Defense will make or break the Albany State Golden Rams 2012 season. And last season's struggles are pushing this year's ASU leaders.
Albany State ranked near the bottom in most 2011 defensive categories. Preseason conference first teamers Justin Blash and Larry Whitfield vow to change that.
The defensive lineman, Blash, points to one game last season as a reality check and his motivation to improve this offseason.
"Last year we didn't really get in to shape, or midseason form until after a big loss to Lane. We really came out here pushed and worked hard. We all came together and clicked after that," Blash said.
The Golden Rams lost in stunning fashion on the road 26-24 to Lane last October. Sophomore linebacker Larry Whitfield is taking a more detailed approach on how to fix previous defensive struggles.
"We just have to stay focused, understand what kind of defense we're trying to run, understand how to fix it and be better tacklers," Whitfield said.
ASU opens the season with North Greenville. The Crusaders posted 63 points on the Golden Rams in the 2011 playoffs.