Appalachian State University football held the final two-a-day practices of its 2014 fall camp on Friday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Once again, Appalachian State held its more grueling practice of the day in the morning. The Mountaineers donned full pads for the two-hour morning session, which
concluded with back-to-back 11-on-11 periods.
The first 11-on-11 period featured second-and-12 situations, giving the offense two plays to try to pick up a first down against the defense. The period began with a flurry, with defensive ends Ronald Blair (Greensboro, Ga./Greene County) and Deuce Robinson (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) combining for a sack on the first play, quarterback Kameron Bryant (Cary, N.C./Panther Creek) finding leaping wideout Bobo Beathard (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) for a long gain on the second play and Blair teaming up with Curtiss Benton (Covington, Ga./Alcovy) for another sack on the third play.
After the lively start to the period, other highlights included true freshman middle linebacker Eric Boggs (Belton, S.C./Belton-Honea Path) dropping deep into coverage and making a terrific diving interception, tight end Barrett Burns (Woodstock, Ga./Etowah) taking a short pass from Bryant and turning it into a long gain over the middle and true freshman defensive lineman Alanmicheal Harkness (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) coming free up the middle for a sack.
In the final period of the morning, the offense and defense squared off in the red zone with the series starting at the 18 yard line. As expected on the short field, the offense enjoyed the majority of the success in the red-zone period, finding paydirt four times in six possessions.
Bryant threw touchdown passes to Beathard and Malachi Jones (Roswell, Ga./Central Gwinnett) and Eric Davidson (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) and Jalin Moore (Shelby, N.C./Crest) scored on the ground to account for the four red-zone touchdowns. The first defensive stop ended with a sack by a host of Mountaineers while the second stop came courtesy of a George Vinson (Damascus, Md./Damascus) sack and Devan Stringer (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) tackle for loss.
The afternoon practice was a lighter workout conducted in helmets and shorts and focused largely on special teams. However, the day ended with one of the most amusing displays of camp to date when the offensive and defensive lines squared off in a punt-catching competition.
For the defensive line, Blair and Robinson both cleanly fielded booming punts off the foot of Bentlee Critcher (South Daytona, Fla./Warner Christian Academy) but Tyson Fernandez (Fuquay-Varina, N.C./Fuquay-Varina) could not haul his in. For the offensive line, Beau Nunn (York, S.C./York Comprehensive) and Jesse Chapman (Cookeville, Tenn./Cookeville) caught their punts but, despite donning receivers gloves, Parker Collins (North Augusta, S.C./North August) had the ball bounce off his chest.
The tiebreaker came down to the respective groups coaches Dwayne Ledford for the offensive line and Mark Ivey for the defensive line. Due in some part to interference from strength and conditioning coach Mike Sirignano, Ledford was not able to make the catch. With the competition on the line, Ivey circled under the ball several times but made a bobbling snag to clinch the DLs victory, setting off a wild celebration among the defensive unit.
After participating in the morning, running back Marcus Cox (Dacula, Ga./Dacula) missed his first full practice of fall camp when he sat out of the afternoon session. The Doak Walker Award candidate is day-to-day with a minor lower-body injury.
Appalachian State holds its annual Fan Fest on Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Gates open at 5 p.m. for Junior Mountaineer Kids Club members and at 5:30 p.m. for the general public. Children that wish to join the Junior Mountaineer Kids Club and gain the exclusive early entry to Fan Fest can do so beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Admission and parking for Fan Fest are FREE.