want — they beat us fair and square,” sophomore running back Eden James said. “And all you can do is just come back from it and make them eat their words. That game is going to be one to look out for.”
Howard University junior defensive back Kenny Gallop put last year’s co-championship in perspective.
“First, it was a blessing having some hardware and having a ring and having that moment when you open the box and seeing that ring was a blessing,” Gallop said. “But we all know, at the same time, we finished 5-6. That’s below average. That’s not acceptable — that’s not what we want.”
James says this year’s game against NCCU will be one to watch for.
“You better bring your ‘A’ game, because we’re going to bring it too. The team that you played last year — throw that out the window — this is a whole new team. Best believe this is going to be a dogfight every single play, every single quarter. Every single game.”