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Originally published: 2013-02-01 23:44:15
Last modified: 2013-02-01 23:44:15

BY LAND OR BY AIR

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

New Appalachian State passing coordinator Frank Ponce has plenty to discover in Boone.


Ponce, who was hired to be the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Sunday, got his first look at snow when he visited Boone three weeks ago. He got his second look at it last week.


“I got here (Thursday) morning for my morning workout at the gym and I got to see some snowflakes,” Ponce said on a conference call Friday. “It was a nice experience.”


Ponce is hopeful that being the co-offensive coordinator with offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford will also be a nice experience. Ledford will be in charge of the running game, while Ponce will run the passing game.


Head coach Scott Satterfield, who hired Ponce and promoted Ledford, will continue to run the offense and call the plays. Satterfield indicated he wanted to inject some new things into the offense, which Ponce would like to add.


Ponce coached with Satterfield during two years they pair coached together at Florida International University, when Satterfield was the offensive coordinator.


“Coach Satterfield is going to be heavily involved,” Ponce said. “He has his own philosophy and we’ll follow suit. He’ll still be the play caller and we’ll follow suit with what he’s doing. We want to be creative and present new things to coach Satterfield, but he will still be in control of the offense.”


Ledford, who was hired last season to be the team’s offensive line coach, agreed. Ledford said Satterfield, Ponce and Ledford will all have a hand in developing the game plan for each game.

Ledford also said it didn’t matter to him whether the Mountaineers run or throw the ball, as long as the team scores points.


“At the end of the day, the goal is to score points,” Ledford said. “We want to continue to do that offensively. We had great success last year and (Satterfield and Ponce) had great success at FIU. Whatever’s working for us is what we want to do.”


If running the football is what the Mountaineers would like to do, they’ll run with an offensive line that returns five starters. Appalachian State ran for 170.3 yards last season. Steven Miller, Appalachian State’s leading rusher, finished with 1,368 yards and 11 touchdowns. But Miller, and his backup Rod Chisholm, are both seniors and have used their eligibility.


Ricky Ferguson, the freshman third string running back, carried the ball five times for one yard. The Mountaineers also redshirted freshman Tysean Holloway, who played well during spring practice in 2012.


Ponce will have more experience to work with since quarterback Jamal Jackson returns for his senior season. Rising sophomores Sean Price (81 catches, 1,196 yards 8 TDs) and Malachi Jones (32 catches, 370 yards and 2 TDs) both return.


Senior receivers Andrew Peacock, who caught 79 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns, and Tony Washington (39 catches, 472 yards, 3 TDs) also return. Ponce has not seen film or talked to Jackson or the receivers yet.


After the national signing date, which is Feb. 6, Ponce will start breaking down film of the ASU passing game. Until then, he’ll rely on the word of the ASU coaching staff.


“I got an opportunity to talk to the coaches and they mentioned Price and Jamal,” Ponce said. “I’m excited to be able to watch those guys flourish. I have not watched them play, but I’m aware of the talent here. I’ll watch some film and get a little more aware of who the guys are.”


Both coaches will go back to the recruiting trail this week. Ledford said a complete season review will be done between Feb. 6 and spring practice.


“Right now, in this time frame we’re really busy with recruiting,” Ledford said. “Ever since the season was over we dive into recruiting. We’re always looking to get better personnel in. After signing day, we’ll go back and look at every play we ran the whole season. We’ll look at the positives and the negatives and what we can improve on and what to work on.”