Albany State preview

Last season: 6-4, 5-2 in Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Two you know: Coach Mike White used the word "gifted" to describe Dexter Moody (Emanuel County Institute), who was an all-conference safety last year after picking off seven passes and returning two for TDs. He was signed by Georgia and played one season at Georgia State before transferring to Albany State. WR Jessie Atkins (Mitchell County), who caught 32 passes for 553 yards in 2012, was selected preseason All-SIAC heading into his junior season, after a great offseason, White said.

Two you'll hear about: White found a QB when Frank Rivers, a junior, transferred from Grambling this summer. He threw for 954 yards and seven TDs in nine games last year and 967 yards and 10 TDs in seven games in 2011, but likely was going to lose the job to D.J. Williams, son of Grambling coach Doug Williams. White loves his LBs, a group that includes Marcavius Dudley (Brunswick), who was selected to the preseason All-SIAC second-team defense, and Larry Whitfield (Monroe).

Two for the future: WR Malik Broughton (Veterans) is 6-foot-4, 215 pounds and won the Class AAAA high jump this spring, so he could help Albany State QBs on jump balls down the field for the next four seasons. The future might be now for Jeremy Johnson, a 250-pound RB who rushed for 1,625 yards and 33 TDs for Screven County last year. With 2012 leading rusher Nathan Hoyte gone, the Rams need to find someone to carry rushing load.

They'll have a winning season if: The Rams finished 6-4 last season, which wasn't good enough for White. He's vowing improvement and brought in a new offensive coordinator to improve on the 20 points per game they averaged in 2012.

They'll come up short if: Rivers can't find his rhythm at QB and the defense doesn't play as well as it did last year, when it was eighth in Division II, giving up 289.4 yards per game.

Chatter: Steve Smith has returned as offensive coordinator, a role he held from 2009-10. The Rams led the SIAC in offense in 2010 with 365.5 yards per game, going 11-1. Smith was at Tennessee State in 2011 and with the Kansas City Chiefs last season. … Rivers, who is 6-foot-5, reportedly looked at Winston-Salem State, Edward Waters, Fort Valley State and Benedict before transferring to Albany State. He helped lead Grambling to a SWAC title in 2011. … White is excited about the offensive line. … Albany State was selected to win the SIAC East by the league's coaches. … Dudley and Whitfield each had 75 tackles in 2012 to lead Albany State.

Must-see games: Defending SIAC champ Tuskegee visits Albany State on Sept. 14. Those teams haven't played since 2010. The Rams will play their annual showdown against Fort Valley State in Columbus on Nov. 9.

Best Twitter handle: @ASUGoldenRams