Courtesy New York Times.

Michigan Football: A Look at the Mountaineers -- 8/6/2014

Michigan Football: A Look at the Mountaineers — 8/6/2014

Well the season is upon us, and much to the chagrin of many wolverine fans the athletic department started the team’s schedule off with a “no-win” game against a team who will probably always hold the title of greatest upset ever, beating the #5 ranked Michigan with a last-second field goal block.  The Wolverines much like in 2007 are favored to beat the mountaineers, this time it is an odds spread of 35 points.  However, much has changed for both teams since that day in 2007 where David beat Goliath, a season where both teams were winning and the players at Michigan were reportedly high on more than it being a new football season.  The state of the last several seasons at Michigan are well known and covered here at GBMWolverine, so that will not be overly discussed here – but like Michigan the Mountaineers of Boone, North Carolina are not the team of ole.  The mountaineers have reported for camp, and have started practice preparing for their rematch in Ann Arbor.

Hairy BackThough the wolverines are in a several-year slump, the team from Boone is not the hairy backed beasts they were in 2007 either.  The App State team was at the pinnacle of success having been the Southern Conference Champions and the NCAA Division I (and I-AA) Football National Champions for 2005 (12-3), 2006 (14-1), and the Michigan lossmageddon year 2007 (13-2).  Starting in 2008  much like the wolverines (less Coach Hoke’s first season) the mountaineers have steadily went in a downward spiral though not of the Rich Rodriguez variety.  In 2008 and 2009 they mountaineers were 11–3, 10-3 in 2010, and 2011 and 12 were bookend 8-4 seasons – they had several conference championships within those seasons, and the records were respectable especially compared to the Wolverine’s of the same time period.  Then in what can only be called a head-scratching idiotic move by the Boone athletic department they fire their head football coach of 24 years Jerry Moore.  Moore was 242–135–2 as the Mountaineer’s head man with 10 conference championships, and three national titles – and though he was old (73 at the time of his dismissing); he was still winning, and still wanted to coach.  So, how do you follow-up such a brain-dead move?  Bring in a new staff? No, you hire his Offensive Coordinator as the new Head Coach (umm, isn’t he part of the problem? Though I don’t see a problem you are still winning and competitive under Moore).  The payoff for such a brilliant coaching move is that App State would go 4-8 in his first season at the helm in 2013.  The mountaineers’ losses were (video highlights in links) against Montana (6–30), North Carolina A&T (21–24), Charleston Southern (24–27), Citadel (28–31), Samford (10–34), Furman (10–27), Chattanooga (28–35), Georgia (6-45); and the four wins were against Elon (31–21), Georgia Southern (38–14), Wofford (33–21), and Western Carolina (Battle for the Old Mountain Jug – Hmm, sounds familiar only made up) (48–27).

Fake Jug

So, what can we expect from the 2014 Mountaineers? Well they Mountaineers like other smaller schools are now going to test the waters joining as an FBS school in 2014, and will do so as part of the Sun-Belt Conference.  In their games last year they won their four games with a 17 point average margin victory, and lost their eight games by a 16 point average (for comparison Michigan average was 17 in victories, and 9 points in losses) so essentially the mountaineers would win or lose on average by two touchdowns.  The App State team averaged 138 yards rushing, 271.8 yards passing, three (2.8) touchdowns (2 rushing and 1 receiving), and two (2.58) giveaways (1 pick and 1 fumble) on offense and statistically is becoming a more pass than rush effective (428 Rush and 417 Pass attempts) team.  On defense they allowed an average 220.2 yards rushing (allowing 4.6 per carry) for just over two TDs (2.08), and 180.2 yards passing (allowing 7.3 per receiving attempt, 11.5 per actual reception), and just over one TD (1.25), while averaging about two take-aways (1 pick, and 1 fumble).  Now for a deeper look at App State.

Coach Scott Satterfield has mid and lower level college coaching experience (Toledo (assistant)  and Florida International (OC)), last year was his first as a head coach and his overall record is 4-8 (33.3%).


Season Overview (App. State)
2013 Rank/AVG *
Record (SoCon) 4–8 (4–4 SoCon)
1st Down Defense T34 – 246
1st Down Offense T71 – 259
3rd Down Conversion % 48 – GM AVG 0.428
3rd Down Defense % 112 – GM AVG 0.461
4th Down Conversion % T98 – GM AVG 0.400
4th Down Defense % 103 – GM AVG 0.632
Blocked Kicks T78 – 1
Blocked Kicks Allowed T103 – 4
Blocked Punts T123 – 0
Blocked Punts Allowed T108 – 2
Completion % 4 – GM AVG 0.698
Fewest Penalties T88 – 81
Fewest Penalties Per Game T99 – GM AVG 6.75
Fewest Penalties Yds Game 94 – GM AVG 55.33
Fewest Penalty Yards 86 – 664
Fumbles Lost T72 – 10
Fumbles Recovered T73 – 8
Interceptions Against T11 – 7
Interceptions For T82 – 10
Kickoff Return Defense 112 – AVG 23.55
Kickoff Returns 82 – AVG 21.41
Net Punting 9 – AVG 40.57
Pass Defense T11 – GM AVG 180.3
Pass Efficiency Defense 86 – GM AVG 135.32
Passing Efficiency 32 – GM AVG 144.78
Passing Offense 30 – GM AVG 271.8
Passing Yards Per Comp 96 – GM AVG 11.21
Punt Return Defense 41 – AVG 6.37
Punt Returns 113 – AVG 3.73
Red Zone Defense 36 – GM AVG 0.796
Red Zone Offense T77 – GM AVG 0.800
Rushing Defense 109 – GM AVG 220.3
Rushing Offense 96 – GM AVG 138.0
Sacks 123 – GM AVG 0.67
Sacks Allowed T41 – GM AVG 1.67
Scoring Defense T72 – GM AVG 28.0
Scoring Offense 97 – GM AVG 23.6
Tackles For Loss T109 – GM AVG 4.8
Tackles For Loss Allowed T61 – GM AVG 5.92
Total Defense 62 – GM AVG 400.5
Total Offense 64 – GM AVG 409.8
Turnover Margin T54 – 0.08
Turnovers Gained T95 – 18
Turnovers Lost T21 – 17

T – Tied
* – If in the FBS would have ranked – But was FCS

Season Overview (Michigan)
2013 Rank/AVG
Record (B1G) 7–6 (3–5 B1G)
1st Down Defense 67 – 266
1st Down Offense T71 – 259
3rd Down Conversion % 73 – GM AVG 0.392
3rd Down Defense % 65 – GM AVG 0.398
4th Down Conversion % T45 – GM AVG 0.538
4th Down Defense % T24 – GM AVG 0.400
Blocked Kicks T45 – 2
Blocked Kicks Allowed T58 – 2
Blocked Punts T18 – 1
Blocked Punts Allowed T1 – 0
Completion % 56 – GM AVG 0.600
Fewest Penalties T18 – 53
Fewest Penalties Per Game T14 – GM AVG 4.15
Fewest Penalties Yds Game 13 – GM AVG 34.46
Fewest Penalty Yards 15 – 448
Fumbles Lost T36 – 8
Fumbles Recovered T56 – 9
Interceptions Against T66 – 13
Interceptions For T23 – 17
Kickoff Return Defense 101 – AVG 23.29
Kickoff Returns 49 – AVG 22.12
Net Punting 53 – AVG 37.24
Pass Defense 66 – GM AVG 229.8
Pass Efficiency Defense 51 – GM AVG 123.85
Passing Efficiency 37 – GM AVG 140.63
Passing Offense 51 – GM AVG 247.8
Passing Yards Per Comp 23 – GM AVG 13.59
Punt Return Defense 40 – AVG 6.36
Punt Returns 89 – AVG 6.33
Red Zone Defense T94 – GM AVG 0.867
Red Zone Offense 43 – GM AVG 0.857
Rushing Defense 29 – GM AVG 140.2
Rushing Offense T102 – GM AVG 125.7
Sacks T66 – GM AVG 1.92
Sacks Allowed T105 – GM AVG 2.77
Scoring Defense 66 – GM AVG 26.8
Scoring Offense 46 – GM AVG 32.2
Tackles For Loss T91 – GM AVG 5.4
Tackles For Loss Allowed 121 – GM AVG 8.77
Total Defense 41 – GM AVG 371.5
Total Offense 86 – GM AVG 373.5
Turnover Margin T32 – 0.38
Turnovers Gained T26 – 26
Turnovers Lost T57 – 21

T – Tied

APP WE Dont Care


Team Record
2013 Michigan
2013 App State
All Games7-64-8
At Home5-22-4
On Road/Nuetral Sites2-42-4
Vs. Conference3-54-4
Vs. Non-Conference4-10-4
Vs. Ranked (AP)1-22-2
Vs. Unranked (AP)6-42-6
Vs. FBS (1-A)7-60-1
Vs. FCS (1-AA)0-04-7
Vs. FBS Winning2-60-1
Vs. FBS Non-Winning5-00-0
Vs. BCS AQ5-60-1
Vs BCS Non-AQ2-00-0
In August/September4-01-3
In October2-11-3
In November1-42-2
In December January0-10-0

On Offense

On offense  Appalachian State is returning a lot of experience only losing two of it’s starters from 2013. The team will continue to play some form no-huddle spread offense of a  run and shoot variety Moore had put in place when Satterfield was the OC. That said, we can also expect a much more even distribution of run and pass than probably most spread teams, in 2013 they were just about even in attempts – if anything they may become more pass-oriented where they had better success last year than with (ranked equivalent of 32 FBS).  They also give away weight advantages to most defensive fronts , and Michigan came in #29 in rush defense last year, and return most of the defensive starters so running may be hard to come by. QB Kameron Bryant was fairly efficient in 2013 throwing 14 TDs to only four picks, and connected on over 70%of his passes.  His main target returns and also totes the rock.  RB Marcus Cox tallied just under 2,000 yards receiving/rushing, and scored 21 TDs for the mountaineers (6 receiving, and 15 rushing) – and he averaged a very respectable 5.1 per carry – if he gets hot or loose in the backer corps he can cause havoc.

Offensive Two-Deep – Return 9 Starters

LT 74 – Kendall Lamm 6-6 305 Sr. – NR
LT 78 – Chandler Greer 6-5 275 Fr. – 2 Star

LG  67 – Shaq Counts 6-2 275 Jr. – NR
LG 50 – Beau Nunn 6-4 290 Fr. – 2 Star

C 55 – Graham Fisher 6-2 285 Sr. – 2 Star
C 60 – Jesse Chapman 6-1 275 Jr. – NR

RG 77 – Alex Acey 5-11 270 Sr. – NR
RG 70 – Colby Gossett 6-6 315 Fr. – 2 Star

RT 64 – Will Corbin  6-6 305 Sr. – NR
RT 73 – Davante Harris 6-6 275 Jr. – NR

QB 5 – Kameron Bryant 6-1 210 Jr. – NR
QB 10 – J.P. Caruso  6-1 200 Fr. – 2 Star

RB 14 – Marcus Cox 5-10 200 So. – 2 Star
RB 20 – Terrence Upshaw 5-10 200 Fr. – 2 Star

WR 7 – Malachi Jones 6-2 210 Jr. – 2 Star
WR 86 – Montez McGuire 6-1 215 Jr. – 2 Star

WR 14 – Simms McElfresh 5-10 180 Jr. – NR
WR 19 -Nikia Cathey 5-9 180 Fr. – 2 Star

WR 9 -Tacoi Sumler 5-9 175 Jr. – 4 Star (Transfer from Oregon Ducks)
WR  6 – Shaedon Meadors 6-2 180 Fr. – 3 Star

On Defense – Return 7 Starters

The Mountaineers line up in a 3-4 defense that is returning seven starters.  Including most of their leading tacklers (John Law 71, Kevin Walton,  Joel Ross  56,  Deuce Robinson  45) and sophomore Kennan Gilchrist should definitely have an impact as a starter.  He tallied 59 tackles second most of the current roster as a back-up, which may increase Duece Robinson’s ability to come off the edge (he had two sacks last year), and though he wasn’t hugely productive (11 tackles) last year, Tyson Fernandez is a fireplug of a nose tackle at 345 who could require double-teams, especially by a young Wolverine interior which could set the linebackers loose.  They will have to be much improved from their 109th rushing defense ranking, where even the UM 102 ranked rushing offense with an inexperienced line may get going against a front seven giving away an average of 50 lbs.

Defensive Two-Deep

DE 49 – Ronald Blair 6-4 275 Jr. – NR
DE 95 – Thomas Bronson 6-3 245 Jr. – 2 Star

NT 72 – Tyson Fernandez 6-2 345 So. – NR
NT 99 – Stephen Burns 6-2 260 Jr. – NR

DE 2 – Deuce Robinson 6-5 260 Sr. – NR
DE 36 – Olawale Dada 6-0 235 So. – NR

OLB 31 -Rashaad Townes 6-2 205 So. – 2 Star
OLB 30 – Osvaldo Sombo 6-2 235  Jr. – 3 Star

ILB 88 – John Law 6-0 235  So. – NR
ILB 35 – Toronto Thomas 6-0 235 So. – NR

ILB 22 – Brandon McGowan 6-2 235 Sr. – 3 Star
ILB 45 – Eric Boggs 6-3 235 Fr. – 2 Star

OLB 6 -Kennan Gilchrist 6-2 210 So. – 2 Star
OLB 11 – Devan Stringer 5-11 195  Fr. – 2 Star

CB 26 – Joel Ross  5-10 185 Sr. – NR
CB 29 – Aaron Krah 5-11 185 Jr. – 2 Star

SS 13 – Kevin Walton 6-0 180 Sr. – NR
SS 10 – A.J. Howard 5-11 185 Fr. – 2 Star

FS 21 – Doug Middleton 6-0 205 Jr. – 2 Star
FS 16 – Treyon Garnett 6-1 195 Fr. – NR

CB 12 – Jordan Ford 6-2 190 So. – NR
CB 24 – Dante Blackmon 5-11 185 So. – 3 Star

Special Teams

P 91 – Bentlee Critcher 6-1 190 So. – NR
K 59-  Zach Matics 6-2 195 Jr. – NR
P/KR  81 – Bobo Beathard 5-10 185 – NR


The Rundown

Look for Michigan to unlike the picture above, to place the Big House back on its foundation.  Though that should be expected, I think the team will hear enough “shock and awe” stories about the 2007 failure via the media, and staff that it will not happen again.  Let’s face it App State sucked last year (Almost RR 3-9 suckage) this squad will not catch the talent on the squad sleeping enough to beat Michigan on its home turf again. Coach Satterfieild in an interview said, “Even with our famous history against Michigan, we don’t have any players that played in ’07 and neither do they. So, as far as predicting what reaching our potential will translate to as far as wins and losses, I’m not sure at this point. We are a better team now than we were a year ago at this point in time and if we continue to get better each and every day and reach that potential, for me and our staff, that is going to be a success. We certainly anticipate that turning into some wins. But how many? That remains to be seen. Our players and fans alike get excited about the opportunity to go to places like Michigan and compete with those teams.” When asked, What will be the keys to shock the world again and come out of the Big House with another win?, he stated, “I’m glad you asked that. I actually went and talked to Armanti the other day. If we can get him to come to Ann Arbor and suit up, I think that would give us a great spark! He’s already done it! But seriously, in order to win at Michigan, I think we have to go in with a solid gameplan. I don’t think we can try to do too much. I think we have to pick a few things that we feel really good about and go in and try to execute those things. Obviously, we need to play near-perfect football. We need to take care of the ball. You can’t turn it over against a team like Michigan and, on the flip side of that, our defense is going to have to be able to create some turnovers. We feel that Michigan’s squad is probably going to be able to move the football against us at times and I don’t mind if they move the ball as long as we get it back from them before they score. That is one thing that we will stress throughout fall camp — takeaways.  We have to be very, very solid in the kicking game. Bentlee Critcher has to be able to flip the field in the punting game and when Zach Matics has the opportunity for field goals, he has to be able to make them. We’re going to have to play a great game in the first half and early in the third quarter. That was our gameplan when we went into the Big House in ’07 and that is our gameplan whenever we play a “power conference” opponent. We try to hang tough in the first half and come out of the blocks in the second half keep it close. I think what happens is that if you have a close game in the fourth quarter, our kids get the confidence to say “hey, we can go get this and we can win this game” and the power-conference opponents try to wake up but then it’s too late and they start to think “man, what’s getting ready to happen here? ”

“If we can do all of those things, that would be the way to win the game.”  That is asking a lot and I think we will see Michigan more than cover the Vegas spread.


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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — SkwdCop

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