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Appalachian St. eager for another SoCon title
Winning never gets old, at least not for Appalachian State’s football team.
If it did, coach Jerry Moore probably wouldn’t be quite so eager to begin his 23rd season of leading the Mountaineers. Appalachian starts camp Friday.
“I didn’t think it was going to ever get here,” said Moore, whose next victory will give him 200 at ASU. “We’ve been excited and been ready to go for a long time. We did a little recruiting and took a break after spring practice, then we do a little tour thing and visit some towns for 2 1/2 to three weeks.
“Then we hit that lull, play some golf, try to catch a fish. And it just seems like we didn’t get that over with quick enough for me.”
Even if Appalachian State hadn’t won or shared the last six Southern Conference titles, it’d still be easy to get amped about the upcoming season when the list of returning players includes a pair of preseason all-Americans.
One of them, senior quarterback DeAndre Presley, became the fourth player in Division I Football Championship Subdivision history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 more in the same season. He compiled 2,631 passing yards and 1,039 rushing yards last fall.
The other, senior receiver Brian Quick, has averaged 17.7 yards per catch over the course of his career. That has the 6-foot-5 Quick atop ASU’s record book.
“It’s a big blessing, I can tell you that, to know that I can go to Quick at any moment and know that he’s going to come up with the catch,” Presley said. “To have that big target, no matter what the situation is, I know he’s going to make a play every single time. It’s a huge advantage for us to have him.”
The Mountaineers also welcome back seven defensive starters, and Moore has decided to change the defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 set.
ASU allowed 347.7 yards per game and ranked fourth defensively in the nine-team SoCon last season.
“No. 1, we thought we had the players to do it,” Moore said of the change. “I think most of your defenses are built around the people that you have. It’s a very popular defense right now, (but being) popular doesn’t make it good. You better have players who can line up and play it.
“Our defensive staff spent a lot of time going different places investigating and thought we could do it,” Moore added. “Only time will tell, now.”
Top defenders returning from last season include defensive lineman John Rizor and defensive back Ed Gainey, both of whom were named to the preseason all-conference team.
Last season: 10-3 (7-1, tied for first in Southern Conference)
Coach: Jerry Moore
Career record: 226-126-2, 29 seasons
Record at Appalachian: 199-79, 22 years.
Offensive/Defensive/Specialist starters returning: 5/7/2
Key returnees: QB DeAndre Presley; WR Brian Quick; DL John Rizor.
Key losses: WR CoCo Hillary; RB Devon Moore.
Prediction: 10-1 (8-0 SoCon)
By Tyler Norris, Asheville Citizen-Times