As Appalachian State, Boone and the High Country await the first ever Power 5 football conference school to arrive, here’s a couple of items of note leading up to Saturday’s game.
Hurricane Coach Mark Richt is no stranger to the Appalachian State program, as the Mountainners faced Richt and his Georgia Bulldogs in 2013. Richt’s sister played volleyball at Appalachian from 1985-86. Coach Richt is also familiar with current AppState QB Taylor Lamb, as you will see in his statement below.
For information on the Friday night pep rally visit this link. The pre-game press conference from Appalachian Head Coach Scott Satterfield is available here. Additions and more game day details available here. With an expected record crowd, motorists are highly urged to ALLOW PLENTY OF EXTRA TRAVEL TIME around Boone and the AppState campus on Saturday. Kickoff is noon, with the game also available on ESPN.
*Mark Richt Statement On Appalachian State. Transcript courtesy of StateOfTheU.com*
“Good afternoon everybody. I appreciate you being here. Talking a little bit about Appalachian State. First off, Coach Satterfield, my hats off to you. Some great coaching going on. It starts with recruiting – they got guys who can really play the game of football. They play with high energy. The defense plays tremendous fundamental football. They are great tacklers. They do a great job in coverage. They’re really not a team that is trying to fool you with what they do. It’s a sign of a good team, one that lines up and does what they do, and does it so well that people really struggle with it. They’ve done a tremendous job stopping people. They have an outstanding bunch of guys. They have eight returning starters on defense back, and I know their two middle linebackers have played side-by-side, I think, for as many as 30 games together. Just a bunch of guys who have been to war – a lot of different battles in a lot of different venues. For them to be home, and us go there, and the excitement I know that’s drawing, from what I understand, it has got to be a huge day for their program. I can’t imagine them not being super hyped, ready to go. You see that on film regardless of who they’re playing and where they’re playing them – just another sign of a well-coached team.”
“Offensively, they’re going to run the ball. I think they were second or third in the nation in rushing yards per game. Taylor Lamb is a young man I know through his grandfather, Mosley, who worked for me at Georgia for years. I love that family, and he’s a typical coach’s son playing the quarterback position. He doesn’t make mistakes, he gets them in the right place, he’s tough mentally and tough physically. He runs the ball well, throws the ball well…first-team All-Sun Belt preseason guy, and deservedly so. Their running back, [Marcus] Cox, last two games over 100 yards apiece. As a matter of fact, a year ago, I think he had 100 against Clemson and might have been the only back to have 100 against Clemson last year. He’s got some crazy numbers. Just a super player, as well. Their offensive line, most of them have been around. They do have a left tackle who is starting as a freshman in Victor Johnson. The rest of them have been around a good bit…three of them have started at least 22 games, so a lot of guys with experience. Big, tough physical guys that know how to come off the football. That first play against Tennessee, I saw their center and guard double-team the nose guard and a linebacker from Tennessee right off the sideline. If you saw the tape, you could just see they were ready to play and get after it. If you get your pads up at all, they’re going to forklift you right out of bounds. They have a veteran tight end coming back in [Barrett] Burns, an honorable mention Sun Belt player, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound junior and a guy that plays big for them. All their receivers do a great job of blocking and route-running. Deltron Hopkins is a Booker T Washington product, and they use him a lot on speed sweeps and things of that nature. He’s a guy that has a lot of speed and a lot of ability.
“In the kicking game, their place kicker is a freshman. He’s brand new. He’s 1-for-2 for field goal. He made a 20-yarder, a little chip shot. He does not kick off, their punter does that. [Bentlee] Critcher, he’s averaging 38 yards per punt, but on kickoffs he has knocked 6 out of 9 out of the end zone, non-returnable kicks. So a really strong leg. Their kick and punt return man is the same – it’s [Jaquil] Capel… he’s got five returns for 74 yards, almost 15-yard average on the kickoff, and averaged 10 yards on returning the punts.
“We definitely got out work cut out for us. Everything seems to be escalating game by game, which is pretty typical. We know it’s going to be a battle, plain and simple.”