ASU Football Practices in Dead of Winter, Reports From February Practice Sessions

Published Friday, February 20, 2015 at 9:57 am
Taylor Lamb (11) unloads a pass during Wednesday's practice inside the Sofield Family Indoor Practice Facility. Courtesy: Appalachian State Athletics

Taylor Lamb (11) unloads a pass during Wednesday’s practice inside the Sofield Family Indoor Practice Facility. Courtesy: Appalachian State Athletics

Spring Practice Report: Feb. 19

Despite a blast of Arctic weather in the High Country this week, Appalachian State University football got productive practices in on Tuesday and Wednesday, thanks to the Sofield Family Indoor Practice Facility.

The Mountaineers were originally scheduled to work out on Monday afternoon but coaches elected to send the student-athletes home early rather than risk traveling during a snowstorm following practice.

After about six inches of snow blanketed campus, Appalachian State held a nearly two-hour practice on Tuesday morning in the Sofield Facility. The session, which was moved up from its regular late-afternoon time slot because classes were cancelled on Appalachian’s campus until 2 p.m., was conducted in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.

The Mountaineers strapped on full pads for Wednesday’s practice in the Sofield Facility and participated in extended periods of 11-on-11 drills near the end of the two-hour workout.

Prior to the 11-on-11 work, senior wideout Bobo Beathard made one of the best plays of spring practice to date when he hauled in an acrobatic one-handed touchdown catch despite terrific coverage by sophomore cornerbackLatrell Gibbs during individual drills.

Highlights during the full-team periods included a nifty 35-yard touchdown run by senior running back Ricky Fergerson, an interception in the end zone by junior linebacker John Law that ended one offensive scoring opportunity and a pass breakup in the end zone by redshirt freshman linebacker Teh’Ron Fuller that squelched another scoring threat.

Appalachian State is scheduled to hold its eighth and ninth practices of 15 allowed in the spring on Friday and Saturday. Due to the weather, both practices are expected to be conducted in the Sofield Facility and, therefore, be closed to the public. However, should weather conditions improve and practices are moved outside to Kidd Brewer Stadium, they will be open to the public. Check the official Twitter accounts of Appalachian State athletics (@appstate_sports) and App State football (@AppState_FB) for updates.

Spring Practice Report: Feb. 11

Appalachian State football practiced in full pads for the first time in 2015 on Wednesday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Courtesy: Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State football practiced in full pads for the first time in 2015 on Wednesday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Courtesy: Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State University football strapped on the pads for the first time in 2015 when it donned full gear for its third practice of the spring on Wednesday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

Per NCAA regulations, hitting was limited for the first day of full pads but the energy level was noticeably turned up a notch for Wednesday’s two-hour session.

With more contact allowed than when the Mountaineers practiced in helmets and sweats on Saturday and Sunday, Wednesday’s 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods were particularly action-packed. Highlights included senior defensive back Doug Middleton showing off his leaping ability to intercept a pass during 7-on-7 drills and redshirt freshman quarterback J.P. Caruso finding sophomore wideout Shaedon Meadorsfor a long touchdown during full-team work.

Head coach Scott Satterfield also noted the play of redshirt freshman running backs Josh Boyd and Jalin Moore, sophomore defensive back Latrell Gibbs and redshirt freshman defensive back Austin Exford, who were among many young Mountaineers that had strong showings during the first day in pads.

Wednesday’s practice also served as a reunion of sorts, as a handful of former Mountaineers were in attendance. Among those taking in the workout were San Francisco 49ers’ starting center Daniel Kilgore, fellow former offensive lineman Dave Pastusic, former place kicker Jason Vitaris (a noted sports documentary videographer that just wrapped up production on ESPN’s Snoop and Son) and former quarterbacks coach Brad Glenn, who now serves as offensive coordinator at Western Carolina.

Appalachian State is scheduled to return to the practice field on Friday (4 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m.). Practices are either held outdoors at Kidd Brewer Stadium or indoors at the Sofield Family Indoor Practice Facility, depending on weather conditions. Outdoor practices are open to the public but all indoor practices are closed due to space constraints.

Spring Practice Report: Feb. 7

Justin Watts (right) went through his first practice as Appalachian State's wide receivers coach when the Mountaineers opened spring drills on Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Courtesy: Appalachian State Athletics

Justin Watts (right) went through his first practice as Appalachian State’s wide receivers coach when the Mountaineers opened spring drills on Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Courtesy: Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State University football became the second NCAA Division I FBS program in the country to begin spring practice when it held its first of 15 spring workouts on Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

Unseasonably pleasant weather (temperatures in the 50s and clear skies) greeted Appalachian State for the earliest start to spring practice in program history. Duke, which held its first practice on Friday, is the only other FBS program that has already begun spring drills.

A whopping 90 Mountaineers suited up for Saturday’s practice with only four players missing the start of spring ball due to injuries sustained last fall — senior defensive linemen Thomas Bronson and Stephen Burns, redshirt freshman running back Nikia Cathey and senior linebacker D.J. Ward. All but Bronson could potentially join practice before the end of spring drills.

With the record numbers and plethora of experienced players (Appalachian returns 22 starters — 10 on offense, 10 on defense and two specialists — from 2014), Saturday’s practice was crisp and conducted at a fall-like pace. Per NCAA regulations, the session was conducted in helmets and sweats and there was no contact.

In his post-practice remarks, Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield said that the numbers and experience allowed for the Mountaineers to pick up right where they left off when they won six-straight games to close last season and have a great opening practice. Individually, he praised wide receiver Zireycus Letman, tight end Collin Reed, kicker Michael Rubino and defensive back Mondo Williams — all mid-year enrollees at Appalachian State — for strong showings in their first Division I practices. Among the returnees, Satterfield specifically mentioned the performance of sophomore defensive back Latrell Gibbs, who had an interception during 11-on-11 drills near the end of practice.

With Saturday’s terrific weather expected to remain in place through the weekend, Appalachian State will move the second practice of the spring, which was originally scheduled for Monday, up to Sunday. Barring an unexpected change in weather that would force the workout indoors, Sunday’s practice will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium and be open to the public.

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