By Patrick Cochran
For most programs a 7-4 record is laudable but for the Rams it was not the desired result for their 2016 season. The Rams have been working all offseason and hope to drastically improve their record and possibly add another championship to the title board at George Rush Stadium.
After practice wrapped up on a foggy Friday afternoon Head Coach Jimmy Collins was pumped to talk about the team.
“We are really excited about this year’s season,” Collins said. “We have a real good energy and we have a lot of talented players at a lot of positions. We have a depth that we haven’t had in a long time with a lot of good young players but also mature players with experience.”
In practice the Rams looked sharp as they bounce from drill to drill. The team looked excited to start the season versus Laney.
Collins hasn’t officially decided on who will be the starting quarterback however, he alongside fellow players on the team indicated it will most likely be Zach Masoli.
“We are always excited about the guy we are putting out there at quarterback and we have two really good ones,” Collins said. “I am very pleased with all our quarterbacks and whoever goes out there will have a chance to be really really successful. But Zach right now is the frontrunner and he is really taking ownership of this football team. If you ask anyone right now whose team it is they would probably tell you Zach. He is poised to have a real good season.”
If named the starting quarterback Masoli will be following in the footsteps of his older brother Jeremiah Masoli, who helped guide the Rams to a national championship in 2007 followed by a stellar career at the University of Oregon. Like his older brother Masoli is small but a highly mobile dual-threat quarterback who can break out of the pocket to keep a play alive and is a natural leader.
“He is just a great leader,” cornerback Be’Juor Wilson said. “He is a great person to be around. He is a magnet that brings about a great energy to the team. He has athletic ability too.”
The coaching staff believes that they have brought in a great recruiting class this year.
“The guys we brought in are really going to help us improve,” offensive coordinator Dan Hayes said. “All of us were really pleased with the players who we signed.”
On top of the true freshman the Rams have added they also have a group of redshirt freshman who sat out last season whom Collins is excited to have on the field.
“We are very pleased with the development of the players we sat out last season,” Collins said. “We sat out twelve players that we thought could of had an impact as freshman but thought it was better for their overall development and we are very happy with how they developed over the last year. They are all in position to be starters now.”
Some of those redshirt freshman include running backs De’Shawn Collins and Isaiah Floyd, who will split carriers, and linebacker Anthony Porter.
One area where the Rams expect to be especially strong is in the secondary. The team hopes the secondary can be one of strong points on the defense and feel that they have an abundant amount of talent there.
“We feel really good about our secondary, a lot of guys returning,” Wilson said. “Joey Banks going to be a beast at safety.”
“Getting Banks back from an ACL injury is really going to bolster that unit,” Collins said.
The Rams have a ton of potential this season but to keep the team focused, Collins has deployed the mantra “we want to go 1-0 and 13 times this season.”
“If we can do that we will end up where we want to be,” Collins said.
The Rams kick off their season on Friday September 1 at 7pm against their cross-bay rival Laney in Oakland.