March 3, 2014. Appalachian State University football officially began on-field preparations for its first NCAA Division I FBS campaign on Friday when it opened spring practice at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Friday’s practice, the first of 15 permitted by the NCAA in the spring, was conducted in helmets and shorts, although many players chose sweatpants with temperatures in the 30s in Boone. The workout lasted a little over two hours.
Despite being the first practice since the Mountaineers closed the 2013 season with a 48-27 rout over Western Carolina on Nov. 23, Friday’s session was crisp and conducted at a fast pace. In fact, the tempo was so accelerated that head coach Scott Satterfield ended the day with a few minutes still remaining on the clock due to the fact that the practice script had already been exhausted.
“We had a good day,” Satterfield said. “I was really pleased with the tempo on both sides of the ball. We are very far ahead of where we were as a team at this same point last year.”
Offensively, four different quarterbacks took snaps for the Mountaineers — incumbent starter Kameron Bryant (Cary, N.C./Panther Creek), veteran backup Logan Hallock (Ferguson, N.C./West Wilkes), redshirt freshman Taylor Lamb (Calhoun, Ga./Calhoun) and true freshman J.P. Caruso (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens). Caruso is one of five early enrollees that participated in his first practice as a Mountaineer.
With a year in defensive coordinator Nate Woody’s 3-4 scheme under its belt, Appalachian’s defense looked especially sharp, particularly during 7-on-7 passing drills where the black-shirted defenders made several big plays, including a handful of interceptions.
Making the defensive effort even more impressive is the fact that it was without four returning linemen for Friday’s spring opener. Thomas Bronson (Brooksville, Fla./Hernando), Stephen Burns (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central), Deuce Robinson (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) and Darian Small (Hampton, Ga./Dutchtown) all sat out of Friday’s practice while they continue to recover from injuries sustained last season. There is a chance that all four could return before the end of the spring and all are expected to be at 100 percent in time for the beginning of fall camp in August.
Spring football continues for Appalachian State through March and concludes with the Mountaineers’ spring game on Friday, April 4 at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.