App State regroups during bye week
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
The bye week comes at a good time for the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Appalachian State is taking advantage of the open week to regroup following its 24-21 loss to North Carolina A&T on Saturday. It seems that everything is one the table over the next few weeks, including starting positions.
Head coach Scott Satterfield said that there is always competition for starting positions. This week, one of those positions is quarterback. Current starter Jamal Londry-Jackson has been inconsistent in both of his starts, having led the Mountaineers to just one touchdown drive in two games.
"Competition is open for all positions," Satterfield said on the Southern Conference call Tuesday. "Kam has practiced well and has outplayed Jamal. We look at all the positions hard and it is open. Jamal has been our guy, but you can't deny Kam has sparked the offense and played well. We'll put the best player on the field and that's who we're going to go with."
Londry-Jackson engineered a game-opening, 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped with a touchdown pass to running back Marcus Cox against North Carolina A&T. But it would be the last time Londry-Jackson would guide the Mountaineers to the end zone. Five of his next possessions would end in punts. Two others ended in interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown.
Bryant, who started the second half, saw three of his first four drives end in punts. Another ended on downs after the Mountaineers ran eight plays in the drive.
Bryant finally reached the end zone with 2:48 left in the game after an 11-play, 65-yard drive on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Barrett Burns.
The Mountaineers added another touchdown when Marcus Cox caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Bryant with 24 seconds to go in the game, which brought App State within 24-21. The Mountaineers got the ball back on an onside kick, but missed a 46-yard field goal with seven seconds left.
Satterfield said Jackson's injured knee from 2012 is healthy, but there may be some lingering mental effects dating back to spring workouts.
"He's pretty good health-wise," Satterfield said. "The biggest thing for him is the mental thing of overcoming a knee injury. He missed time during spring practice and was limited during August camp. Sometimes when you get hurt, there's a mental part of it. He's been able to make plays with his legs in the past and he's not able to do that as much now."
Satterfield said another thing that has slowed the Mountaineers' offense is the lack of big plays. He said that the Mountaineers had some deep pass plays, but two of them were underthrown and two others was overthrown.
One of those underthrown passes was a Londry-Jackson offering that N.C. A&T's D'Vonte Grant intercepted and returned 57 yards for a touchdown just four seconds before halftime.
"We underthrow a couple and overthrew a couple. Had we hit them, the outcome would have been different," Satterfield said. "We had 380 yards in offense and he we hit one or two of them, we're closer to 500 yards."
Despite all that went wrong on Saturday, Satterfield was happy that the Mountaineers rallied and had a chance to win the game at the end.
"The good thing about it is we played until the end and had an opportunity to kick a 46-yard field goal to tie the thing," Satterfield said. "We've got to stay positive and keep working and we'll get better."