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App State Review: Revisiting five questions

Just four more SCHEDULED games

Prior to the season, we had five questions for this year’s App State team. Midway and one week through the season, we thought we’d revisit them.

1. WILL AE PLAY THE ENTIRE SEASON?
After missing the BotB due to some overzealous landscaping, Money has been just that, albeit it in a totally unexpected way. The Fastest Man On Earth is no longer running, but gunning. He among the nation’s most accurate passers, and has become almost Brady-like with this year’s offense.

If .. *if* … App State is destined for the playoffs, AE v4.0 may be the most dangerous yet. He’ll be more rested, without the wear and tear of 20-plus runs a game (2007). He’ll also be unpredictable. Who will opponents prepare for – the 415-yard bomber or the 313-yard runner?

2. CAN WE GET BACK THAT 2006 DEFENSE?
In retrospect that’s probbably a grossly unfair benchmark to hold against any squad. That Back-to-Back D may end up one of the greatest in school history (allowed just 14.9 pts, 276 yards over 15 games).

So far the ’09 D Men have gotten plenty of arrows, most deserved. But statistically it’s right with the 2007 Back-to-Back-to-Back defense. App State gave up 26.7 pts and 379.9 yards a game that year, a bit softer than the 24.9 pts and 328.9 yards a game allowed this season.

Black Saturday was the first .. /tired cliche alert .. “complete game” effort by the App State D. Throw in that second half at Wooford, and it’s six straight quarters of high quality ball.
low five!
3. JUST HOW “SPECIAL” WILL SPECIAL TEAMS BE?
Probably one of the bigger surprises this season is the oft-forgotten third aspect of the game. App State leads the SoCon in kickoff coverage (43.7 yards) and kickoff returns (21.4). The team’s 12 field goals are second most in the league, along with a perfect 32-32 PAT mark.

The team also has a league-low 21 punts in seven games, sending them an average of 35 yards. Punt return yardage could be better (just 6.6 yards a run back), but thanks to the firepower on offense, field position is pretty meaningless.

4. WILL THERE BE A SOPHOMORE SLUMP?
We focused primarily on four names – Ben Jorden, Brian Quick, Ed Gainey and lineman Lanston Tanyi.

Tanyi has started all but one game this season. He’s tied for third on the team in tackles (38) with four TFLs (18 yards) and 2.5 sacks (14 yards). Gainey has started all 7 games, with 25 tackles and 2 INTs. So no real letups there.

Jorden has been much quieter this season. Injuries slowed him early, and he’s only started three of the six games he’s played. He has five catches on the year for 91 yards. Can’t really say it’s a “slump” given the number of weapons on offense, and the emergence of Jordan Gary.

Quick is breaking out again. In his last two games he has 13 catches for 255 yards. On the season he’s averaging 73.1 reception yards a game and 17.7 yards a catch.

5. WILL THE ROCK ROCK A BIT LESS?
After four home games, this is an unfortunate affirmative. KBS has gotten a bit softer. Sure, weather is playing a huge part is damping down attendance (three straight home games with wet and cold), but even then volcal enthusiasm appears down. Often during Black Saturday it sounded more like a Jones Arena crowd then a mass horde of Black and Gold crazed football fanatics.

The remaining two scheduled home games feature ‘Nooga, which is having a respectable season, and the ‘Whee, which is just ‘Wheeful again. But opponents shouldn’t matter. A home game is a home game. ‘Nuff should be said.

* images from chadmitchellphoto.com

52 Comments

  1. Dan

    October 28, 2009 at 6:28 am

    I can't believe there are only 2 home games left… that's kind of depressing.

  2. appirishmen

    October 28, 2009 at 6:47 am

    There might be one maybe two more 🙂 if we win out of course.

  3. Geoff

    October 28, 2009 at 6:52 am

    I love that photo of AE and D.J. "goin' to work". AppFan…what site is that from?

    realizing that we have two more (regular season) home games IS depressing…November has seemed to sneak up on me this year. good news is i will be at Vurman and Eloan as well so we have plenty more football to watch!

  4. Theres an APP for th

    October 28, 2009 at 7:00 am

    well im coming to the last 4 maybe 5 home games so the noise will increase. you can bet on that. i was sick on black saturday. this is going to be a great year.

  5. APPCANIAC

    October 28, 2009 at 7:00 am

    where is the best spot to tailgate at Furman?

  6. grudensucks

    October 28, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Ben Jorden, has 5 catches for 91 yards. 18.2 yards a catch.

    Quick 13 for 255 yds. 19.6 yards per catch.
    I'll take those sophmore numbers any day.
    I was surprised at the special teams numbers. Didn't know they were that good comparing to other SOCON teams.

    Hope Quick can keep his ego out of the clouds. Although I read on here I think or something that AE has been getting onto him about his missed routes and lining up. I think he got humbled AE style.

    Each weekend is another weekend closer of not seeing #14 play for us anymore. It's starting to sink in. At the same time, I'm ready to see what numbers Cadet can put up.

    Have I ever said I love this site. I love you regulars on here too. Ya'll are hard core, hard nose Mountaineers.

  7. parking lot

    October 28, 2009 at 7:30 am

    thanks grudensucks. But the realization of Armanti not being our QB anymore is hitting me as well. At one point will i TRULY feel lucky to watch him play so many times..

  8. Jason

    October 28, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Man, thanks a lot, gruden. I have successfully pushed those thoughts out of my head 'til just now.

    The cool thing is, we all thought the same when Richie graduated. We had Trey. We all liked Trey. But, he wasn't Richie. Then, along game a skinny kid that looked no bigger than my 10yr old nephew. AE is a once-in-a-life-time player. I feel very fortunate to have watched him play.

    Cadet is a stud and I look forward to the rest of this season and (pause…) next year!

    I know we're a small school, but name 4 players better than AE (in all of football)? He should at least be AT the Heisman ceremony as one of the candidates. Tebow, McCoy, and maybe Ingram are the top 3….but I think AE should be there too! 8000/4000….and still going! 'Nuff said!

  9. yosef83

    October 28, 2009 at 8:02 am

    I said before Wofford, I felt that game could be the turning point of the season. I didn't realize that it would come about in the 2ND HALF like it did, but maybe we needed a game like that. We've seemed to come together a little more recently. Last Saturday we got the beat down on a hated rival (Stink) like we needed. This week, a big beat down on the road would be great. Beating Furman ALWAYS gives us a lift. The main thing, I think, for this team is to REALLY FOCUS on the very next game on the schedule each and every week. Everything will probably work out fine if they do this and remain healthy.

  10. jonmac

    October 28, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Jason, I agree that he SHOULD be at the Heisman Ceremony but I hope he's in KBS or some other FCS stadium(gasp!!!) playing a semi-final game and running up another 400+ yards total offense on Heisman Saturday. But if we play on Friday I'd love to see Armanti in NY. I'm afraid our 2 loses will keep him out the running though, although Air McNair's 1994 Alcorn State Braves were 8-3-1. Hmmmmm.

  11. Dominick

    October 28, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Armanti should be up in the Heisman race. Not for career records or national championships, but for what he has done THIS year. His numbers are extremely impressive. And all those numbers come even from missing a game (ECU) and half of another (GSU). Yes, he lost his first start, (was that on him or the D?) but he still put up amazing numbers in that game and hasn't lost then.

    So with that said, we know he has the team record and the numbers to win. What is the one thing that most people say you need to win a Heisman? A "Heisman moment" maybe? CHECK…actually take your pick. The "Nintendo play" from Samford, the escape at Wofford, or any of the defensive players he has literally RUN-OVER while carrying the ball!

    Others have the numbers and the wins so far but who has had as many "Heisman moments" as AE this season? Not many…that's who. Put him in the conversation!

  12. Dominick

    October 28, 2009 at 8:16 am

    "hasn't lost since then."

  13. Jason

    October 28, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I didn't know it was presented during our playoffs. I thought it wasn't presented 'til a little later in Dec. In that case, the @!#$ with the Heisman, I'll take a beatdown of any team daring to play us!!!

    Seriously tho, he's top 4 in the nation. It used to be, the Heisman was giving to a senior. You can't tell me they didn't factor the whole career or the player. Yes, they had great Senior campaigns, but the career numbers were a factor in the decision. AE should be up there….

  14. Dan

    October 28, 2009 at 8:24 am

    beat Furman.

  15. Joe

    October 28, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Wait, what Dan? We're playing Furman this week??

  16. TriadAppFan

    October 28, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Click on this link and write in Armanti for Heisman 2009. He needs some hype to the big wigs of ESPN. He needs to be at least mentioned in the same sentence as the rest of the hopefuls. He deserves it!!
    http://promo.espn.go.com/espn/contests/theheisman

  17. classof1977

    October 28, 2009 at 9:17 am

    When Armanti takes his last snap in Black and Gold there will be grown men weeping in the stands…..and I'll be one of them.

  18. Mike

    October 28, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Okay, I just voted through write in for Armanti at the ESPN site. You have got to be kiddng me with all the losers on the current list with votes while Armanti isn't even showing up. What can we do to change this. It's just ridulous for him to not be in the top ten…at the very least.

  19. SpeedkingATL

    October 28, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Beat Furple!! A group of ASU Alums from Atlanta will be caravaning up for this one. Blackout the Whiteout.

  20. louie

    October 28, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Good article, good questions and the answer is "yes", if the defense can stop a good offense 3 times a half.

  21. Fleetwood App

    October 28, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Thanks for the link TriadAppFan. Here's the deal. Every one of us who sit in front of a computer most of the day go to the link provided every day and vote for AE until we cannot vote anymore. Right now, he's not even showing up on the board so we have to assume he doesn't even have 42 votes (the lowest total on the board). Everyone, go vote for him!!!

  22. AppClassOf09

    October 28, 2009 at 10:01 am

    I just voted and will be voting every day from now on, at least until I find a job (Who knows when that might be). Also it may be helpful for anyone on social networking sites to post a link encouraging everyone to write him in!

  23. grudensucks

    October 28, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Appfan.com for Heisman.

    Honestly though you can't tell me that Armanti couldn't smoke some of those cats on that ESPN site. It's the ol Kirk Herbstreit mentality.

  24. Jason

    October 28, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Read the NOTE at the bottom of the Heisman link:
    * Only those candidates with a legitimate chance of winning the Heisman Trophy in the view of ESPN and Nissan will be added to the leaderboard.

    What a joke!

  25. DRM

    October 28, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Forget Gruden, it's Kirk Herbstreit who sucks.

  26. DRM

    October 28, 2009 at 11:30 am

    He should be under Armanti's lawn mower!

  27. Jason

    October 28, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I was at the FSU/UNC game last Thursday. It was a close game and there were people leaving at halftime…and most were gone by the start of the 4th.

    The weather is definitely killing us this year…along with no big home games. But, you can bet I am not leaving 'til the clock hits 0:00.

  28. appband

    October 28, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    To classof1977: I’ll be weeping right along with you but I hope those tears will be tears of JOY blurring the beautiful site of AE and our guys holding up National Championship Trophy #4 in Chatty!

  29. Ry_ATO

    October 28, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    So where does Armanti go in the NFL draft?

  30. Rick

    October 28, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    To the sophmore slump question. Gainey has respectable numbers but he has really struggled this season. He is a heckuva talent but he needs to keep improving.

    Unfortunately, Armanti will probably go 6th or 7th round as a WR prospect who someone will give a shot at QB in training camp. That is unless he puts up some ridiculous numbers at the combine.

  31. Carbine

    October 28, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Armanti's draft status will hinge greatly on his workouts with clubs before the draft. NFL scouts will want to see him run routes and catch passes, and try to get a feel for whether he might be projectable as a wide receiver. It's not that they won't be interested in his potential as a QB; but they'll want to hedge their bets.

  32. grudensucks

    October 28, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I’ll leave that username to someone else. I can only maintain so much mental capacity. However Herbstreit sucks. He should be mowing Armanti’s lawn.

  33. Carbine

    October 28, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Just looked up Tyler Thigpen's draft position for comparison. In 2007 he went to Minnesota in the seventh (last) round. I think Armanti would go higher than that, but it's way too early to say hom much higher.

  34. Jason

    October 28, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I bet the lawn mower looked worst than Armanti! Superman got a cut on his foot…the lawn mower was totalled!

  35. Kidd Brewer

    October 28, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Looks like it's "Gold Saturday" at Furman's "White Out"

  36. Charlie

    October 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    It wasn’t loud on black saturday ’cause half the people were gone before the start of the 3rd quarter.

  37. clayton

    October 29, 2009 at 2:04 am

    1. He seems to be healthier this year, lower number of carries has helped that.

    2. Maybe they'll be like the 2005 defense and be lights out in the playoffs.

    3. Special teams have gotten much better. Sam Martin has punted very well over the last 2 games, Vitaris has improved since The Citadel (which is why you want him kicking in overtime "confidence"), Coco is probably the best kick returner in the SoCon (even though he's like the worst football player ever), coverage hasn't been horrible.

    4. It seems like the sophomores are doing exactly what they did last year (except for Jorden but, he's been hurt). Gainey has made some mistakes and Quick started low and has been emerging lately.

    5. Early losses killed early excitment. I'm sticking to the 2005 comparison. We're getting better and better and we'll have a huge and loud crowd by the Western game. Sadly, smaller but still fairly loud crowds for the playoffs.

  38. Scott

    October 29, 2009 at 4:09 am

    I was at the FSU/UNC game as well. When it was still close it the 4th Q and the UNC offense had the ball, they couldn't get off their butts to support their team.
    I hope the Rock never becomes that complacent.

    Nice summary of the season at the midpoint! Your analysis is accurate.

  39. Gwaltineer

    October 29, 2009 at 4:09 am

    Special teams have really improved. That first punt against ECU made me thing we'd be in for a long year in that regards, but he's killing it. We also aren't allowing a lot of huge returns.
    I feel like this team is a National contender for the first time since we lost to McNeese. We are one of about 10 teams who have a real shot.

  40. Dan

    October 29, 2009 at 4:16 am

    Scott, sadly i'd say we've already started to have some of that element creep in to the stands. I'm going to start calling security over to throw out people who aren't cheering…

  41. Fleetwood App

    October 29, 2009 at 4:49 am

    (even though he’s like the worst football player ever), -Clayton speaking of CoCo

    Sarcasm…right?

  42. Jon

    October 29, 2009 at 5:28 am

    I know that the App/FU game is being shown locally in Asheville, but does anyone know if the game will be available through the NCAA GameDay pakage on satellite? The majority of TV games usually are.

  43. DRM

    October 29, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Coco is Clayton's brother. But sarcasm aside, Coco is far from the worst player ever; he's just not a consistently reliable third/fourth-down receiver.

    Nice (unintended, I assume) pun on Quick starting "low," however.

    Back (indirectly) to Coco. Someone explain, please, why most teams, including ours, use one guy to return punts, a different guy to return KOs. I've never known the reason for that.

  44. Dan

    October 29, 2009 at 8:32 am

    DRM, i have no idea either, but it may have a couple of benefits – reps for 2 players to hopefully get them to a point where they are pretty good at returning kicks, and then if 1 goes down with an injury, you've got someone else with experience at it. I also imagine if one of your returners is an important member of the O or D, having them only return punts or only kick offs limits the chances for them to get injured on Special Teams. Just my $0.02

  45. DRM

    October 29, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Maybe we should ask Coach. Or Saturday Evening Quarterback.

  46. clayton

    October 29, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I think we use different people for punt and kick returns because, our returners are our 2nd string QB and a starting wide receiver. Having Cadet or Coco do both would be putting a lot on their plates.

  47. Dan

    October 29, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    That's an explanation for us, but this seems to be a rather common thing for most teams. Not sure why it's so wide-spread. For instance the Panthers use 2 different guys, but both are down on the depth chart for their respective positions.

  48. clayton

    October 29, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    In the NFL there seems to be two different kinds of players that return kicks. One being the short but stout backup running back (Darren Sproles) the other being the undersized but, fast and elusive wide receiver (Dante Hall).

    Punt returners seem to only be the undersized but, fast and elusive wide receiver.

    I don't know why.

  49. Dan

    October 29, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    or defensive back.

  50. ceez

    October 29, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    I have been an ASU fan for my whole life. Legacy student and now an alumn. I've seen asu play marshall when I was a kid and was there for the miracle on the mountain. I am disgusted with the fan support this season. I will agree that the weather and the economy play a major role in the attendance but that is not an excuse for how quiet the crowd remains through the majority of the game. When asu was only putting 12000-15000 in the stadium it would still be deafening for the opposition. I blame a lot of the student section because it is a joke. When I was in school you were guaranteed to leave the game with a sore throat from yelling so loud and for so long. Could it be that the students who were here for the glory days are fading out? Is it because winning is expected? Is it because we don't have the defense that could actually stop a third and long? I don't know what the reason is, but I believe it is sad. Teams will no longer fear coming to the rock if we continue to be quiet. I hope that this can change around, but only time will tell. Ultimately the game is won and lost on the field but ask any player and they will tell you, having a stentorian crowd helps a lot.

  51. DRM

    October 30, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Stentorian. Good word! Just how many fan blogs could one visit to broaden or rekindle their vocabulary?

    Purely speculation, ceez, but I blame the weather more than the economy for our reduced numbers and reduced volume.

  52. ceez

    October 30, 2009 at 7:23 am

    I agree. Looking at the extended forecast (which in Boone means nothing) it appears we will finally have a sunny game day next week. I still refer back to my comment about the intensity level of the crowd. KBS used to have many empty seat pre-renovation era, and still the place was known for being loud.

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