MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The 76th Magic City Classic is just days away, and both head coaches are eager to get on the field.
"Four years ago, when I first started this thing, it was everything to me," said Alabama A&M head coach James Spady. "It's a big game but more than that it's a great spectacle. It's a lot of fun to be around and a lot of fun to be involved in. I get excited every year."
Spady's AAMU Bulldogs are 3-4 this season with all three victories over SWAC opponents.
For the ASU Hornets, Donald Hill-Eley is looking forward to leading his team into the rivalry game.
His main focus this week has been on discipline.
"We don't want to get into this game and all of a sudden you make a play and you want to dance around and get us 15 yards," Eley said.
He says he makes sure the players do everything with character and don't get any unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Eley says he wants to keep the players in the confinement of the game and not highlight themselves but rather highlight the team.
Spady's focus is also on the team, not the opponent.
"We've had a goal every game this season to be 1-0," Spady said. He says he doesn't read into the Hornets being re-energized after a mid-season coaching change.
Spady says every opponent has a unique set of variables, but the one thing that stays constant is fundamentals. He says players can make adjustments in a game based on their fundamentals.
The two coaches also have a history together. Eley says he almost hired Spady in 2004 as his offensive coordinator at Morgan State, where he spent 12 years as the head coach. The two still have a close relationship but understand they are professionals and still have to compete.
"We're the old-school guys in the business," Eley added.
Kick-off for the 76th Magic City Classic is at 2:30 p.m. at Legion Field.