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Spring Ball Begins for Drinkwitz-Led Mountaineers

Appalachian State head coach Eli Drinkwitz

More than two months after Eliah Drinkwitz walked through the doors of the Mark E. Ricks Athletics Complex to start his new job as Appalachian State’s head football coach, the Mountaineers took the field in Kidd Brewer Stadium for a sun-splashed first practice.
App State’s spring practice schedule began Monday with an outdoor workout at The Rock. After going 11-2, winning a third straight Sun Belt Conference Championship and improving the program’s FBS bowl record to 4-0 with the nation’s third-youngest roster, Appalachian’s new-look coaching staff will work with a talented group of returners and newcomers.  
Drinkwitz said the beginning of the spring schedule will focus on laying a foundation for how they’ll practice moving forward.
“It was great energy on the first day,” Drinkwitz said. “Obviously, it’s not anywhere near where we need to be or want to be. There were things we’ve got to be better at in coaching, organization, player technique and fundamentals, but that’s why they call us coaches. That’s why our goal is to always compete to be better tomorrow than we were today.”
Intent on competing with pride, passion and purpose, App State is more than six months away from opening the 2019 season against East Tennessee State on Aug. 31 in Boone. Only five of the primary starters from a record-breaking season in 2018 are gone, and the return of nine All-Sun Belt players has added to the excitement surrounding the upcoming season.
Along with that, Drinkwitz is preparing for his first season as a college head coach.
“Just accomplishing a dream that I’ve had for a long time and a goal that I set, being able to do that was a little bit surreal,” Drinkwitz said of leading his first FBS practice. “Being at The Rock coaching in such a great environment, such a great place, is awesome. I had to tell myself a couple of times to focus on just coaching and not be daydreaming in the moment, so it was very cool.”
Drinkwitz has a staff of well-regarded, highly accomplished assistants to help with the transition.
On the offensive side of the ball are Shawn Clark (OL), Justin Watts (TEs), Pat Washington (WRs) and Garrett Riley (RBs). The defense will be coached by coordinator Ted Roof (ILBs) and assistants D.J. Smith (OLBs), Greg Gasparato (Safeties), Charlie Harbison (CBs) and Anwar Stewart (DL). Erik Link will serve as the special teams coordinator, and Lance Ware has been hired as the senior assistant to the head coach.
“The very first goal is that everybody improves in their technique and fundamentals,” Drinkwitz said. “The spring is always about player development. The second thing is we want to lay the foundation of our offense, defense and special teams. The third thing is we want to identify strengths and weaknesses of this team and play to our strengths and fortify our weaknesses.”
Fans interested in purchasing 2019 football season tickets and joining the Yosef Club can do so online by clicking HERE, by calling 828-262-2079 or by visiting the App State Athletics ticket office, located at the Holmes Center. The deadline to renew season tickets for the upcoming season is April 30.

Anyone who renews or purchases 2019 football season tickets by March 15 will have a chance to win one of several of the following exclusive offers. 
Chance to Win:

  • Breakfast with Coach Drinkwitz
  • Call a play at spring practice
  • Pregame sideline passes (20 individuals)
  • 2 seats at the Legends Gala
  • 2 seats at Club Level (standing room only)
  • 2 spots in the Yosef Club Golf Tournament
  • Signed football by Coach Drinkwitz (25 account holders)

Everyone Wins: