If it seems like yesterday that Alabama A&M hoisted the SWAC championship trophy — its first title in a decade — inside Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, head coach Connell Maynor can relate.
Just two months removed from that May afternoon in Jackson, the Bulldogs are preparing for what would be an unprecedented feat of winning multiple championships in seven months.
The honeymoon period after winning is short-lived thanks to a pandemic-impacted spring. The time is rapidly approaching for the Bulldogs to embark on what will be a “regular” season.
“We’re still in football shape,” Maynor said at SWAC Media Day. “It seemed like it was just last week when we won a championship. It’s been a couple of months. And now, we’re three weeks away. The guys’ feet are up under them, and they’re excited about the fall season now, proving some people wrong and proving some people right.”
HBCU Sports Live: Alabama A&M wins SWAC football championship
Alabama A&M was picked to repeat as SWAC East ahead of Florida A&M and Jackson State in the league’s preseason rankings, and bring back a roster that included seven All-SWAC members, including Player of the Year Aqeel Glass, who threw for 1,084 yards and 13 touchdowns during the spring season.
The Bulldogs are now the hunted — a position Maynor embraces heading to one of the most anticipated SWAC seasons in a long time for the conference.
“I told the guys that we have an X on our backs,” he said. “We have to work harder than everybody else because our opponents know A&M is on the schedule. They’re going to lift more weights, they are going to run harder, and are going to be more focused. We have to do more because everyone is coming after us.”