Mountaineers take on The Citadel
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
It takes on a much different dimension along the defensive line.
Appalachian State nose tackle Steven Burns found that out while watching film of the Bulldogs Monday. The 6-foot-2, 280-pound freshman from Alexander Central High School learned, as other ASU nose tackles have learned in the past, that facing an option offense is not so simple.
The Citadel, ranked No. 21 in The Sports Network poll, brings its option offense to Kidd Brewer Stadium to face No. 8 Appalachian State Saturday not trying to overpower the Mountaineers. Instead, the Bulldogs will try show a look with one play, but then try to deceive the ASU defense by running that play again, but using different blocking schemes.
“This week on the triple option, they come off low and they try to cut a lot,” Burns said. “It’s an assignment for the whole defense. You’ve got to do your part. You can’t do too much. If you try to do too much, they’re going to bring it big. Just do your assignment, hit who you’re supposed to hit, and hopefully it’s going to be a good game.”
This is the first time Appalachian State will see an option offense run primarily out of the flexbone. Georgia Southern went back to the offense in 2010 when former Eagles offensive coordinator Jeff Monken returned as the team’s head coach.
The Citadel ran its offense a little better than the Eagles when the Bulldogs upset then-No. 3 Georgia Southern 23-21 last week.
You’ve got to be disciplined, first of all,” said ASU safety Troy Sanders. “The biggest thing with them is being fundamentally sound and trusting your keys.”
Appalachian State knocked off Montana 35-27 in a game featuring two of the most decorated teams in the FCS.
Burns got his first home college start against the Grizzlies.
He was happy to get the win, but cautioned that the Mountaineers must concentrate on The Citadel, or risk becoming the Bulldogs’ second major victim.
“It was great. It was an awesome experience,” Burns said. “It was my first start at home, seeing all these fans and winning the game. But you can’t live on the past. Enjoy it that weekend and reminisce on beating a great team, but Monday we started watching film on The Citadel.”
They saw a Bulldogs team that averages 325.5 yards and 36 points per game offensively. Quarterback Ben Dupree, a 5-9, 175-pound junior, leads the Bulldogs in rushing with 169 yards on 34 carries.
The Bulldogs do not pass nearly as well as they run the ball, which is not uncommon for option teams. Dupree has completed just 1-of-4 passes, but that completion was a 26-yard touchdown pass to Domonic Jones last week against Georgia Southern.