Football has changed. It’s no longer about defense, good tackling or I-Formations. It’s an endless series of quick drives, fought by skill players and speedy backs. Football, and its innovation of spread offenses, has become a well-oiled machine. Football has changed. Flashy new players carry flashy new equipment, use flashy new plays. Specialized meals inside their bodies enhance and regulate their abilities. Department expectations. Booster expectations. Institutional expectations. Student expectations. Everything is monitored and has heightened expectations. Football has changed. The age of defense has become the age of offense. All in the name of averting termination from angry boosters. And he who controls the ball, controls history. Football has changed. When the team is under total expectations, football….becomes everything.

App fans have had just over one week to digest the end of the Jerry Moore era. For a while last week, it appeared to get ugly. After Cobb’s statement last Sunday, Moore went to the media on Wednesday to tell his side of the story. Moore said he was blindsided by this, wanted to coach one more year and didn’t remember the conversation Cobb said they had last off-season.

After this, Moore supporters were even more outraged. So after some idiot posted his cell phone number on App Fan, Chancellor Peacock released a statement of his own backing up Cobb and said he had documentation to prove it, which turned people against him as well. Keith Jarrett of the Asheville Citizen-Times joined The Cult of Moore while Steven Beck of the Triad Sports Network joined the Cobb Squad and expressed the two dissenting views of a fractured fanbase. The AC-T has submitted a Freedom of Information Act to see such documentation Peacock described. So we will see who was telling the truth if anyone was. In my opinion, this could shed some light on the Chris Moore situation from last off-season which seemed like the genesis for the Cobb/Moore feud.

As expected, the majority of fans have taken the side of Coach Moore, who found himself in the same position as Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno before him. A long-time succesful coach who has slipped a bit since his highest heights as a coach but is loved by many. Going 215-87 in his 23 seasons at ASU looks very good and not deserving of being forced out. To students, he is a grandfather-like figure who is a beacon of everything that is good about Appalachian State. To the alumni/fan base, he is the humble, God-fearing example that they wish to follow. It’s very easy to like Jerry Moore and in some cases, even look at him in a godly way.

In the mostly-conservative world of college football fandom, saying “football is a religion” would boil the blood of many. In the literal sense of the world “religion”, football is exactly that. One of the definitions of religion is “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects”, which describes Appalachian State football to many. For some fans, Jerry is in the role of their deity as he is looked up to and can do no wrong in their eyes.

In that same vein, it’s very easy to dislike Charlie Cobb and think he’s the devil. A suit-wearing, calculated business man that in the eyes of many, had spoiled the pureness of ASU football. Perceived by many as an “outsider” who has swooped in from NC State and has taken ASU down a path to his liking without little regard to anyone else. And to the Cult of Moore, what exactly has Charlie Cobb done for us?

Okay. Besides the Appalachian Athletics Center, the second deck on the East Side, both entrance plazas, the new scoreboard, the new turf, plus the permanent bathrooms and concessions on the East Side, what else has he done?

Alright. Besides the new baseball facility which has permanent seating for the first time, their own locker room and coaches’ facility, an indoor hitting facility and a turf field which allows more home games in February/March, what else has Charlie Cobb done for App State?

Oh yeah, the new softball stadium which was the site of the old baseball field, which brought softball back on campus. Complete with state-of-the-art irrigation, coaches offices and amenities good enough to host the 2012 SoCon Softball Tournament. Besides that, what else has Charlie Cobb done for Appalachian?

That? It’s the indoor practice facility, located next to the softball field. It has been an invaluable tool for all varsity sports to practice and not be effected by the elements. Coach Moore himself gave a lot of credit to this facility being a key to holding full practices during the snowy week heading into the Georgia Southern game. But what else has Charlie Cobb done?

Oh the soccer stadium. After the HCSA needed some help to finish the Ted Mackerol Soccer Complex, Cobb and ASU stepped in to help finish it and gave the soccer programs a permanent home after going back and forth between the easily water-logged and highly-inaccessible field at State Farm and KBS, which was too narrow for a college team. Since the above picture was taken, there have been locker rooms, permanent concession stands and bathrooms added to the south end (right side of the pic). It was good enough to host the 2011 SoCon Men’s Soccer Tournament. Besides all that, has Cobb done anything for ASU?

Oh yeah, the restoration of Varsity Gym which now house the ASU Golf Indoor Performance Lab, the wrestling practice facility, offices and home matches, a mondo track on the second floor for ASU indoor track and is used for intramural sports and basketball practices.

But wait, it takes funds to built these things. All these were built after the National Championships that Coach Moore won! Take that Cobb!

Remember the first home game of 2005? You know, before any National Championships? The first home game in Charlie Cobb’s tenure? Well I remember that the crowd was over 23,000 that day after averaging less than 15,000 a game the year before. It wasn’t because of any excitement the team created as they were unranked and just came off being drubbed by Kansas and barely beating Eastern Kentucky. There was an excitement brought to ASU by the team of Cobb and Peacock. Growth would have happened regardless of the 3-Peat and Michigan. With the team of Cobb and Peacock plus the success of the football team, record Yosef Club donations were recorded for eight years in a row plus the Campaign for Appalachian was launched plus the 2020 Master Plan was started.

Point is that it takes multiple parts to make what happened from 2005 onward. Cobb, Peacock, Moore, the players, the boosters and the students formed a proverbial Justice League to accomplish everything that was done. Moore might have had a direct role in it, but he was helped by an increase in resources from Cobb. The story was that in their first meeting as AD and Coach, Cobb asked Moore what he could do from him and Moore asked for new uniforms, which he got. Now this was a time where many felt Cobb would fire Moore and bring in his own coach after a 6-5 season and missing the playoffs again. At a pivotal crossroads in ASU Football history, Cobb backed Moore in a time when he wasn’t yet a legend.

Before Cobb and Peacock, the leadership or Chancellor Borkowski and AD Laney were determined the keep ASU as small time as possible. Year after year of “we can’t” and continued stagnation. The initial FBS study back in the late 90′s was brought on by booster pressure and even though the study recommended to stay FCS, there was found the potential to one day be FBS. However the admins never intended to act on this and thus things didn’t change until both retired in 2003-2004.

After eight years a piece on the job, Cobb and Peacock have ASU on the verge of reaching their highest potential. Facilities, even by the ever-increasing standards of big-time college athletics, have been monumentally improved and are lauded nation-wide. It hasn’t all been roses and there have been some slip-ups along the way, but the road has been mostly uphill rather than downhill.

So to those who are attacking Cobb for not doing anything for Appalachian State, stop. If you want to attack him for getting rid of Jerry Moore or the way he did, then go ahead. It’s your opinion and not necessarily right or wrong. In his mind, Cobb is looking long-term toward a possible FBS move in the very-near future. According to many people, Jerry Moore wanted no part of FBS. Is it too much to think that Jerry would have retired if that happened in the next couple of weeks which is very possible? Even then, in my opinion fans would have felt that FBS was Cobb’s pipe dream and it was part of a plan to force Jerry out.

Point is, there was never going to be a good time to do this. Cobb was always going to get flack for this, deserved or not. Moore, whether intentional or not, caused the problems that he professed to not want with his comments. Even though both sides now are saying they’re past this, it will leave a mark on the fanbase that will linger for the entire off-season. The job of healing these rifts will unfortunately fall on the next head coach. Speaking of which….

So About That Head Football Coach Search

The big news coming out of last week is that Shawn Elliot, considered a front-runner, decided to stay at South Carolina as co-OC and offensive line coach. This has many people believing that the job is Satterfield’s to lose. However there is one name that is a proverbial dark horse to many and that’s current Arkansas RB coach/Recruiting Coordinator Tim Horton.

Horton was an ASU assistant coach from 1990-1998, first coaching the wide receivers and tight ends and then in 1993, became the recruiting coordinator and running back’s coach. He then had stints at Air Force, Kansas State and has been at Arkansas since 2007, staying on through Houston Nutt, Bobby Petrino and now has been retained by new coach Bret Bielema. He has expressed interest in the job before and has as good a resume as any realistic candidate. It is believed by those in the know that if Horton was given the job, he would keep Satterfield on in his current position and give him freedom to run the spread option.

As for the other speculated candidates in the above picture, they have all either interviewed or been considered. Elliot obviously is out, Satterfield is the favorite, Horton is the second favorite, Lonnie Galloway would want the job, John Settle is an outside chance, Mike O’Cain has reportedly interviewed, Ron Prince is worth thinking about, John Shoop is looking for a job and Brian Jean-Mary is an alum and successful defensive coach.

But of course, the front-runner at this point is Scott Satterfield. For the Team Moore supporters, it would be another blow to see Satterfield come back, be the unofficial head-coach-in-waiting, and then not get the job he had the inside track for. In some ways, he needs to be the coach and all this might be a formality, but never say never.

Regardless, the next ASU coach needs to be energetic, strong-willed, not afraid to make tough decisions and possibly be ready to take ASU to the next level.

Could this be the week for FBS?

Sun Belt Commisioner Karl Benson had a meeting with their member institutions after the defections of MTSU and FAU to Conference USA last Monday. Not many details came out of the meeting, but last Thursday this popped up on the Twitter-verse.

Sun Belt likely to expand by 2 over next 10 days w/ top candidate pool: Georgia Southern, Appalachian St, Jacksonville St, NMSU

When asked if the Sun Belt would bring back NMSU, Peloquin basically said they are the last choice in that group mostly due to geography.

If NMSU is eliminated, then most fans would probably think ASU and GSU are no-brainers. Jax St has had FBS aspirations for a long time, but haven’t been proactive in their quest. Not to mention they have a potential filibuster against them with in-state rival Troy, the same Troy that endorsed ASU and GSU to the Sun Belt last Sunday in an open letter to their fans.

While some have mentioned current FBS schools New Mexico State and Idaho, I believe two institutions from the FCS ranks, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, would fit well in our league and make a whole lot more geographical sense. – Troy AD John Hartwell

Another interesting tidbit that ultimately doesn’t mean much toward the current shift surfaced last Thursday when Cobb was interview on ESPN730.

Candidly we could be in an FBS league today that would involve schools all over America. Now that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever for Appalachian, really, other than being on a dance card. And we feel better about where we are, doing it the way we do it. – Charlie Cobb

So that pretty much confirms the WAC East Division rumors that were prevalent last off-season. Basically, in a last-ditch effort to save WAC Football, the conference approached several FCS programs out east and wanted them to move up in mass to save the league. Obviously that didn’t happen and WAC Football is now dead.

So basically the eyes of the App Universe will waiting to see who the Sun Belt calls. If such a moved happened, it probably would happen the year after next (2013-14), which would give ASU and GSU a year to make the initial transition and only have one more year left when the rest of the sports join. Of course there are other options which aren’t dead yet…

And Now We Show That Okam Free Throw That Has Gone Viral Plus This Week in Winter Sports

Amazingly, the saga of Jerry Moore became  the second-most-popular ASU story on the internet due to this.

Western didn’t waste any time getting that out there. Of course it’s completely deserved, but Western will still be Western and not miss any chance to hate on App State. What would they do without us? Well they might find out very soon…

As for the game itself, it wasn’t much better. ASU had a ten-point halftime lead and led by as much as 13 in the second half, but were outscored 40-21 in the final 16:30 of the game to fall in their SoCon opener. The team falls to 1-7 and 0-7 against D1 competition. After the game, Coach Capel skipped out on the Randy Jackson interview. Yes, he wouldn’t even come back out to answer Randy’s softball questions. Jay Canty finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, Nate Healy (who deserves better) got 15 points and nine rebounds and Tab Hamilton got 10 points.

The team takes a seven-day break due to exams and will resume play next Sunday the in non-conference action as they travel to the Midwest to play the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) Kangaroos of the Summit League at 2 pm. UMKC is 4-5 on the year (3-5 versus D1) and 1-1 in the Summit. The Kangaroos are 153rd in the RPI as of December 9th, so they should be favored against ASU, who are currently 336th, 12th from last in all of Division I. Amazingly, ASU is still ahead of last place (347th) El Citadel and next-to-last (346th) Furman. If you look at the RPI, there are five SoCon teams in the bottom 14. Yes, this league is terrible and in that vain, you can’t blame Charleston for leaving.

On the other end of the chromosome spectrum, women’s hoops continue to rule. WBB decimated Georgia Southern 79-47 in the Holmes Center last Tuesday. Star of the night was senior Courtney Freeman, who scored 24 points and nine rebounds en route to becoming the 22nd player in ASU history to score a 1,000 points in their career. Mariah Sydnor contributed 19 points and six rebounds and Anna Freeman got 14 points and six rebounds despite foul trouble. Anna is now eight points shy of joining the 1,500 point club, three points away from fourth on the all-time scoring list and 33 points away from third (held by former teammate Sam Ramirez). The team returns to action next week on Tuesday the 18th as they travel across the border to play ETSU in the Mini Dome. Tipoff is 4:45 pm.

Wrestling opened their SoCon schedule on Tuesday with a 21-19 victory over Gardner-Webb. The team then fell to Ohio on Sunday at Varsity Gym 28-10 for their first dual-meet loss on the season. Dominic Parasi (125) and Zach Strickland (165) remain perfect in dual meets this season as both moved to 5-0 individually. The team returns to tournament action this Sunday as they partake in the Reno Tournament in Reno, Nevada.

T-Notes

-Despite the whole “not having a permanent coach” thing, ASU received three pieces of good news on the recruiting front in the last week.

1) Eric Davidson, running back, is transferring from Utah to ASU next semester and will join the team. Davidson is originally from Western Guilford HS in Greensboro and walked on to Utah this season where he redshirted. With Davidson, Holloway, Frazier and Ferguson, competition for the starting job in the backfield will be fierce next fall.

2) Rashad Townes, a linebacker/cornerback from Howard HS in Macon, committed last Thursday after coming to Boone for the playoff game.

3) Anthony Covington, a three-star defensive back out of Mallard Creek HS in Charlotte, committed on Sunday. Covington originally has committed to Pitt, but a situation there with a local recruit led to re-opening his recruiting and ASU pounced. He will enroll at ASU next semester and could be a starter as a true freshman.

-A task panel created by new ETSU president Brian Noland recommended re-starting their football program, which was cut in 2003. Noland hopes to have the program kicking off in 2016 in a new, outdoor stadium. It has been hinted that if ETSU brings back football, they will be welcomed back to the SoCon if other schools leave. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing ETSU come across the border for a game when they start back up.

-Congrats to former Track and Field Coach Bob Pollock on being inducted into the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Association Hall of Fame.