Albany State football prepared for FAMU this weekend

ALBANY, GA – Albany State football is 24 hours away from heading to Tallahassee to take on Florida A&M in an HBCU classic, and while this one is not a rivalry, head coach Gabe Giardina said some of the players see it as one.

“It’s The House on Seven Hills as they like to say,” Giardina said. “Albany State and FAMU has a little bit of history and a tradition. I know we haven’t played in a really long time, but we’re only 90 miles apart. (Defensive lineman) Jalen Pugh, his parents went to FAMU. I talked to him after the game I said ‘hey, what colors you wearing?’ So we got plenty of crossover with alums, with people who work professionally in the business world, people who live here in Albany. I go to church with some Rattlers. We know it’s going to be exciting, we know there’s going to be a lot of trash talk amongst the fans, but when it gets down to it, we know what’s going to happen between the lines, and we know playing against them is going to be a real positive.

“We got a lot of guys from Florida: Stephan Pierre is from Tallahassee, so we know the external noise, the ticket requests, our alumni have been talking about this for the last year … But we got to eliminate the clutter and just focus on ourselves, and get better. That’s our big mission.”

It will be quite the challenge for the Golden Rams as they are taking on a Division I school for the first time since Giardina became the head coach in 2017, but he said if ASU can get a win against a “very good opponent,” the Golden Rams will be hard to stop this season.

“I’m really excited for what we can be and I think we got to prepare like this game is a new game,” Giardina said. “We’re just trying to go 1-0 every week. We know we got to play better because it’s week 2, and FAMU is obviously a very good opponent, got a very good quarterback, very big up front on the offensive and defensive line, and have really done some good things. I know they probably didn’t play as well as they wanted to (against Jackson State) but Week 1 they were really lights out against North Carolina.”

The game will air Saturday at 6 p.m. on CBS.