John Dell newsletter

It will be a quick turnaround for Winston-Salem State coaches and players as they hit the field for a 6 a.m. practice Friday.

The early-morning first practice will kickoff the Rams preparations for their opener on Sept. 5 at UNC Pembroke.

I’ll be interested to see how this current team rounds into shape after a shakeup with the coaching staff. Robert Massey, the interim head coach, doesn’t shy away from talking about what he wants to accomplish this season.

Massey says it’s a season-long job interview for him with the hope of losing the interim title.

“So for me, I want to win a championship this season, and we have the coaches to do it and the players to do it," she said. "If we pay attention to details, then we can get it done.”

The Rams opened camp on Wednesday, and Massey expects about 95 players to be there for the first practice.

I sat down with Massey for a few extra questions earlier this week, and it was interesting what he said in regard to the strength of this year’s team.

“Our secondary is a strength, and it’s mostly because they are all veterans,” Massey said. “When you got guys that can play man to man, you can do so much more because offenses are worried. And those veteran secondary guys can do a lot so we feel like we can get it done.”

Massey also likes the wide receiving corps.

“You’ve got Chandler Belk, Quincy Jackson and Darren Dowdell who have kind of been under the radar but not anymore,” he said.

This will be my 23rd year covering WSSU athletics so I didn’t know Fernandez “Bumpy” Griffin. He is in the Big House Gaines Hall of Fame thanks to his efforts in the 1970s, 80s and early 1990s working in athletics. He helped all the coaches do whatever needed to be done.

Griffin was one of those “glue guys” who made the athletics department a better place to work.

Griffin had a stroke while on a cruise late last month and is trying to get back home to Winston-Salem. 

When Griffin’s plight was revealed on social media, his GoFundMe page had around $3,000 raised, but now it’s up to $16,000. That will tell you what kind of guy Griffin was and how much he means to folks.

WSSU has also switched radio stations. Football and basketball games will now be aired on WSNC (90.5), which is the campus radio station. The games used to be aired there about 10 years ago. 

Looking for news on Winston-Salem State athletics? Subscribe to the Journal’s exclusive newsletter that caters to Rams fans.

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