Head Coach: Scott Satterfield, 1st Year
Location: Boone, North Carolina
Date: Nov. 9
2012 Record: 8-3 overall, 6-2 Southern Conference with a transfer to Sun Belt forthcoming
SB Nation Affiliate: None
In their final year in the Southern Conference, App State has a brand new head coach in Scott Satterfield. Coach Satterfield takes over the job after the retirement of long time App State coach Jerry Moore. Appalachian State is home for Coach Satterfield he was the QB from 1991 to 1995, assistant coach from 1998 to 2008 and returned in 2012 as Offensive Coordinator. The three years he was away from Boone he spent as assistant in Toledo (2009) and Offensive Coordinator at Florida International (2010 - 2011.)
Because they are transferring conferences, ASU is ineligible for the SoCon championship. But the transfer seems to have served them well with recruiting as they signed nothing less than a two-star recruit in the 2013 class. They picked up Georgia's Gatorate State Player of the Year in quarterback Taylor Lamb, son of Furman head coach Bobby Lamb. Many of these new recruits may see playing time this year.
Georgia will come into this game either incredibly high or incredibly low depending on how things go with the Cocktail Party the week before. Our emotional state could impact our performance. We're also late in what is arguably the toughest schedule in the nation and may be physically beaten up.
Offense: One can reasonably assume Coach Satterfield will leave the no-huddle spread offense in place. His predecessor and likely mentor Coach Moore is one of five coaches who took the run & shoot variety and used it to great success over the years. Coach Moore took the Mountaineers to three straight national titles in Div I-AA football. This is the same offense that upset then #5 Michigan in 2007.
Last year they were ranked 9th in total offense and scoring. They return 10 of their 11 starts from last year including Senior Quarterback Jamal Londry-Jackson. Londry-Jackson is also preseason Offensive Player of the Year which makes perfect sense given that he's passed for 5,423 yards in 19 starts. Senior Tony Washington and Sophomore Sean Price make a great receiving tandem. Both are preseason All-Americans and between them they had 120 catches for 1,668 yards and 8 touchdowns last year.
The Mountaineers still plan to run the ball, but the top candidate is Sophomore Ricky Fergeson who had only five carries last year. If Fergeson stumbles, there are a couple of different guys waiting in the wings and hoping for a shot. Incoming freshman Marcus Cox is one option. He played both running back and wide receiver in high school. At about 190 lbs, he's a very versatile back and gives the Mountaineers a number of options.
Given the experience returning, we can expect a solid offensive effort from the Mountaineers. We don't see the spread offense in the SEC very often, but we will be seeing it the following week at Auburn, so this will make a great opportunity for the team.
Defense: New defensive coordinator Nate Woody has installed a 3-4 alignment. As we learned a few short years ago, it can take a little time to adjust to a new defensive scheme. Word is Coach Woody has asked some players to lose some pounds during the offseason to allow for a quicker defense. The May depth chart still shows a defensive line made up mostly of Juniors and Seniors. Starting Nose Tackle is expected to be Sophomore Thomas Bronson (6-3, 275 lbs.) He's an awful lot smaller than former Alabama player Mount Cody who weighed roughly 360 lbs. Seniors Michael Frazier & Patrick Blalock are expected to start at Outside Linebacker with Junior Brandon McGowan and Freshman John Law expected to start at Inside Linebacker. None of whom are listed as either starting or back up on the Dec 1, 2012 depth chart even though the Mountaineers had only 6 seniors listed. In short, this is a completely new defensive scheme with completely new players in it.
If the planned starters don't make the grade, the 2013 recruiting class may get playing time. From the 2013 recruiting class, Coach Woody has middle linebacker Nathaniel Norwood. Norwood was productive as a senior racking up 124 tackles, 16.5 sacks and 63 hurries. He was the division 6-A Defensive Player of the year and played for a state championship. Joining Norwood in Boone are Kennan Gilchrist & George Vinson. Gilchrist stands 6-1 and reportedly weighs 182 lbs. He played Safety at Abbeville HS who went 11-3 in his Senior outing. Gilchrist contributed 130 tackles, 9 sacks and two forced fumbles. Vinson (5-11, 205 lbs) played Outside Linebacker in Damascus MD where he contributed 93 tackles and 5 sacks during his senior season. Both Gilchrist and Vinson are quick versatile players we need to be watching.
Even with the transition, aggressiveness and intensity seems to be the Mountaineers focus. This year's team motto is "Always Attack."
Special Teams: ASU's starting kicker is Senior Drew Stewart who's averaged 70% in the last two seasons but the starting punter is expected to be Freshman Zach Matics. Combined, this is probably a positive, but it's not far from net sum zero.
Preseason prediction by SEC journalists who are almost never wrong: The Macon Telegraph calls this game "A second break in the schedule before entering the stretch run" and predicts 56-7 Georgia.
Podunkdawg's prediction: App State's spread offense is likely to score more than 7 points. It's the more solid part of their game. With a new Defensive scheme and new starters for the Mountaineers, I expect a high scoring game on both sides of the ball. CMR won't try to hang half a hundred, but the Bulldogs will hang tough and we'll end up 56-21 Georgia.