Albany State coach Gabe Giardina is looking for his “Dirty Blue” defense to get even dirtier this year as the Golden Rams look for a SIAC football championship and a chance to compete in the national playoffs. The Rams lost that chance last year when they fell to Miles in the SIAC championship game. That’s an experience the Rams do not want again this season and it is still fresh in their thoughts — including Monroe grad Antonio Leroy.
“That is taste we don’t ever want in our mouths again,” Leroy said. “This year, every time we have adversity we are going to keep pushing because we don’t ever want that experience again.”
Leroy, a redshirt junior linebacker who transferred back to Albany State after originally going to Presbyterian College, thinks this group of Rams is better prepared.
“We are more of a tight-knit group,” he said. “We are more of a family and working to make our weaknesses our strengths. We are going through more physical drills on blocking and tackling so we don’t miss tackles. And then we are holding each other accountable as well.”
Leroy is hoping the experience of 3:30 practices in the South Georgia heat and humidity will give the Rams an advantage when it comes to game time.
“If we can beat the heat at practice,” he said, “I think it will give us another advantage. We are going to be in better shape this year and the heat won’t faze us as much it will our opponents.”
While the Rams have big goals of winning the SIAC, Leroy and the Rams know it is a step by step process.
“We are focused on one game at a time,” Leroy said. “I am being more vocal and we are getting everybody on the same page because we don’t want that experience from last year again.”
Antonio Leroy is a famous name at Albany State. His father, Antonio Leroy, played at Albany State from 1992-96 and his number was retired for his performance on the football field. He still works at the university. The younger Leroy is pushing for a legacy of his own.
He is currently a health and human performance major but has his sights on making on the NFL. The most recent Albany State alumnus to make the NFL is Grover Stewart who was a fourth-round draft pick of Indianapolis Colts in 2017. With the abilities and focus of Antonio Leroy, the season for the Golden Rams looks just as bright as his future.