ASU opens fall camp
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
They've done 6 a.m., conditioning and they've done the usual weightlifting. The quarterbacks have worked with receivers on their timing, and upperclassmen worked with incoming freshmen just to get them ready for Thursday.
The Mountaineers get a chance show how ready they are to start the 2012 season when they report to fall camp today to meet with coaches and get equipment.
Thursday afternoon, practice begins.
“I'm anxious to see what kind of condition they're in,” Mountaineers coach Jerry Moore said. “I'm anxious to see what kind of retention the offense has had from the spring, though we haven't changed a lot.”
Appalachian State got an unexpected change Tuesday when “bandit” linebacker John Rizor was dismissed from the team for violating team rules. Backup quarterback Kalik Barnes was suspended from games for the entire 2012 season, also for violating team rules, but will be allowed to practice.
The Mountaineers will practice in shorts and helmets the first two days. They'll add shoulder pads for another two days, including Sunday, before finally being allowed full contact on the fifth day.
“We started (practicing on Sunday) because we like to give them off the weekend before our season starts,” Moore said.
That day is Sept. 1 at East Carolina. One week later, the Mountaineers take on traditional FCS power Montana, followed by a Sept. 15 home game against Southern Conference rival The Citadel.
Moore likes the idea of taking on two challenging teams early in the season.
“That's a good thing. I don't remember ever shying away from anybody,” Moore said. “We play anybody and I think you better not be loading your gun by the middle of the season for a battle when the fight's going on. There isn't anybody who doesn't know what we're facing. We've got to be third-fourth-or fifth-game ready to face East Carolina. We don't get any prep time. We have to be ready, and the same holds true for Montana. Then we face a scrappy team in The Citadel, which is waiting around.”
The Mountaineers return eight defensive starters from their 2011 edition that finished 8-4. Appalachian State beat No. 1 Georgia Southern 24-17 during the regular season, but lost 34-12 to Maine in the FCS playoffs.
There are more changes than just losing Rizor and Barnes. Appalachian State brought in seven assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Scott Satterfield.
“Those guys know a little more about things now.,” Moore said. “They know our personnel and they know we have the players in their positions and things like that. We're not allowed to look at them right now, but they know who belongs at what positions.”
Appalachian State also brought in a recruiting class that Moore is excited to see. He said a few could find their way into the starting lineup this year.
“That's the reason you recruit 'em,” Moore said. “They're talented and good. I don't have any reservations with any of them.”
Offensively, ASU returns starting quarterback Jamal Jackson, receivers Tony Washington and Andrew Peacock, and running back Steven Miller. Running back Rod Chisholm, who missed last season for academic reasons, also returns.
A pair of All-Americans, linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough and cornerback Demetrius McCray, lead the Mountaineers' defense.
Appalachian State's defense also returns linebacker Brandon Greer and defensive backs Doug Middleton, Troy Sanders, Patrick Blalock, Joel Ross and Rodger Walker, giving ASU a solid foundation.