App State opens its inaugural FBS season at the Big House in less than a week! Last time the Mountaineers and Wolverines tangled, a packed house of 109,208 witnessed the All-Time Upset!
Expected crowd for the 2014 rematch? Uh, not so many.
It’s come to this – Michigan is hocking tickets on …. Living Social?
We shant mock, simply because we wonder about attendance at The Rock this season.
For the first time that we can remember, the mothership hasn’t produced any articles hyping attendance at the recent Fan Fest or season tickets sales. There’s also the odd nature of three season tickets types – full, half and flex (aka. a la carte).
We aren’t snarking. Do what ya gotta do to sell tickets. Especially considering that, for the first time in school history, every home game will be available on a small screen near you – “As part of that relationship, all six App State football home games are currently slated to appear on an ESPN outlet this season (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews or ESPN3).”
In the age of man caves and HD home television, what kinda hit, if any, will App State take on home attendance? Drop $100 and a day traveling from Charlotte to sit among +20,000, or take three hours to watch App-Campbell in your living room chair with no line at the restroom?
“Minor” – “Cox, a sophomore who led the Mountaineers in rushing last season, had surgery on his meniscus last week, and has not practiced all this week. Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield said the surgery was minor and did not rule out the possibility that Cox could play in the Aug. 30 game against Michigan. “We hope so,” Satterfield said. Terrance Upshaw is up next on the depth chart if Cox can’t play.” App State has long tradition of playing Belichick with injuries, but missing a week of practice ain’t the most optimistic of details.
RIP – “On August 15, 2014, the Lord welcomed Ned Reeves Trivette home. Dougherty’s untimely death in 1964 placed Ned in a position of responsibility for the fiscal and physical affairs of Appalachian. For the next 25 years, Ned helped facilitate the transformation of a teacher’s college into a university of more than 11,000 students. After serving the University for over thirty years, the administration announced that the new food services building on the west side of campus overlooking the scenic Duck Pond would be named Ned and Maxine Trivette Hall.”
Meanwhile, at Liberty. “”They have a lot of resources, but does anybody even know they’re Division I?” the person said.”
How to go winless. “Well, when you walk into the locker room and you have a senior who’s on the cellphone five minutes before you’re supposed to go onto the field before the game, laughing and talking, you know: Maybe it’s time to move on.”
Jerry Moore, then-Appalachian State coach: “Most of the people refer to games like that as money games … but every once in awhile, I’ll stumble around and say something that’s got some substance to it and, from that time on, I referred to it as an opportunity game.”
Ryan Van Bergen, U-M true freshman defensive lineman: “Anyone that told you they thought we had a chance at losing that game is lying. There wasn’t anyone on that team that thought we even had a remote chance of losing.”
Jenny McCoy, U-M freshman fan: “All anyone talked about was how good Michigan was and how it was going to be the best season ever, and everyone thought it was going be a big deal, and I remember how quickly things turned.”
Rauch: “We got there the day before, had a walkthrough, and coach (Moore) made a quick point. ‘Guys, this is Michigan. It’s a great place, but all it is more concrete around their field than our field.’ He downplayed it as much as possible.”
Dexter Jackson: “I knew it was really big after I scored the first touchdown and (fellow receiver Hans Batichon) ran up to me and said, ‘You just scored on Michigan.’
Brandon Graham, U-M defensive lineman: “I remember the quarterback talking a little bit. Because I used to always say, ‘I’m about to come get you.’ And he was like, ‘Ain’t no fat boy coming to catch me.’”
Cobb’s salary will be $300,000 with potential bonuses for academic and athletic achievements. He signed a five-year contract with an option for an additional two years.
“Charlie Cobb is a proven program builder and winner,” Becker said. “He has a remarkable record of achievement at Appalachian State, and I look forward to working with him to take our athletic programs to new heights in Atlanta and in the Sun Belt Conference.”
“It is with mixed emotions that I accept the resignation of athletic director Charlie Cobb who has accepted the position of director of athletics for Georgia State University beginning this fall,” Appalachian State Chancellor Dr. Sheri N. Everts said. “While I wish Charlie the best in his new endeavor, his leadership and collegiality will be missed at Appalachian.”
It’s no secret Cobb’s been wanting to leave. We have no insights as to why. But we imagine new AD will have a helluva long honeymoon period.
According to ESPN, 12 Mountaineers are on a roster as of today. We could see one tonight! Colts (Washington), 49ers (Kilgore), and Redskins (Kimbrough) all have games scheduled. Friday night the Panthers (Smith and DP), Jaguars (McCray), Bears (AE), Saints (Cadet) and Rams (Quick) all play. Lions (App State North) in action Saturday.
It’s well established that, for the past few seasons, App State has lost a lot of ground in its ground game.
Last year the team averaged just 138 rushing yards and 35.7 rushing attempts a game, both stats the fewest since 2004. And more than half – 57 percent – of the team’s carries were by one man, then-freshman Marcus Cox.
QB Kam Bryant had another 91 attempts, one fewer than the rest of the team, combined.
Fixing that issue involves two components. The simplest is finding someone else to run the ball. Enter one Terrence Upshaw, a 5-10, 200-pound redshirt freshman Coach Satterfield believes “can be just as good as Marcus.”
And, like Cox — who caught 43 passes for 559 yards — Upshaw is a capable receiver.
“During spring practices we got a good taste of what Upshaw could do,” said Dwayne Ledford, the Mountaineers’ co-offensive coordinator. “And we saw it all last year when he was on the scout team. We feel like we’ve got backs now where we can have a 1-2 punch.”
Runners are slotted, now comes the hard part – successfully executed schemes creating running opportunities. That’s a tad bit more difficult.
Much is being made of the stats behind the 2014 O-line – five returning starters with 145 combined starts making them, in Coach Statt’s words, “the most experienced offensive-line group in all of FBS.”
Yet one number comes to mind – 67. That’s how many rushing yards App State earned in its .. /deep sigh .. home losses to both .. /deeper sigh … NC A&T and Samford. The former was the second game of the season, the latter game No. 6.
The upcoming season will have App State’s front five bumping up against bigger, faster and deeper defenses than in the past. Last season three Sun Belt teams allowed fewer than 160 rushing yards a game; no team in the SoCon was as stout.
The 2014 schedule offers a special testing ground. The back-to-back Michigan-Campbell series will feature a Paul Bunyan-sized swing in opposing talent levels.
The Wolverines will boast a DL averaging about 6-4, 289 pounds. Last year the Camels had only one starting lineman over 265, and only one over 6-3.
“We want to be able to run the football when everybody knows we’re going to run it. You go back and look at the mark of a lot our great teams, and you’ll find that when we had to run the ball and get first downs, we were able to do that. We’ve got to be able to do that.”
Coming soon, college minor league football – “The NCAA DI board of directors is expected to vote Thursday to approve more autonomy and policy-making authority for the nation’s five most high-profile athletic conferences. The so-called “Power 5” – the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 – could unilaterally approve measures those 65 schools consider beneficial for their athletes such as financial stipends to cover the full cost of college attendance beyond athletic scholarships.”
SHOUTOUT. A writer at Forbes lists winner and losers of the new professional minor league. Among the, uh, “winners” –
The Fans. The Big 5 are likely to schedule more games amongst themselves, reducing the directional schools like a Southwest Alaska State. Why? If you’re trying to win a national championship or make a 4-team playoff, you can’t lose a game to an Appalachian State. So just don’t play them. When ESPN polled the 65 Big 5 coaches more of them preferred only playing their own than those who wanted to continue playing non-Big 5 conferences. The poll results were 46% for Big 5 scheduling exclusivity, 35% opposed, and 18.5 percent undecided. I suspect fans prefer the marquee matchups.
The losers are obviously everyone not associated with the Big 5. How are non-5 schools going to compete with the greater TV exposure of the Top-5 matchups when they cannot compete in the games to show their stuff? How can those coaches convince top recruits to attend if they are not offering the full cost of attendance, health benefits, personnel contact and flexible practice hours? It was difficult before. Now it will be virtually impossible.
Two of the most prolific receivers in App State history are gone. New targets are needed.
And there are plenty from which to choose, primarily among newcomers.
Six freshmen and one junior transfer are in the mix to become the perhaps three to five players who will provide an immediate impact at receiver this season.
Juniors Malachi Jones and Simms McElfresh are the only returning receivers who have started multiple games for a Spread offense that often starts four receivers.
The new receivers are freshmen Mykelti Armstrong, Jaylan Barbour, Deltron Hopkins, Isaiah Lewis, Shaedon Meadors and Jordan Noil, and junior transfer Montez McGuire.
“We’re going to travel (with) at least eight receivers, so there’s plenty of opportunity,” Coach Scott Satterfield of the Mountaineers said. “There’s some big-time competition going on in that receiver room right now. It’s a young bunch, and whoever picks it up mentally will be the ones that get to travel.
Their learning curve may be a bit steeper than in the past. Cause App State is heavily dependent on its pass attack.
Last year the Mountaineers generated 66 percent of their yardage through the air. At least seven caught more than 20 passes; three caught more than 40. And there were almost as many passing TDs (16) as rushing (18).
All that production was needed to offset what has become a lethargic ground game. App State averaged just 35.7 rushing attempts last season, the fewest since 2004 (34.5) and the fourth consecutive year that number declined (was 42.1 in 2010).
Color that against the nature of the new neighborhood, which is more pass happy than the old.
Last season, seven of the eight Sun Belt teams averaged more than 200 yards a game; four went for more than 250.
In the SoCon, only four teams broke 200 yards in the air, and only two notched more than 250 a contest.
On an individual level, six Sun Belt QBs threw for more than 200 yards a game. Only three SoConers surpassed that mark.
Of course, Mountaineer Kam Bryant was one. The then-sophomore threw for 226 yards a game with a sizzling 71.2 percent completion rate.
He’s gonna need some new targets. And they have just 24 days to prepare.
Keeps him warm – “And here you are at Wofford, formerly one of Appalachian State’s biggest Southern Conference rivals. That’s like holding training camp at Butler. “I hate Wofford,” Smith says. “I hate Furman.”’ That it? “No,” Smith says. “I really hate Georgia Southern.”” Panthers open preseason in Charlotte Friday against the Bills.
Aug. 30 - at Michigan, noon ESPN2
Sept. 6 - Campbell, 6 p.m. ESPN3
Sept. 13 - OPEN
Sept. 20 - at Southern Miss, 7 p.m. ASN
Sept. 25 - at Ga Southern, 7:30 p.m. ESPNU
Oct. 4 - South Alabama
Oct. 11 - Liberty
Oct. 18 - at Troy
Oct. 25 - OPEN
Nov. 1 - Georgia State
Nov. 8 - Louisiana-Monroe
Nov. 15 - at Arkansas State, 3 p.m. EST
Nov. 22 - at La-LaFayette
Nov. 29 - Idaho
2015 Football Scheduled Opponents
Sept. 5 - Howard
Sept. 12 - at Clemson
Sept. 19 - Southern Miss
Sept. 26 - at Old Dominion
Expected Sun Belt home games* - Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Troy, and UL Lafayette. Expected Sun Belt away games* - Georgia State, Idaho, South Alabama, and Louisiana-Monroe.
*Based on conference remaining at 11 teams
2013 Football Schedule
Aug. 31 - at Montana, 30-6, L
Sept. 7 - NC A&T, 24-21, L
Sept. 14 - OPEN
Sept. 21 - at Elon, 31-21, W
Sept. 28 - Charleston Southern, 27-24, L
Oct. 5 - at The Citadel, 31-28, L
Oct. 12 - Samford, 34-10, L
Oct. 19 - at Furman, 27-10, L
Oct. 26 - Ga. Southern, 38-14, W
Nov. 2 - 'Nooga, 35-28, L
Nov. 9 - at Georgia, 45-6, L
Nov. 16 - at Wofford, 33-21, W
Nov. 23 - 'Whee, 48-27, W