ASU coach Mike White is wary of this year's schedule both because of the quality of opponents early on and because the Rams will only play three games at home all season.
2013 Albany State football schedule
Sept. 7 @ N. Greenville, TBA
Sept. 14 vs. Tuskegee, TBA
Sept. 21 Elizabeth City, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 @ Miles, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 5 Bye
Oct. 12 @ Lane, 2 p.m.*
Oct. 19 Morehouse, 2 p.m.*
Oct. 26 @ Clark Atlanta, TBA*
Nov. 2 Benedict, 7 p.m.*
Nov. 9 vs. Fort Valley St., 2 p.m.*
* denotes conference game
Game to be played in Columbus
MACON — Albany State held out releasing its football schedule for months, hoping a new opponent would be able to fill an open spot on Oct. 5.
When the schedule was finally released Tuesday, the first Saturday in October was still blank, meaning the Rams will play a nine-game regular season schedule for the first time in coach Mike White’s 14 years as head coach.
The bye week comes during the fifth week of the season and in between conference games against Miles and Lane, but White said the shortened schedule isn’t all bad for an Albany State team that is trying to bounce back from its worst season in 11 years.
“It really doesn’t bother us too much,” White said Tuesday morning during the annual Peach State Pigskin Preview in Macon. “You have to look at it in a positive way. We will be able to rest up and get ready for the rest of the conference.”
The Rams might very well need that week to catch their breath after a challenging four-game stretch to start the season when they play against North Greenville, Tuskegee, Elizabeth City and Miles — arguably the four toughest games on ASU’s schedule.
“It’s going to be very tough, but there is no way around it,” White said. “We have to face it and recognize the challenge and be ready. We have to get off to a good start. We can’t afford a slow start, but we still have a situation where we are trying to put our staff together. These opponents are already working on preparing for us, and we are still working on ourselves.”
The Rams are still without an offensive coordinator, a position that went vacant last month when Uyl Joyner accepted a similar position at Dougherty High, and White said the personnel issues have demanded most of his time this summer.
Of course, White also noticed there were only three home games currently scheduled for his Rams, who only played four times at the ASU Coliseum last season.
“We are just going to hope that another home game appears,” said White, referring to the Sept. 14 game against Tuskegee that was originally scheduled to be played in Atlanta in the Inner-City Classic but will now be played at either ASU or FVSU. “I know it will be very frustrating if we only have three. I don’t make the schedule, but I know that (ASU athletic director Richard Williams) is trying to do his best and trying to schedule classics where (the school) can make some money off the games. That’s the reason we won’t play as many games at home.”
The Rams open the season Sept. 7 at North Greenville, returning to the site of their 2011 playoff loss when the Crusaders ran away with a 63-14 win and handed ASU its worse loss in more than a decade.
The Rams will then play Tuskegee — somewhere — on Sept. 14 in a non-conference game before hosting Elizabeth City Sept. 21 and then traveling to Birmingham, Ala., to play Miles in the conference opener Sept. 28.
After their bye week, the Rams will finish the season with five straight conference games, starting with Lane on the road (Jackson, Tenn.) on Oct. 12. ASU returns home Oct. 19 to play Morehouse and finishes out the season with a road game at Clark Atlanta on Oct. 26, a home game vs. Benedict on Nov. 2 and the Fountain City Classic in Columbus against Fort Valley State on Nov. 9.