Appalachian State University football held its first two-a-day practices of its 2012 fall camp on Wednesday. The majority of the squad focused exclusively on special teams during the 90-minute morning session before the Mountaineers held their first intrasquad scrimmage of camp during their two-and-a-half hour afternoon practice.
• Not a lot to report from the morning practice, which was held in shorts and helmets and was little more than a special-teams walkthrough. The highlight of the 90-minute session came when senior Sam Martin boomed a kickoff that landed about five yards beyond the end line of Kidd Brewer Stadium's north end zone. Even with kickoffs being moved up five yards to the 35 yard line this season, the kick traveled well over 75 yards in the air.
• The vast majority of the day's action came during the afternoon practice, when Appalachian held its first intrasquad scrimmage of the preseason. The Mountaineers ran over 130 plays during the two-hour scrimmage with 16 of the 35 series pitting the first-team offense against the first-team defense and 11 more matching up the second-team offense with the second-team defense.
• Both sides of the ball impressed at times during the long scrimmage. In all, the offense scored touchdowns five times and the defense forced two turnovers and 15 three-and-outs.
• Starting quarterback Jamal Jackson and the first team engineered four of the offense's five touchdown drives. Jackson had a very good afternoon, completing 10-of-19 passes without an interception for 288 yards and three touchdowns. At one point in the afternoon, he led the first team on three-consecutive touchdown drives, connecting with Tony Washington on a slant pattern for a 67-yard score, hitting Sean Price in stride down the right sideline for a 66-yard touchdown and finding a wide-open Price for a 65-yard score.
• In addition to the three touchdown passes, Jackson also capped the first-team's fourth scoring drive with a five-yard run.
• Price had a monster day, finishing with 177 yards on just three receptions. In addition to his 66- and 65-yard touchdowns, he made perhaps his finest catch of the day when he adjusted to a slightly underthrown pass from Jackson, went high over a defender to get it, then made two would-be tacklers miss before finally being brought down after a 46-yard gain.
• Leading the second team, redshirt freshman Kameron Bryant engineered the offense's only other scoring drive with a nine-play, 65-yard series that he capped by running it in from two yards out. The big play of the series came when fifth-year senior tight end Jey Yokeley caught a 19-yard pass from Bryant in traffic to move the Mountaineers inside the 25 yard line.
• Outside of the five scoring drives, the afternoon largely belonged to the Appalachian defense. The defense was especially impressive in the latter stages of the scrimmage, turning in nine three-and-outs over the final 14 series of the afternoon. Over the final 50 plays of the scrimmage, the Mountaineer defense surrendered just 72 yards.
• Standouts on the defensive side of the ball included sophomore defensive end Ronald Blair (three sacks, five tackles for loss), senior linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough (five tackles for loss), freshman linebacker Tashion Singleton (one sack, three tackles for loss), sophomore defensive back Doug Middleton (one sack, two tackles for loss, quarterback hurry), redshirt freshman defensive end Davante Harris (one sack, two tackles for loss), junior linebacker Karl Anderson (two tackles for loss, pass break-up) and senior linebacker Brandon Grier (two tackles for loss).
• True freshman defensive lineman Greg Milhouse highlighted a strong showing (two tackles for loss) by forcing a fumble that was scooped up and returned 50 yards for a touchdown by redshirt freshman defensive back Chris Shaffer.
• Redshirt freshman Drew Davies accounted for the other takeaway when he intercepted a pass on the first second-team series of the day.
• The afternoon concluded with three red zone series. The offense scored on two of the three red-zone possessions.
The following did not participate in Wednesday's scrimmage due to an array of bumps, bruises and other ailments accumulated during the first five days of fall camp: OL Matt Privette (head - day-to-day), WR Andy Shuler (knee - day-to-day), OL Jackson Smigiel (back - day-to-day), DB Rodger Walker (illness - day-to-day), LB Jamal Ware (back - day-to-day), DB Dante Blackmon (knee - needs further evaluation before playing status can be determined), DL Thomas Bronson (knee - needs further evaluation before playing status can be determined), OL Tucker Lee (finger - needs further evaluation before playing status can be determined) and DB Alex Gray (thigh - 4-6 weeks). Additionally, Tyson Fernandez (foot), who was injured during offseason workouts, is expected to be out another 4-6 weeks.
WHAT'S UP NEXT
Appalachian holds one practice on Thursday. All practices are closed to the general public but GoASU.com will have exclusive updates from the practice field throughout fall camp.
Photo Courtesy: Jamal Jackson, ASU Athletics