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A Casual Affair

Photo by Dave Mayo.

This is just how it going to be, folks. No easy wins. No garbage time for the kids to get some game reps. No, as your blogger likes to call them, old-school Mountaineer beatdowns.

It’s not that App State isn’t good or talented or, just maybe, the true class of the Sun Belt. It’s not that, if the Mountaineers and Arkansas State got a chance to settle this thing, you know, on the field, that App State wouldn’t put four quarters togethers and find a way to beat the Red Wolves.

It’s just that this ASU team seems to get off on casually playing with its food before using its big mountain muscles to finally subdue its victim and sink its superior claws and teeth in the flesh of some #FunBelt also-ran.

Texas State. Idaho (YOU da ho!). And, now, Coastal Carolina, a team that’s still transitioning and is still more FCS than FB$.

It was clear since Week 2 or so that New Mexico State had gotten much better, so that was an early Sun Belt title race elimination game. A thriller at 3,333 feet. No real reason to worry there. But the rest? Inferior animals in the FB$ jungle that the ‘Neers toyed with, provided false – but dangerous – hope, and played down to before getting serious late and doing away with its prey with decisive blow after decisive blow.

The law of averages seems to suggest this can’t last, that the Mountaineers are going to get too far behind or make a few more mistakes one day, and a Shawn Elliot-coached Georgia State or a team from Louisiana – or, dare we suggest it, even high-scoring UMass is going to upset the often-disinterested sleepwalkers from Boone.

(More on the Minutemen later this week, but just note they put up 55 and 50 points in their last two games. Coastal just scored 29 at Les Rouche and NMSU put up 31 a few weeks back…)

App State is playing a dangerous game here. And we’ve heard it before: These are 19- and 20- and 21-year-old kids. And they’re Millennials, which we’re told might not believe in that whole “killer instinct” concept. Your blogger is not a shrink, or even a sociologist (which is, somehow, a real profession that pays money.)

But this is not just about the players. Oh, no. If it were, that would be easier to fix. Line ‘em up and run some sprints. “On the line!” followed by that savage whistle and the burning of lungs and muscles has a way of improving behavior, we’re told.

This casual mindset starts with the coaching staff. And it goes all the way to the top: Coach Satterfield Visor.

There are two definitions of casual that apply to this team and the 2017 version of the Man Beneath The Visor:

  1. “relaxed and unconcerned.”

  2. “done or acting without sufficient care or thoroughness.”

There are plenty of examples of Satt’s fast-and-loose approach just from Saturday’s too-close-for-comfort win over transitioning Coastal. But one play stands alone when discussing Satterfield’s recklessness:

1st and 10 at APP 47

(7:06 – 3rd) Jalen Virgil 53 Yd pass from Taylor Lamb (Two-Point Run Conversion Failed)

Not the play call that saw the over Jalen, Virgil, sprint to the end zone. The next one: Satterfield went all Mad Scientist and spread out the PAT unit for a two-point conversion run by Taylor Lamb Jalin Moore Marcus Williams Jr. Ike Lewis Jalen Virgil Clifton Duck Michael Rubino.

Rubino is THE DAMN KICKER!

/Takes a deep breath. Tries to calm down. Wonders if 10:42 a.m. is too early for a drink…/

Rubino did something that resembled, maybe, a little, a stutter step. Then he thrown to the ground by a CCU defender. There was zero chance it was going to work, and it wasn’t even an exotic scheme that called for Rubino to throw it backward to another App to try and throw it to a third App in the black. It was just THE KICKER trying to run it in.

/Rubs temples again…/

Turns out Satt didn’t need the point he decided to take a flamethrower to. But. That game could have played out 10 different ways, and under each scenario, the ‘Neers could have lost by a point or been down four in FG range – [insert understandable anti-Rubio quip here, kid misses a lot of kicks…] – but unable to get a TD to win it.

App might just be talented enough to play disinterested for two or three quarters and still finish 10-2 with a perfect #FunBelt record and half the conference title trophy. But this blogger is fairly confident they cannot play casual AND careless and do so.

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: A Casual Affair | AppStateNews

  2. MadDog

    October 25, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    Special Teams look sick and can't be counted on.

  3. MadDog

    October 25, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Kicking has been a problem and cost (or almost cost) too many games. SS needs to grow a pair and find a Special Teams coach that can fix the problem.

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