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SoCon Notebook - ASU, UTC battle for early positioning

SoCon Notebook - ASU, UTC battle for early positioning

SoCon Notebook - ASU, UTC battle for early positioning


            For most teams, opening week is a good time to see how you match up against non-conference opponents and get a feel for where you’re at.

            One Southern Conference team will find itself immediately behind the eight ball, as Appalachian State and Chattanooga open the season with a league game at Chattanooga at 3 p.m. on SportSouth.

            “Our opponent in that first game is a pretty good one,” said second-year UTC coach Russ Huesman, “and we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

            The Mountaineers have named junior quarterback DeAndre Presley as record-shattering four-year starter Armanti Edwards’ replacement.

            “I think [Presley is] ready to play,” said ASU coach Jerry Moore. “He’s had a good camp and he had a great spring. He started four or five ballgames for us over a period of time while Armanti was dinged up, and he’s played well. He’s a highly competitive kid, and I think our players have great respect for him.”

            Huesman has seen it before. The Mountaineers (11-3, 8-0 in 2009) didn’t miss a beat when Richie Williams or Edwards started at quarterback their first season.

            “For 12 years in a row they’ve had a good one back there,” said the Mocs coach about the QB situation at ASU. “They’ve had to play with a true freshman or a new guy and they’ve won national championships. They do such a good job with their quarterbacks, and I think what’s going to help [Presley] is they’ve got so many guys around him who have played a ton of football. It’s going to make his life easier.”

            Still, Chattanooga (6-5, 4-4 SoCon in 2009) had its first winning record since 2005 last season, and with Tennessee transfer B.J. Coleman leading the offense at quarterback, the Mocs hope for continued improvement.

            “I don’t think there’s any question that they were the most improved team in our league last year,” said Moore. “They have a lot of guys back, and the first thing I think about is they have four or five offensive linemen back who maybe didn’t start but played a lot.”


Not quite yet

            The Furman Paladins (6-5, 5-3 in 2009) can wait another week before naming their starting quarterback.

            They had a scheduled matchup Saturday with Presbyterian, but the Blue Hose dropped the game for a trip to Wake Forest, forcing Furman to schedule a mid-season game with Howard. Starting next week, the Paladins will be forced to play 11 in a row without a break.

            For now, they can let mobile UCLA transfer quarterback Chris Forcier and senior pocket passer Cody Worley battle it out to replace Furman’s all-time leading passer Jordan Sorrells.

“Right now we’re not ready to name a starter,” said FU coach Bobby Lamb. “We’re splitting reps again this week, and I’m not sure that we’ll name one or not. Maybe we’ll just show up at Paladin Stadium and see which one goes out there first.”

The Paladins open the season at home against Colgate on Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.


Early test

            The Duke Blue Devils struggled to run the football against the Atlantic Coast Conference last season, but they’ll give it a shot against Elon (9-3, 7-1 in 2009) when they host the Phoenix Saturday at 7 p.m.

            “I don’t think there’s any question if I were sitting in their shoes,” said Elon coach Pete Lembo, “I’d be saying, ‘We’ve got to find out of we can run the football against Elon.’ I’m sure they want to test it out at some point early in the ballgame.”

            The Phoenix made the FCS playoffs for the first time in program history in 2009 and return senior quarterback Scott Riddle, the preseason SoCon offensive player of the year. They’ll still need to find a replacement for the Division I all-time leading receiver Terrell Hudgins.


A good rehearsal

            Jeff Monken thought things went smoothly at last Friday’s Georgia Southern (5-6, 4-4 in 2009) scrimmage, which was the last before the season kicks off Saturday at 6 p.m. at Paulson Stadium against Savannah State.

            “It went good for the first time,” said the first-year GSU coach. “For a lot of us this is our first time working together, and we worked out all the kinks.”

            He wasn’t talking about the players, but the coaches, who simulated in-game playcalling for the first time Friday.

            Monken is still unsure what he will see out of the players when they take the field for the first time against another team.

NOTES: The Citadel will break in its new triple-option offense with one of two freshman quarterbacks when the Bulldogs (4-7, 2-6 in 2009) open the season at home against Chowan Saturday at 1 p.m. … Samford (5-6, 3-5 in 2009) will open the season on the road in Tallahassee, Fla. when it faces face first-year coach Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles Saturday at noon on ESPNU. … Wofford (3-8, 2-6 in 2009) will also face FBS competition when it opens its season on the road at Ohio Saturday at 7 p.m. … Western Carolina (2-9, 1-7 in 2009) plays N.C. State on the road at 6 p.m.


            Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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