The sophomore phenom hasn’t played in nearly a month since reinjuring his throwing shoulder in a 45-31 loss at Wofford — ASU’s only hiccup this season. Edwards originally sprained his shoulder during Appalachian’s (5-1, 1-1) season-opening win at Michigan, and after three weeks of rest, he’ll probably start this weekend’s game with Georgia Southern, Mountaineer coach Jerry Moore said Tuesday morning.
Edwards, the reigning Southern Conference and College Sporting News freshman of the year, has been practicing and bench pressed 450 pounds on Monday.
“He’s fine,” Moore said. “We’ll just see how the week goes.”
Senior Trey Elder has filled in admirably during Edwards’ absence, and Moore doesn’t change his game plan or think there’s much off a drop-off when the team switches quarterbacks. Elder is 4-0 as the starter.
“Armanti probably can make you miss a little more than Trey,” Moore said. “That’s about the only thing. They are both good leaders.”
Said Eagle coach Chris Hatcher: “The Edwards kid is a little bit faster, and then Elder is a little bit better passer. With both of those quarterbacks, they pretty much do the same thing.”
When it comes to production, Appalachian’s offense doesn’t miss a beat with Elder at the helm, and Moore said his players honestly have no preference as to which quarterback is on the field.
“They just don’t care,” he said. “We’ve got a neat situation. They don’t ever think twice about it, and they’d don’t ever even talk about it. Walk through the locker room, training room or stand out there waiting for practice to get started — you don’t ever hear any discussion about. I think that’s a good thing.”
Foster added to Payton Award watch list
The Sports Network added GSU senior quarterback Jayson Foster to the Walter Payton Award watch list Tuesday. The accolade goes to the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision. Former standout Adrian Peterson is the only Georgia Southern player who’s won it.
Foster is ranked fourth nationally in rushing (159.3 ypg) and scoring (15.0 ppg) and 16th in total offense (280.8). He’s rushed for 956 yards and 15 touchdowns and completed 67 of 99 passes for 729 yards and three scores this season.
ASU running back Kevin Richardson and Citadel quarterback Duran Lawson are also on the watch list for the award, which will be announced Dec. 13 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
In Moore’s 19 years in the SoCon, he can’t remember a year where there’s been so much parity. Wofford (3-0) is the only undefeated team in league play, while The Citadel, Elon and Chattanooga — traditionally lower-tier teams — sit at 2-1. Usual powers ASU (1-1), Georgia Southern (1-2) and Furman (0-2) are at the bottom looking up.
“I don’t know who you’d want to pick to go play,” Moore said.
Furman coach Bobby Lamb isn’t the least bit surprised and actually predicted such balance during the preseason.
“If you look over the last 10 years, it has been a top-heavy league, meaning there’s been three teams or two that have basically dominated the league year in and year out,” he said. “And now what you are seeing is a lot of the bottom-tier teams in the past years really step their game up. They’ve done a great job, and it’s making it tough.”
Lamb credited the league’s improvement to an influx of talented coaches, specifically, The Citadel’s Kevin Higgins, Georgia Southern’s Chris Hatcher and Pete Lembo at Elon.
“It’s a very difficult league from top to bottom, and that’s good,” Lamb said. “It’s good for the Southern Conference, good for competition and it makes our conference look a lot better.”
‘In the worst kind of way’
Needless to say, being 0-2 in league play is a little unsettling for a powerhouse like Furman. The Paladins are desperate for a victory at Chattanooga this weekend after dropping a wild overtime game at The Citadel last Saturday.
“We need a win in the worst kind of way,” Lamb said.
Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.