Tuskegee University announced on Friday that it will kick off its 2021 campaign against Fort Valley State in the Red Tails Classic.
The football game against its Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) rival will honor the legendary Black military aviators and will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.
The inaugural version of the classic will be at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl on September 5.
Tuskegee head coach Willie Slater expressed optimism, according to the Undefeated, about his team’s potential despite its youth.
“We have a young group, but it’s a group that I am excited about,” he said. “I think they have a lot of potential, and I am excited about that. People know what we do, but they don’t know when we do it.”
Slater currently stands second all-time in wins at the school. He has led Tuskegee to nine or more wins during 10 different seasons.
The veteran coach has already identified where he hopes to see improvement heading into preseason practice.
“I know we are behind in a lot of areas because we did not play in the fall and we did not play in the spring,” Slater explained. “We went through spring training and defense killed us, which lets me know we need a lot of work on the offensive side of the ball.”
The Golden Tigers face a short turnaround after the classic when they return home to Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium to take on the University of West Alabama on September 11.
After missing an entire year of competition, Tuskegee players are eager to get back into a full slate of college football games.
“It is very exciting to play in front of the fans again,” said Tuskegee running back Taurean Taylor. “Personally, I think we owe them. I don’t care if I have to carry my legs off of the field. I’m running until I can’t run no more.”
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia