ASU linebacker Bruce Ryles and the Rams are glad to be back at home this week after three straight road trips spanning almost 3,000 miles.
ALBANY -- Nearly 3,000 miles on the road and some 51 hours in a bus during the past three weeks, and the Rams are finally home.
They finally have a home game after back-to-back-to-back road trips to Indianapolis, Jackson, Tenn., and Fairfield, Ala., and the players finally are able to get back to some normalcy.
WHO: Morehouse (5-1, 3-0) at Albany State (4-2, 2-1).
WHAT: Rams’ 7th game of the year.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: ASU Coliseum.
RADIO: 98.1 FM.
FOLLOW ONLINE: For live updates from the game, log onto twitter.com/AlbHeraldSports.
"Those were some long rides, 12-hour rides, nine-hour rides, eight-hour rides," ASU linebacker Bruce Ryles said at practice Tuesday, just two days removed from the second-longest trip during that span to play at Lane College. "You have to get everything in quicker than you would for a home game. It is difficult doing walkthroughs in hotels and in lobbies."
During the past three weeks, the Rams had been departing for their Saturday games by Thursday or Friday, shortening the amount of practice and preparation time.
Having the three longest road trips of the season all in a row was a challenge for the Rams -- to say the least.
ASU had to come from behind to beat Miles and hang on to defeat Kentucky State before losing to Lane last Saturday.
"I think it's a big deal because we had them all back-to-back like that," White said. "This week we will be at home, and we get a chance to be a little more detailed Thursday and Friday. That bus ride Thursday night, it's one thing to sleep in a bus and another to sleep in a bed."
ANOTHER EX-RAM TO THE AFL: Days after former Albany State kicker Juan Bongarra signed a contract with the Arena Football League's Tampa Bay Storm, ex-Ram Jacob Hardwick inked his first AFL deal.
The former star defensive linemen for both the Rams and the Albany Panthers agreed to terms with the Utah Blaze, and Blaze coach Ron James recently told Sports Page Magazine how excited he was to sign Hardwick, a 2010 ASU graduate.
"Adding Hardwick allows us to continue to dominate along the line as we did in 2011, and hopefully he will feel right at home chasing quarterbacks alongside his former teammate (Lionel Bibbins)," James said.
Hardwick and Bibbins were teammates on the Panthers last season when they combined for 13.5 tackles and 4.5 sacks in seven combined games.
But it was Hardwick's career at Albany State that impressed James the most. Hardwick ended his career at ASU with 162 total tackles, 53 tackles for loss, 33 sacks, one interception, one touchdown, seven forced fumbles and 14 quarterback hurries.
White, whose 2011 Rams have just nine sacks through six games, said Hardwick provided a pass rush that has yet to be duplicated this season.
"He was a huge pass rusher and great against the run," White said. "He was definitely a difference maker for us."