Aug. 4, 2014. After 16 months of anticipation, Appalachian State University Football officially began preparation for its inaugural season in the Sun Belt Conference and NCAA Division I FBS when it help its first practice of the 2014 campaign on Friday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Friday’s initial practice was actually split into two sessions, with two different groups working for an hour-and-a-half each on an overcast, damp and chilly day in the High Country.
In order to allow all 105 student-athletes in fall camp to get as many reps as possible, Appalachian State’s coaching staff broke the squad in half and ran back-t0-back identical workouts. The groups were a mix of offense and defense, young players and veterans with little regard given to the depth chart coming out of spring practice.
“We just wanted to give as many players as possible a lot of chances to get on film,” head coach Scott Satterfield said. “With 105 players in camp and the tempo that we run in practice, there isn’t an opportunity to do a lot of coaching in between plays and drills out here on the practice field. By holding two separate practices, a lot of players got a lot more reps and we’ll be able to do a lot more teaching when watching film in the classrooms because of that.”
Per NCAA regulations, the first practice of the year was conducted in helmets and shorts with no contact, which allowed for skill players to shine. Standouts included incumbent starting quarterback Kameron Bryant (Cary, N.C./Panther Creek), who looked sharp in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, junior wideout Bobo Beathard (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield), who made a terrific over-the-shoulder touchdown catch in tight coverage during 7-on-7 work, defensive back Joel Ross (Damascus, Md./Damascus), who provided tight coverage throughout practice, and sophomore punter Bentlee Critcher (South Daytona, Fla./Warner Christian Academy), who unleashed several booming punts during special-teams work.
Satterfield cited freshman wide receivers Isaiah Lewis (Simpsonville, S.C./Hillcrest) and Jaylan Barbour (Monroe, N.C./Monroe) among the newcomers that had strong afternoons.
Appalachian State holds its annual Media Day on Saturday morning in the Sofield Family Indoor Practice Facility. The event is closed to the public but the Appalachian IMG Sports Network will air live from the Sofield Facility from 10 a.m.-noon. The broadcast can be heard exclusively at appstatesports.com.
After Media Day, the Mountaineers return to the practice field for Day 2 of fall camp. Practice is slated for 3 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium and is open to the public. Admission is free.