By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
SOCON Football Notebook - Appalachian State coach leery of GSU's defense
Placeholder Image

    There is no doubt in Appalachian State football head coach Jerry Moore’s mind that the triple-option offense is the perfect fit for Georgia Southern.
    Moore, however, said defense is a major reason for the Eagles' success.
    “When you go back to the history and the story of football at Georgia Southern, Erk Russell was the coach and he used the triple-option well,” Moore said Tuesday morning. “Paul (Johnson) worked for him, and Paul became the head coach there, and they both won national championships.  And the people there believe in that. It’s exciting. It’s a good offense.
“But you get caught up a little bit in their offense. Their defense is really good. They’ve always played really good defense. You can have all that offense you want, but you better be able to play some defense. And that gets overlooked a lot of times.
    “I think the tradition there just calls for (the triple-option). A couple of guys have gone in there and tried to throw the ball, and probably if they’d have had some success with it, and won a national championship, that would be the way to go. But it’s real easy to overlook how well their defense is playing.”
    Moore and his No. 5 Mountaineers (5-2, 3-1) will attempt to stop the triple-option when the No. 1 Eagles (7-0, 5-0) play at 3 p.m. Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Appalachian State is coming off a 35-17 victory over Samford on Saturday. GSU beat Presbyterian, 48-14.
    GSU is ranked 34th in the Football Championship Subdivision in total defense, allowing 337.57 yards per game. Appalachian State is 69th, giving up 369.71 yards per game.
    Offensively, GSU is second in the nation, averaging 487.29 yards per game. The Mountaineers are 32nd, averaging 400.86 yards per game.
    Moore said Appalachian State’s defense must contain GSU’s offense. The key to stopping the triple-option?
    “Number one, you better tackle well,” Moore said. “That’s always, I think, the case when you’re playing anybody. I don’t care if it’s Samford last week or whoever it is. I don’t think there’s anything magic about anybody’s offense. It’s more about what your defense can do.
    “You better tackle well. The thing that schools like Georgia Southern, us a little bit, and Wofford present ­— we don’t run as much option as they do — but you have got to be sound in your adjustments and the things that you’re trying to do.”
    Moore said it is too early to tell if GSU’s triple-option this season, Jeff Monken’s second season as the Eagles’ head coach, is as good as those that won six national championships.
 “They’re a good football team,” Moore said. “I think it’s hard to compare other teams like that. They’re a good football team. Whether they’re a national champion like those other teams they’ve had down there, who knows? Only time will tell that.
    "There’s always a lot of things that can happen, and you just don’t know. They’ve done a great job, I think, of getting Georgia Southern kind of back on track. And they never were too far off, to be real honest.”

The Citadel
    The Citadel defeated Western Carolina, 35-7, on Saturday. The Bulldogs (3-4, 2-4) will play Virginia Military Institute in a non-conference game Saturday before facing GSU on Nov. 5 at Paulson Stadium.
    “It was a real nice win, of course, at Western Carolina,” The Citadel head coach Kevin Higgins said. “It was our second road game in a row, a Southern Conference win, and that’s a challenge that we put to our players prior to the game.
    “I was really happy with how our guys played with emotion and responded. It was the most complete game of the season since Game 1 (a 31-9 non-conference victory over Jacksonville).”

    Furman beat Wofford, 26-21, on Saturday. The Paladins (4-3, 3-2) will play at Chattanooga (4-4, 2-3) on Saturday.
    Wofford (5-2, 3-1) will play Elon (4-4, 2-3) on Saturday before the No. 9 Terriers face GSU on Nov. 12 in Spartanburg, S.C.
    “We made some improvement from the previous week,” Furman coach Bruce Fowler said. “We really needed to get a win. We had dropped two straight conference games there against Samford and Georgia Southern.”
   Noell Barnidge can be reached at (912) 489-9408.