The Rams open first week of fall practice

Sophomore quarterback, Rod Tinsley Jr. (14), throws a deep ball to his speedy wide receiver.

The Rams open first week of fall practice
August 18
06:00 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



The Rams of Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) are gearing up for another year on the gridiron. They are seeking to capture their second consecutive CIAA championship, and their fourth since 2011.

The Rams will hold their “Meet the Rams Day” on Saturday, Aug. 20. Fans and alumni can come out to meet their favorite players or get to know the newcomers.

The Rams go into the year as the preseason favorites to walk away with the crown but will face tough opposition en route to a championship birth.

The team reported to campus for fall practice Tuesday, Aug. 9, with the first practice taking place last Thursday, Aug. 11.

The Rams will return seven starters on offense and six on defense.  They have three players selected to the preseason All-CIAA First Team.  The honorees are offensive lineman Tim Samuels, kicker Will Johnson and offensive line-man Jac’que Polite.

WSSU will open up against UNC-Pembroke once again.  They lost last year’s season opener against the  Braves 17-7. This year the game will be at Bowman Gray Stadium and the Rams seek to reverse their fortunes from a year ago.

Xavier Quick and William Belcher look to pace the Rams on offense as the leading rusher and receiver, respectively.  On defense, last year’s top returning tackler Jaitavus Jackson and defensive back Kailan Chavis seek to add senior leadership.

Head Coach Kienus Boulware, who took over in 2014, is known for his ability to coach on the defensive side of the ball and has produced the last three Defensive Players of the Year in the CIAA.

Before becoming head coach, he was the defensive coordinator from 2010-2013.  During that span he transformed WSSU’s defensive unit into one of, if not the best in the conference.

According to the WSSU media guide, Boulware said, “This is a dream job, and I’m at a dream school. I’m extremely happy that this day has come,” upon taking over as head coach.

During last week’s first week of practice, the players were given a conditioning test and issued their equipment. The team had to get acclimated to the blistering heat and the grind of practice after being off all summer. The players ran plays, competed in one-on- ones and ran seven-on-seven drills to sharpen their skills. The coaches were focused on having the young men pay attention to detail, as one mental mistake can mean the difference between a win and a loss.

WSSU will have a great shot to repeat as champions but will have a tough schedule. If they can survive a final three game stretch that includes Livingstone, Shaw University and Fayetteville State the Rams should be right in the thick of the CIAA championship race.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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