Rams adjusting to the spread offense

Lance Eldridge (Source: WALB)Lance Eldridge (Source: WALB)
Ben Simmons (Source: WALB)Ben Simmons (Source: WALB)
Malik Dassie (Source: WALB)Malik Dassie (Source: WALB)

When you head out to Milt Miller Field Friday night and see the worth county rams actually passing the ball.

Your eyes won’t be deceiving you.

Worth County is two days away from it’s home opener.

This offseason has been about adjusting to the spread offense.

The Rams ran the run-heavy wing-t offense under Jason Tone the past four seasons.

This year Ben Simmons has brought over the spread from Turner County.

Expect the ball to be flying around Sylvester this season.

And Simmons has been working on it all with his new squad.

“Basically the formations, blocking schemes, route running, receiving catching,” said Simmons. “Those basic things our kids have had to adjust to and learn even more.”

He’s leaned on veteran leaders like running back Malik Dassie and quarterback Lance Eldridge to get the Rams on board.

Eldridge is coming into his senior year and second under center. But this will be his first year airing the ball out, and he’s been grinding to expand his game.

“Working on my steps. Throwing concepts. Last year we were handing the ball off 90 percent of the time. coming in running the spread has gotten me a better opportunity to make reads and sling the ball.”

He’ll need to sling the ball well Friday night.

Worth County will host rival Thomas County Central to open the season.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.

Keep up with WALB on the go! 

Follow us on social     and download our apps!

Consolidation proved well for the Golden Rams in year 1

ASU (Source: WALB)ASU (Source: WALB)

As Albany State barrels into year two post- consolidation, now is a good time to review how athletics succeeded in a year of transition.

Nothing was the same in 2016 for the Golden Rams.

The consolidation with Darton State College shook up the landscape of athletics.

Albany State infused a total of four new head coaches.

The program also took on two new sports in men’s golf and women’s soccer.

Change turned out to be good for the Golden Rams.

Here’s  last years achievements:

  • 3 SIAC titles (Men’s track and field, men’s golf, women’s cross country)
  • 2 Individual track & field national titles (Rising Junior and Bainbridge native Cervantes Jackson won triple jump and high jump)
  • Men’s SIAC Commissioner’s Cup (Women placed 2nd)
  • 88 student-athletes with 3.0 GPA or above, four with 4.0

Pulling the strings behind the scenes was first year athletic director Sherie Gordon.

She credits the village for the year one success.

“Although we’ve been great here, we have higher goals,” said Gordon. “We want to be a model institution at Division II at the regional and eventually the national level. I have to give credit to our coaches. We have great coaches and great student-athletes, and my job is to make sure I provide the support they need to succeed.”

Change isn’t over at ASU. The Golden Rams women’s soccer team will have its inaugural season this fall.

The football program is also under the new leadership of first-time head coach Gabe Giardina.

Both open the season against Valdosta State. Women’s soccer on September 1st and football opener is the following evening.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.

Keep up with WALB on the go! 

Follow us on social     and download our apps!

Blazers earn early No. 11 national ranking

VSU (Source: WALB)VSU (Source: WALB)

Valdosta State football earned the No. 11 ranking in the first NCAA Division II Coach’s poll of 2017.

VSU finished 18th in the nation at the end of last year.

North Alabama (5) is the only Gulf South Conference team with a higher ranking.

Valdosta State is going into year two of the Kerwin Bell Experience.

The Blazers received the news on the heels of Sunday night’s intersquad scrimmage.

They have just three more weeks to prepare for the season opener September 2nd at Albany State.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.

Keep up with WALB on the go! 

Follow us on social     and download our apps!

ASU restricts QB Charles Stafford’s ability to transfer

Charles Stafford (Source: WALB)Charles Stafford (Source: WALB)

Albany native Charles Stafford lost the quarterback competition last year at Albany State University.

This fall he’s fighting another battle–only his opponent isn’t a player–but the very school he signed with in 2014.

The former Monroe High quarterback is attempting to transfer.

ASU won’t grant him release to any school in the conference, nor an opponent on this fall’s schedule.

Stafford originally planned to take the keys to the offense this year.

Those plans were dampened with the head coaching change this spring. Stafford doesn’t feel his skills fit the new regime.

After two years of riding the pine, the junior wants to be released without stipulations so he can start playing in 2017.

“My hope is to get the stipulations removed so I can play the season coming up,” Stafford told WALB. “Or if it doesn’t get removed I can come back on the team with a scholarship.”

As an NCAA Division II School and member of the SIAC, Albany State isn’t breaking rules by inconveniencing its former player. The school pointed that out in a statement released to WALB Monday afternoon.

Albany State University (ASU) renders decisions on athletic matters in accordance with National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) legislation.  Such legislation allows schools to provide permission to contact with restrictions and to restrict a request to transfer.  ASU uses both the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and the NCAA as resources to ensure decisions align with NCAA and SIAC rules.

Stafford was the projected starter in the spring for the Golden Rams. He did not participate in fall camp.

Albany State kicks off the football season September 2nd at home against Valdosta State.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.

Keep up with WALB on the go! 

Follow us on social     and download our apps!