The Albany State Golden Rams are expected to reach the SIAC Title Game for the third consecutive year.
That according to the conference's coaches.
ASU was selected as east division preseason favorite at SIAC Media Days in Montgomery, AL this morning. The Golden Rams have reached the conference title game each of the last two years.
Head coach Dan Land says his expectations are very similar to those voting in the poll.
"The way my guys have been working this summer and the offseason here, my expectations are pretty high for them," Land says. "I don't know exactly where we're going to finish and everything, but if we play up to our potential, we should be up there in the mix with everyone else."
The Golden Rams feel just fine about their offense. That happens when you have a two-time defending conference offensive player of the year to hand the ball to. Nothing is expected to change for senior RB Jarvis Small.
Small was selected as the SIAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Wednesday. The 5'11 bruiser led the conference with 103 yards per game and 11 touchdowns last season.
"When you have a player like Jarvis Small, it'll make you feel a whole lot better when you look at your offense," Land says. "Everything he does, he does right. That makes everybody else want to follow him. I just hate to see it be his last year. I wish I could get him for four more."
Land says he's happy with how offseason workouts have gone, and he's ready to see how the team performs in preseason practice.
"I have a lot of guys that came in and a lot of freshmen that are looking to contribute to the team right away, so we're excited about that," he says.
Albany State won't have an easy go of it, schedule-wise. The Golden Rams play just three home games, including one against national semifinalist West Georgia. They also open the season on the road at Valdosta State and pay a visit to FCS opponent Charleston Southern on October 8.
Land says the tough schedule is all by design.
"We wanted to beef up the schedule a little bit so when we do get the opportunity to play in the Division II playoffs, we're ready," he says. "We'll be better prepared to face the kind of teams we'll meet in the playoffs."
The Golden Rams hope a playoff berth is in their destiny. They haven't reached that milestone since 2011.
Albany State opens the season September 3 at Valdosta State.
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