Golden Rams prepare for 2023 campaign

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Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 4:59 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - ”Resilient, it’s a bunch of resilient bunch of guys. They’ve been through a lot this past fall and you know with everything they’ve gone through and the way they’ve handled it it’s been tremendous and it’s a very resilient group,” Coach Quinn Gray on how he’d describe his team.

The Albany State Golden Rams are entering year one under head coach Quinn Gray who makes his way to the good life city by way of the University of Memphis. Alongside him he brings a brand new coaching staff, 7 transfers and 22 signees.

“You know change is never easy but as the days go by we keep jelling as a group, and as the days go buy we keep jelling as a well oiled machine,” said quarterback Jhaydon Sullivan.

The Rams finished 7-3 last season, 5-2 in the SIAC. This year they’ll be returning 6 players who made the 2023 SIAC preseason football team.. Josh Simon and Jaree Turner who were named ALL SIAC first team, while Kam Ward, Dionte Bonneau, Jalen Pugh and Rashad Jordan were named to the All SIAC Second Team.

Golden Rams prepare for 2023 season.
Golden Rams prepare for 2023 season.(walb)

Simon was a part of the 2021 SIAC Championship team and is looking forward to continuing his leadership role in his senior season.

“I’m a leader on the offensive line. I make sure my teammates know what they’re doing and my whole team knows what they’re doing. It’s been an honor being a captain and being on the leadership council as well. I’ve just been working hard, leading the team and inspiring my teammates,” said Simon.

A big question is who will Simon and the offensive line be protecting? The fight for QB-1 is still underway. It’s been a three way battle between Isaiah Knowles, Jhaydon Sullivan and returning starter Dionte Dionte Bonneau.

Coach Gray and his staff have created a faster tempo offense that will include more diverse routes and concepts, an offense Sullivan feels he is the perfect fit for.

“My ability to run and throw the ball. Obviously I feel like I’m the best person to run the offense. I feel as if my ability to run outside the pocket and make plays outside the pocket sets me a part from the others.”

Four out of the six players named to the SIAC preseason team come on the offensive side of the ball, but in true Ram fashion the Rams will continue to lean on their “dirty blue defense” early this season.

“Our most experience is probably going to be on the defensive side of the ball. We obviously got a few transfers in and then you got some guys from last years team that contributed quite a bit,” said Coach Gray.

Expectations are high for FAU transfer Ahman Ross.
Expectations are high for FAU transfer Ahman Ross.(walb)

Some defensive standouts include returners Jalen Pugh and Jaree Turner, and the expectations are high for Florida Atlantic transfer DB Ahman Ross.

The blue and gold were ranked second in the SIAC Preseason poll, giving them fuel for the upcoming season.

“We always feel like we’re the best. Our standard is the best. It’s excellence. For us it still lets us know that there’s doubters. As long as there’s doubters that gives us an opportunity to go out and show these people who we really are. The guys understand that, they know that and we’re prepared to go out and play and face any challenge we see each and every week.”

Coach Gray and the Rams will kick off their 2023 campaign at Wingate on September 1st at 4:00pm.