#7 Appalachian State FCS Football 2012 Preview

Appalachian State Mountaineers

Overall Rank: #7
#2 Southern
Appalachian State FCS College Football 2012 Team Preview
Appalachian State Team Page


Appalachian State struggled to be consistent last season. Their conference losses were respectable, losing at Wofford and Furman, but the Mountaineers were in tough battles in just about every conference game. Those tough games could have prepared them for a playoff run, but instead the Mountaineers got upended by Maine, who lost in the following round to Appalachian State’s Southern Conference rival Georgia Southern. Coach Jerry Moore has built a great program in Boone, North Carolina, but that has created some unrealistic expectations. This is a group that can win a national championship and that is what the fans and program expect.

2011 Record: (8-4, 6-2)
2011 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Jerry Moore (207-83 at Appalachian State, 234-130-2 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Scott Satterfield
Defensive Coordinator: Dale Jones

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Steven Miller, RB, 380 yards
Passing: Jamal Jackson, QB, 2,001 yards
Receiving: Andrew Peacock, WR, 564 yards
Tackles: Jeremy Kimbrough, LB, 105
Sacks: Jeremy Kimbrough, LB, 4.0; John Rizor, LB, 4.0
Interceptions: Demetrius McCray, CB, 5

Other Key Returnees: C Alex Acey, DE Ronald Blair, S Patrick Blalock, LB Brandon Grier, OT Kendall Lamm, DE Deuce Robinson, S Troy Sanders, CB Rodger Walker, WR Tony Washington

Key Losses: RB Travaris Cadet, OT Orry Frye, G Sherman Holt, TE Ben Jorden, S Dominique McDuffie, WR Brian Quick, G Matt Ruff, DT Dan Wylie

The defense returns nine starters to a unit that was very young and inexperienced. The fact that ends Deuce Robinson and Ronald Blair were starters as freshmen goes to show just how desperate Appalachian State was at some positions last year. Robinson and Blair certainly earned their starting roles and played very well, but the Mountaineers made too many mistakes on defense. But those two are now sophomores and have a year of starting experience under their belt. Blair tallied 3.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles-for-loss last season and was a big reason why Appalachian State ranked second in the conference in rush defense. However, departed tackle Dan Wylie was a big reason for their success against the run as well and he will likely be replaced by a freshman. But a great group of linebackers will pick up the slack should the line struggle. Jeremy Kimbrough is a great tackler in the middle of the defense and John Rizor can get into the backfield and make things happen. Appalachian State ranked third in the conference with two sacks per contest and they should be better this year. If that pressure remains consistent, the secondary will take advantage of their opportunities to make big plays. Cornerback Demetrius McCray picked off five passes last year, while fellow corner Rodger Walker added four. Walker will be pushed by sophomore Joel Ross, who has had a superb offseason. With experienced safeties like Troy Sanders and Patrick Blalock, and some emerging talent like Doug Middleton, the secondary will be much better this time around.

Jamal Jackson passed for 2,001 yards and 15 touchdowns and added seven more scores on the ground. And he did not even begin the season as the starting quarterback. Unseating DeAndre Presley was not an easy task, but Jackson managed to be more efficient in the pocket and just as effective on the ground. However, Jackson will be without much of his help that made him such a great quarterback in 2011. Brian Quick, who got drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft, caught 71 passes for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns during final season with the Mountaineers. Andrew Peacock and Tony Washington are fine receivers, but it will be a while before another Quick shows up on campus. The running back situation is a little muddled as well after three-year starter Travaris Cadet graduated. Steven Miller is next in line and has plenty of experience, yet it remains to be seen if he can carry the load or if there is enough depth behind him to help out. With three starters gone from the offensive line, the ground game may struggle anyway. Center Alex Acey and tackle Kendall Lamm were both thrown into the mix as freshmen and did well, but suddenly they are the experienced players on the line.

The Bottom Line:
It will likely be the play of the offensive line that determines how far this team goes. There is plenty of potential, but the two-deep is littered with underclassmen. They may be able to make it through the regular season while the line grows up, but by playoff time they better not be playing like underclassmen or it will be another short postseason trip for Appalachian State.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 155.83 (55th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 234.42 (37, 2)
Total Offense: 390.25 (38, 4)
Scoring Offense: 28.67 (38, 3)
Rushing Defense: 149.42 (56, 2)
Pass Defense: 203.92 (54, 8)
Total Defense: 353.33 (53, 5)
Scoring Defense: 23.83 (41, 4)
Turnover Margin: .25 (44, 4)
Sacks: 2.00 (56, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.42 (34, 5)

Madness 2012 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#15 Tysean Holloway
#18 Darian Small
#34 Dante Blackmon
#49 Jamie Collmar
#67 John Law
#70 Barrett Burns
#100 Aaron Krah