Longtime voice of the Rams, Fred Suttles, won't be making the trip to Indy this weekend for Albany State's showdown with Kentucky State in the Circle City Classic because of the recent death of his sister.
ALBANY -- Albany State football is a way of life for Rams play-by-play announcer Fred Suttles
He is in his 15th year in the booth and can count the number of ASU games he has missed on one hand.
But when the Rams travel to Indianapolis for Saturday's game at Lucas Oil Stadium against Kentucky State for the 28th annual Circle City Classic, Suttles won't be making the trip because of a recent death in the family.
WHO: Albany State (3-1, 1-0) vs. Kentucky State (3-1, 0-0).
WHAT: 28th annual Circle City Classic; Rams’ 5th game of the season, second in the SIAC.
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.
FOLLOW THE GAME ONLINE: twitter.com/AlbHeraldSports.
"Albany State football means a lot to me. I grew up being around it," said Suttles, who succeeded his father, Fred "Doc" Suttles, in the radio booth.
Doc was the voice of the Rams for 39 seasons before his death in 2005. Fred was a color commentator alongside his dad for eight years and took the reigns as play-by-play announcer when he passed six years ago.
"I am glad to be able to carry on the legacy doing this," Suttles said this week. "I enjoy bringing the game to people. Especially on the road, because not too may fans go to those games, so they count on me to bring it to them."
Needless to say, he will be missed this weekend.
Suttles, who is typically joined in the both by color analysts Norman Newton and Jesse Massey on WMRZ 98.1 and kissalbany.com, will be attending the funeral of his sister, Angela Suttles, on Saturday. The game instead can be followed several different ways Saturday, but its usual home with Suttles and Co. won't be one of them.
Suttles says he's has missed just three or four games in 15 years, and vividly recalls the last one: ASU's 2009 contest at Lane College, which was put on probation by the NCAA in 2008 for four years for major violations of NCAA rules.
In addition to probation, Lane lost scholarships and was declared ineligible to telecast athletic events for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years. Lane's decision to deny the radio broadcast was a self-imposed penalty.
"We didn't agree with that at all," said Suttles, who graduated from ASU with a bachelor's degree in 1991 and a master's degree in 2010. "I don't see how you can penalize ASU listeners."
While Saturday's game can still be heard on the Heritage Sports Radio Network, ASU coach Mike White said this week at practice it won't quite be the same without Suttles in the booth.
"Fred's relationship (with the school and football team) is very strong because of his dad. When we played here, we knew Fred when Fred was a little kid," said White, who played for the Rams from 1975-78. "So we have been knowing him a long time and knowing his family for a long time. That's close to home, and condolences go out to him and his family. He will be missed on this trip."
ASU VS. KSU EARNS HSRN "GAME OF THE WEEK" HONORS: Because Saturday's game between Albany State and Kentucky State is the HSRN Game of the Week, it can be heard live on the internet and satellite radio.
"We encourage our fans who want to hear the action of the Golden Rams game against the KSU Thorobreds to listen to the game on HSRN. The broadcasters will provide live action, play-by-play of the game," said Richard H. Williams, ASU's interim athletics director.
Fans can listen to the live broadcast on Sirius XM Satellite Radio Network, Channel 137, and XM Radio. Fans may also visit www.hsrn.com and click the "Listen Live" link on the HSRN home page.
Other internet resources for the HSRN broadcast are www.HBCUConnect.com, www.HBCUDigest.com, www.TuneIn.com, www.Blacksportsonline.com, www.BSTM.com and www.Urbaiamag.com.
Other radio network coverage includes WOKS 1340 AM out of Columbus, WAGF 1320 AM out of Dothan, Ala., and WEUP 1700 AM out of Huntsville, Ala.
Coverage for the game kicks off at 1:30 p.m. with the pre-game show.
Color analyst Mike Walker will join play-by-play announcer Lamont Germany in the booth, with LeCounte Conaway providing sideline coverage.
The game will kick off at 2:30 p.m.
QUICK RELEASE: Albany State's new punter and former Australian Rules football star Luke Jones is settling into his new job nicely since his arrival in America on Sept. 9.
Jones has emerged as the No. 1 punter and has been opening some eyes with his quick releases on his kicks.
ASU special teams coach Kenyan Conner said it takes Jones two seconds to get the punt off, which is an ideal time.
"We look for 2.2 seconds from the snap to the punt getting off, so we think we are in business," Conner said. "We are pleased with his quickness."
Jones said that quickness goes back to his Australian Rules roots when he would kick on the run. He has trained himself to catch, spin and kick the ball all in one motion.
"Even back home (in Australia), I still had the fastest hands," Jones said. "I think it is because of my steps. I take less steps than most people, and I am on the move when I catch the ball. I am tipping forward. I catch the ball, and everything happens in one motion."
Once the ball is in his hands, Jones said he averages getting the punt off in 1.17 seconds. He added that the ideal time for a kicker in the NFL -- his dream job -- is between 1.2 and 1.3 seconds, and the ideal time for a college kicker is between 1.3 and 1.4 seconds.
And that quick release seems to be second nature for Jones, who has been perfecting his technique for years.
"The more I think about something, the more errors present themselves," Jones said. "When I go back to muscle memory and what I am naturally doing, that's when I preform the best."
Albany State Sports Information Director Edythe Bradley contributed to this report.