Only once in two weeks has weather forced Appalachian State indoors for a spring practice and the Mountaineers enjoyed a heated practice session, literally and figuratively, as they cross the halfway mark of 2017 spring camp.
Younger player reps and depth development remained front and center, though there were explosive plays on both sides of the ball from proven veterans. But, the youngsters made their presence felt in several instances, as well.
Among the offensive standouts today were:
- Starting running back Jalin Moore got limited carries but still broke a 22-yarder late in the scrimmage and had 24 yards on three carries.
- Fellow ball-carriers Terrence Upshaw and Marcus Williams were the workhorses. Upshaw powered through arm-tackles and converted a tough fourth-and-two carry, finishing with nine carries for 54 yards. Williams also ran hard inside the tackles with eight carries for 34 yards and a red-zone touchdown.
- Quarterback play was what one might expect – solid from starter Taylor Lamb and exciting but inconsistent from young backups. Lamb was a very controlled 4-6 for 20 yards in taking what the defense allowed. Redshirt freshman Jacob Huesman seems to have assumed the back-up spot, at least for now, and was just 2-9 but did hit the play of the day, a 37-yard completion to Dante Jones, which led to a red-zone touchdown. Fellow second-year freshman Zac Thomas was 1-3 for 15 yards and showed his versatility in extending plays and escaping pressure with his legs.
It’s certainly worth noting that every quarterback had to deal with relentless pressure from the Mountaineer defense, which generated seven quarterback-hurries and five sacks in 50 snaps.
- In addition to Jones’ 37-yard reception he also turned a screen into a 15-yard gain. He was joined by tight end Collin Reed as a primary option. Reed was a frequent target (four total) who caught two balls for eight yards. He also broke open down the seam in the secondary but was overthrown by Huesman.
Defensively, there were a number of playmakers, from among both veterans and newer names.
- Up front, Myquon Stout created problems throughout the scrimmage for the offensive line, creating pressure that often opened other lanes for his teammates to make plays. Redshirt sophomores Akeem Davis and Brody Barrett both recorded two sacks and a quarterback-hurry, and fellow classmate Devin Papenheim had a sack in his first scrimmage activity of spring. Redshirt freshman nose tackle Baer Hunter also blew up a screen in the backfield.
- Among the linebackers, senior star Eric Boggs had the hit of the day, blasting QB Zac Thomas as Thomas scrambled towards a first-down. Credit Thomas for taking on the hit rather than slide, but next time it might be good to slide. All the inside linebackers were productive in recording tackles, but redshirt freshman Jordan Fehr found his way into the backfield for two tackles-for-loss.
- With Devan Stringer sitting out the session due to injury, Jeremy Level moved down from strong safety to join Akeem Davis at the Anchor Outside Linebacker spot and even got some reps behind Rashaad Townes at Dog OLB, as well. Newly named Co-Defensive Coordinator Scot Sloan discusses spring-ball experimentation, with the use of multiple safeties on the field, in our post-practice audio.
- In the secondary, pass coverage benefited from intense pass-rush pressure up front. Cornerback Tae Hayes intercepted one pass and had another sure pick bounce off his hands. Multiple secondary players got their hands on throws during the session, again, most often with quarterbacks under duress.
Early practice special teams work saw placekicker Michael Rubino go four-for-four on field goals from 30, 35, 42, and 48 yards.
In exclusive App State Mania audio, Head Coach Scott Satterfield, Inside Linebacker Coach Dale Jones, Running Back Coach Stu Holt, and Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Scot Sloan (who now has the most crowded business card on the staff) share thoughts as App State heads into the downhill run of spring practices.
HALFWAY SPRING CAMP POSTPRACTICE AUDIO
HEAD COACH SCOTT SATTERFIELD
INSIDE LINEBACKER COACH DALE JONES
RUNING BACK COACH STU HOLT
CO-DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR & SECONDARY COACH SCOT SLOAN