ATLANTA, GA (WALB) - After seeing what Gabe Giardina did with a shortened offseason, the SIAC anticipates the Golden Rams to take an additional step in 2018.
Albany State football was predicted to finish first in the east (7 first-place votes) at Tuesday morning's media day in Atlanta.
It's the 5th straight preseason ASU was predicted to win the division, though they have come up short the past two years.
But this summer feels different for Giardina.
At his 2017 visit to the College Football Hall of Fame for media day, he he was 2 months on the job and still getting his staff set in stone.
This go-round they have their leaders and system in place to go along with a hunger to avenge a poor finish to the season which resulted in a (6-4) record.
"Last year we showed up in a foundation that was 2 feet deep," said Giardina of their fast start but rough finish. "We didn't have spring ball and we had such a fast summer program. And now we have a foundation that's 12 feet deep."
Giardina had five players earn preseason all conference honors.
Mike Green, Jamie Glenn and Gabriel Ballinas made First Team, while McKinley Habersham and Jaylin Boyd both made the Second Team.
Boyd is confident that with the extra time coming into 2018, the Golden Rams team is a threat to prove coaches votes right.
"We didn't have a spring practice and we still managed to beat Tuskegee, Valdosta State and Fort Valley State which had never been done. We had a learning period this spring and we had a solid foundation like coach G said so we're definitely ready this time," said Boyd.
Their first readiness test will be September first when they visit a hungry for redemption Valdosta State football team.