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    Stacy, rookies make dome debuts

    By Joe Lyons

    “I can only imagine what the atmosphere is like on game day,’’ the 22-year-old running back said. “It was good to get my feet wet and get a chance to play here at the dome.’’

    Stacy, a fifth-round choice in the NFL Draft in late April, is one of several competing for playing time as the Rams look to fill the void created when Steven Jackson opted out of his contract and eventually signed with the Atlanta Falcons.

    Others in the running back mix are 2011 draft choices Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson, Terrance Ganaway, rookie free agent Benjamin Cunningham and Chase Reynolds, who spent time on the practice squad last season.

    “As a rookie, you just try to digest as much information as you can,’’ said Stacy, a 5-foot-8, 216-pounder who wrapped up his career at Vanderbilt as the school record-holder in rushing attempts (581), rushing yards (3,143) and touchdowns (30). “My whole mentality is to try to stay consistent and productive and to let everything else take care of itself.

    “Honestly, I’m not thinking about the depth chart. I just want to go out every day and focus on doing all the little things right.’’

    Stacy, who rushed for 1,141 yards and 10 touchdowns with the Commodores last fall, is looking forward to Thursday’s preseason opener in Cleveland.

    “After putting in all the hard work, now hopefully it starts to pay off,’’ he said. “Just another great opportunity to go out and showcase my skills, show these coaches, show this staff, what I can do.’’

    For two other rookies, Andre Martin (McCluer) and Robert Steeples (De Smet), the trip to the dome was nothing new. Still, it was anything but routine.

    “Never played here, but I’ve been here many times watching games many times with my dad,’’ Martin said. “Plus, the turf here is exactly the same as the turf in the dome at North Dakota State, so I just felt pretty comfortable out there.’’

    A cornerback, Martin started his college career at Northern Iowa and finished up at NDSU, where he won a Division I FCS championship.

    “I’m just trying to get better every day, learning from the veterans and the coaches,’’ he said. “I’m thankful for every day here. I’ve got a beautiful family, my wife and my daughter — that’s a blessing in itself — but when you talk about going to the facility every day and getting a chance to work and improve as a football player, I can’t ask for anything more.’’

    Steeples was a key player on De Smet’s Class 6 championship squad at the dome in 2005 and was also part of three Missouri teams to knock off Illinois in the Arch Rivalry series.

    “I’m undefeated in the dome so I’m feeling pretty good,’’ said Steeples, a cornerback who finished up his playing days at Memphis last fall after graduating from Mizzou. “When I first showed up here for the state championship, I was on an NFL field and wondered when I’d be back. Then, when they canceled the Arch Rivalry, I again wondered if I’d get back.

    “I keep ending up back in this stadium and it’s always for a good reason.’’

    Like Martin, Steeples is focused on improving each day and doing whatever it takes to catch the coaches’ attention.

    “I’m never satisfied with my performance,’’ he said. “I take pride in being a complete corner, so I’m working on every aspect, from coverage to the mental side to the physicality. Every day, I go into practice with at least three or four things I’m looking to improve on.

    “My main thing is to go out to compete, you know, playing the game I love and showing the Rams how I can help them. As far as where I stand, I’m an undrafted rookie out of St. Louis, Missouri and the rest of the story is up to me.’’


    • An crowd of around 15,000 attended the second annual FanFest at the dome. Last year, the event drew about 13,000.

    • Sitting out Saturday’s workout were WR Nick Johnson, WR Andrew Helmick (hamstring), LB Jabara Williams (hamstring), Matt Giordano (calf), LB Sammy Brown (calf) and DT Al Lapuaho (hand). TE Lance Kendricks (knee), DT Jermelle Cudjo (foot) and S Matt Daniels (knee) remain on the active/physically unable to play list.

    • Starting DT Kendall Langford and reserve TE Zach Potter returned to practice after sitting out Friday’s workout.


    Following an off day today, the team will return to Rams Park for open-to-the-public 3:30 p.m. workouts on Monday and Tuesday.

  2. #2
    Fargo Ram Fan's Avatar
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    Re: Stacy, rookies make dome debuts

    I was not aware that they had offered Andre Martin this opportunity. This is a solid find. I enjoyed watching him play last year. Great nose for the ball and a solid tackler. Martin and teammate Marcus Williams formed the finest DB tandem in FCS football and were very instrumental in NDSU claiming it's second straight National Championship. Williams is entering his senior year and is widely acknowledged as one of the finest any level of college ball. Barring injury, he will be an mid round selection in the 2014 draft.
    Last edited by Fargo Ram Fan; -08-04-2013 at 02:00 PM.
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