FORT VALLEY -- Familiarity might be a nice thing, but in football, it often doesnt matter.
Donald Pittman is pretty sure he knows what to expect from Tuskegee.
Ive been playing Willie Slater for 20 years, Fort Valley States head coach said about Tuskegees head coach. Theyre going to do the same things. It seems simple, but its not. They do it so well.
Handling that is a different story. FVSU hopes to do that with a more consistent offense and improved special teams when it hosts Tuskegee in an SIAC showdown Saturday afternoon.
FVSU is 2-0 in SIAC play and atop the East Division, ahead of 1-1 Benedict. Morehouse has yet to play a conference game.
Stillman is 2-0 in the West, with Tuskegee and Miles at 1-0. Stillman and Tuskegee are the only SIAC teams with winning overall records, both at 3-1.
The Wildcats have won two straight, both close games, after dropping the first two games of the season.
The Golden Tigers lone loss is to NCAA Division II defending national runner-up Winston-Salem State by a 35-13 margin. Tuskegee already has knocked off Albany State 19-13 and rebounded from the Winston-Salem State loss with a 42-14 win at Lane.
Lane had won two games, Pittman said. Tuskegee beat them handily.
So the Golden Tigers enter Saturdays game with perhaps a little more momentum than the Wildcats, whose two wins are by a combined eight points. On the other hand, this is FVSUs first home game.
The Golden Tigers followed a bye week with a 49-18 win over the visiting Wildcats a year ago, thanks to 671 yards of total offense and 441 on the ground.
Unofficially, Tuskegee leads the series 30-20-2 and has beaten FVSU in nine of the past 10 meetings. The Wildcats rolled to a 26-0 win in 2010 but lost the past two regular-season meetings, as well as last years SIAC championship game 55-18.
Theyre going to be sound, Pittman said of the Golden Tigers. Theyll have a sound kicking game, defense and offense.
FVSU is among the most penalized teams in Division II while Tuskegee is among the least. The Tigers are better in most special teams categories, but the Wildcats are stronger on defense.
FVSUs LeRon Furr is first nationally in tackles for loss with 2.8 per game while brother DeRon is 17th in forced fumbles, JaBioas Glenn is in the top 50 in passes defended and interceptions. Glenn, the latest SIAC defensive player of the week, will see a familiar face in former Dooly County teammate Bentavious Miller.
The Wildcats have the momentum of a two-game winning streak, but Pittman said the games shouldnt have been as close as they were.
We were inconsistent on offense, and we struggled, Pittman said of last weeks 35-30 win over Benedict. The run game wasnt that effective, neither was the passing game.
You look at it realistically, the offensive linemen, there are only two (back) from last year. Usually it takes time for the offensive line to jell, and you need that time.
Jelling against the Golden Tigers would be welcomed.
Weve been trying to push them and rush them along, Pittman said. They just have to go through the process.