ALBANY, GA (WALB) - After an extensive search, the Albany State Golden Rams have hired Charleston Southern offensive coordinator Gabe Giardina as the school's new head football coach.
Now he has to get to work.
Giardina takes over the program with just a little more than four months before the Golden Rams kick off the 2017 season. It's a tall task, but one he believes is just another hurdle.
"We're going to have the best four month plan in the country, so when we kick this thing off September 2, we'll be ready to go," he says. "We're going to be fully invested in executing that plan, because we want to win and we want to win now."
Giardina spent the last four seasons leading the CSU offense. During his tenure, the Buccaneers won a school record 36 games, earned two NCAA playoff berths, and averaged over 400 yards of offense per game twice.
It'll be a new look Gold Rush offense in 2017, as Giardina says he plans to marry some of what ASU already does with his shotgun-option offense. It is based on the same principles as the triple option, but the Golden Rams won't be resembling Georgia Tech or the service academies.
"I don't want people to hear the word 'option' and think we're only going to throw it six times a game. That's not what we do," he laughs. He says the Golden Rams will likely throw it around 20-25 times a game, seeking big plays.
"We want to make it hard on defenses by making them play their responsibilities of dive, quarterback, and pitch," he says. "We're going to do it from the gun, so it's a little different. I think it's tough for people to prepare for, and more than anything, I think it's fun to play in."
Several senior players sat in on the interviews for the final four candidates, and say they came away from their meeting with who they call "Coach G" excited to play for him.
"He was full of energy as soon as we met him," says senior linebacker Zane Fields. "He didn't just tell us what we wanted to hear. He told us it's going to be hard. He comes from winning, and that's what we want to do."
After his introductory press conference, Giardina shook hands and took selfies with several players in attendance.
At Charleston Southern, Giardina spent a large amount of time recruiting in the state of Georgia. He knows the talent base in south Georgia, and says he's excited to be able to recruit from this "back yard." He says protecting that yard will be a key task for his coaching staff.
"It's an awesome thing to be in a recruiting area that's as fertile as this one," he says. "When you sign kids that are local guys, as opposed to guys from out of state or different parts of the state, naturally the local kid is just a little more invested. They know a little bit more about the Golden Rams."
Giardina played at Alabama from 2000-2003, and earned Academic All-SEC honors in 2003.
Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.