Appalachian State Mountaineers’ New Offense and Strong Defense: Can They Generate More Big Plays?

Appalachian State Mountaineers offensive coordinator Kevin Barbay recently departed for Mississippi State. Now, replenished by Frank Ponce, the team’s offensive coordinator during 2007-2012 and 2021, he constructs a new offense around his new quarterback.

Redshirt freshman Ryan Burger, the promising youthful choice, and JUCO transfer Joey Aguilar, the seasoned alternative, supersede Chase Brice, who completed his term as quarterback. The top four wide receivers of the previous season, Christan Horn, Dashawn Davis, Kaedin Robinson, and Dalton Stroman, are back to provide support and stretch the field.

Newcomers from the JUCO ranks will enrich the depth of the receiving corps. Nate Noel, Ahmani Marshall, and Navy transfer Maquel Haywood usher in a potently agile running game to ease the pressure on the incoming quarterback.

Counting on Georgia transfer Griffin Scroggs to shine as a guard and Damion Daley to ace his transition from guard to tackle, the line anchored by C Isaiah Helms might turn out to be the Sun Belt’s best.

Despite a struggle with third downs and a sporadic absence of a strong pass rush, the Mountaineers’ defense remains strong. Markus Clark is anticipated to play a pivotal role in the defensive line, with fellow sophomores Deandre Dingle-Prince and others shouldering the pressure from the backfield.

While the linebacker crew is predominantly young, the core of their group is an experienced binder in the form of Andrew Parker. Tyrek Funderburk, a solid veteran corner transfer from Richmond, bolsters the secondary.

With potency in safety positions, Nick Ross, Ronald Clarke, and Jordan Favors make up a strong safety unit. The team’s goal now is to generate big plays after managing only seven interceptions last season.