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Originally published: 2013-04-06 16:28:10
Last modified: 2013-04-06 16:28:24

Defense gets off to fast start

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

Appalachian State scored a touchdown on its first play in a scrimmage at Kidd Brewer Stadium Saturday.
Unfortunately for the ASU offense, it was the defense that scored the TD. Henry Barnes picked off a tipped Logan Hallock pass and returned it for a score on the first play of the approxamently 150-play scrimmage.
The offense eventually put together some drives and got into the end zone, but defense ruled the beginning of the scrimmage, which was divided into four basic blocks.
The first was the first-and-10 situation plays. The second was the third-and-eight plays and the third was a game-situation scrimmages. The teams ended with goal-line situations.
"Offensively, it was a little sloppy," ASU coach Scott Satterfield said. "We turned the ball over quite a bit. Situational football for us offensively is hard because we're a tempo and a momentum type offense. When you put it first-and-10 and you keep backing it up, or you put it third-and-long over and over, it puts a little strain on us. If we can get good at that, we're going to be hard to stop."
Defensive end Ronald Blair had a big scrimmage, especially when he sacked quarterback Logan Hallock, forced a fumble and returned it for a touchdown. Blair also knocked down several Hallock passes during the scrimmage.
"It felt good. Communication with the linebackers and the corners has been the best I have ever seen since playing football," Blair said. "We're on the same page. It's like when the offense huddles, even when their in the huddle, we know what they're going to do."
Blair said that although adjusting to the 3-4 defense new defensive coordinator Nate Woody brought with him from Wofford, the defensive end feels the switch from the 4-3 is going well.
"It's like you're just pulling a new (Mercedes) Benz off the lot," Blair said. "You don't know how it's going to drive at first, but once you ride in it for a little while, you're like, 'Ah, this is nice.' That's how I feel about playing right now."
Hallock struggled during the situational periods of the scrimmage. Chris Shaffer, a sophomore safety from Charlotte Providence, intercepted a Hallock pass and returned it for a touchdown. Rodger Walker also picked off a Hallock pass.
Hallock's 20-yard completion to Sean Price was the longest play of the situational scrimmage. Hallock also found Bobo Beathard for a 13-yard play.
Things got better for the offense during the game-situations. Hallock led the Mountaineers on a 12-play, 66-yard scoring drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Ricky Fergerson.
Hallock also found Andrew Peacock for a 40-yard completion that set up a touchdown pass to Simms McElfresh.
Former Avery quarterback Alex Villanueva, running the third team, tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Barrett Burns during the final period.
ASU was playing without starting quarterback Jamal Londry-Jackson and second-team quarterback Kameron Bryant, who are both recovering from injuries suffered during the 2012 season.