The opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author.
Today begins the AFCA Coaches’ Convention in Nashville. This was the event that Satterfield had previously stated he hoped to hire an Offensive Coordinator at. While that looks to be true, he has wasted little time in finding a replacement for the recently-demoted Dale Jones as Defensive Coordinator.
Then on Friday, Todd Shanesy of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal broke the story that the Era of Attack had struck a deep blow into the Upstate. Nathan Warren Woody, Defensive Coordinator at Wofford, is likely going to be Satterfield’s Defensive Coordinator.
Unlike the exodus of coaches from ASU to WCU last season, this news was a lightning bolt to the SoCon. Woody, the DC of the Terriers since 2000, has done more with less than arguably anyone else in the nation. Wofford ranked as the number one defense in the SoCon two of the last three seasons, and the other season was a close second. In the playoffs, Wofford only gave up three points to New Hampshire’s high-powered offense and then held eventual National Champions North Dakota State to 14 points.
Woody was an honorable mention All-American as an outside linebacker at Wofford and was a four-year starter from 1979-1983. After graduating, he became a Mike Ayers assistant from 1988-1993 before returning to the private sector in Charleston. He returned to Wofford for good in 1997 to coach linebackers.
Then in February 2000, newly-hired Defensive Coordinator Bruce Johnson dropped dead of a heart attack on the practice field. Woody was then hired as the Defensive Coordinator in April and maintained his ILB position.
Woody runs a base 3-4 at Wofford and based on the fact that ASU’s 3-4 was 8th in the conference and Wofford’s was 1st, I would say the man knows how to run a 3-4. Fans have been clamoring for a return to the 4-3 of the John Wiley years, but the results are hard to argue.
One thing that will be interesting to see is how it could adjust to FBS teams. There won’t be any team in any possible FBS conference for ASU that runs the Triple Option, which is what the 3-4 is primarily used to stop.
For Satterfield, he obviously was impressed that Woody’s defense was able to best his offense this past season. It seems obvious that this would be a pay increase for Woody, but more factors would be in play such as career advancement. For Mike Ayers and Wofford, he has had a lot of the same staff for a good number of years. So for someone to leave and go to a conference foe, it is quite striking and a big blow to the Wofford fan base. For example, Jake Teachey, the obvious replacement at DC for Woody, was offered the DC job at Western Carolina but turned it down. These offers seemingly come every off-season for Wofford coaches. And almost every time, Wofford’s coaches stay loyal to Ayers and stay.
Curious fans will look to dig deeper into this. It’s a very fascinating move from all aspects. Woody will have quite a few questions to answer when he is available next time.
What is known now is that when the story broke on Friday, Shanesy contacted Mike Ayers and he was convinced Woody was gone. Apparently Satterfield had interviews and was offered the job earlier in the week. However after a face-to-face meeting on Friday between Woody and Ayers, that’s when things became muddy. Either Woody wanted to think about it more or Ayers asked him to consider it further. Either way, Woody didn’t give a 100% answer. Ayers knows he can’t compete with ASU in terms of salary and has no illusions of it. It could just be a matter of semantics and getting all the ducks in a row. Then on Sunday the hints started coming out that Woody was going to take the offer, mainly that Wofford’s recruits are being told that Woody is gone and now on Monday, there’s been no news to the contrary so all signs are good.
With Woody likely now the Defensive Coordinator and Jones probably moving to Defensive Line Coach, all that is left is the Offensive Coordinator. All hints have been that it’ll be someone from the outside and it won’t be promotion from within. App fans should know something by later this week and hopefully I’ll have another bio to write for next week’s article.
This Week In Hoops – Ugh
On Saturday the ASU Women’s Hoops team traveled down US-421 an I-77 to Davidson to play their kryptonite, the Davidson Wildcats. Last year Annoying Private School #5 took both meetings due to their use of zone defense and officiating bad enough in the second meeting to get Darcie Vincent a SoCon reprimand.
At halftime the score was tied at 32-32. 12 minutes into the second half, it was 52-36 Davidson and the final was 65-49. Probably the worst effort from this team in a long time. It got so bad that Darcie stopped yelling. After the game, Darcie let loose as Darcie can. She hates losing to annoying private schools three times in a row as much as most of us.
The ladies, RPI 95 but sure to drop, return to action tonight as they continue their road trip at Furman (RPI 180). Tip off is at 7 pm. Darcie thinks her team has no chance in this game so let’s see how they respond. Furman is currently 5-7 on the season with two wins over sub-D1 opponents and other wins over USC-Upstate (RPI 233), High Point (RPI 172) an Mercer (RPI 222). They are 0-1 in SoCon play after getting drubbed 65-33 by Samford (RPI 278) back on December 3rd in Birmingham.
After a meaningless game against Milligan seemingly four years ago, the men, RPI 329, will return to the hardwood in the Upstate a day after the ladies as they resume SoCon play at Wofford. Tip off Tuesday night is at 7 pm.
Wofford, RPI 167, is currently 6-8 on the year with one of those wins against a sub-D1. They have only had three home games all year so far, but have won all of them (sub D1 Webber International, Gardner-Webb, RPI 207, and Winthrop, RPI 193). They have struggled in their road schedule, but picked up a major upset on December 22nd as they won 56-55 at mid-major power Xavier (RPI 99). They followed it up with a 74-39 beating at the hands of Virginia (RPI 166) and then a 62-48 loss at Tulane (RPI 120), the school that broke up the Big East. Their lone excursion into SoCon play was a tough one as they traveled to Belk Arena to play Davidson (RPI 82). The Terriers came up short 63-56 in that game, but it propelled the team to their blowout win over Jacksonville (RPI 269) and then the Xavier win before falling off again.
Then on Saturday we have ourselves a super-duper Saturday hoops doubleheader! After being dismantled by Furman on Monday, the ladies will return home on Saturday to be dismantled by Western on Saturday, or so Darcie says. Regardless, tip-off is at 2 pm. Then the men open their home conference schedule with a biggie as they host Elon at 4:30 pm. Last year the team traded blowout wins at home.
For the ladies, Western in currently 4-8 on the year. The Catamounts just snapped a five-game losing streak with a 54-40 home win over Wofford on Saturday to get to 2-1 in conference play. WCU’s other two SoCon games in December were a 47-44 home win over UNCG (RPI 328) and then a 64-48 home loss to Elon (RPI 240) two days later. Their other wins on the year have been on the road at UNCA (RPI 336) and at home over NC Central (RPI 337). As the ASU women at at Furman, the WCU women will be in Eastern Georgia taking on the Eagles (RPI 335). Currently WCU’s RPI is 331 so ASU should be favored by a country mile except in Darcie’s mind.
Elon, RPI 79, is currently 8-6 on the year. Under third-year coach and former McKillop disciple Matt Matheny, the Phoenix are 1-1 in the SoCon and 2-1 in the Ivy League. Two of their wins was against sub-D1 competition so they are 6-6 against D1 teams. One common opponent in South Carolina (RPI 222), who Elon beat 65-53 in Columbia. The Phoenix followed this up with a 90-81 setback in Lexington against VMI (RPI 317). After this, Elon had a two-game foray into SoCon play as they won 55-50 at Georgia Southern (RPI 229) and then in a battle of early favorites, lost 56-54 at home to College of Charleston (RPI 75). Elon’s other road losses have come to Butler (RPI 10), in overtime to UMass (RPI 43) and at Duke (RPI 1), which isn’t anything to sneer at. The Phoenix are coming off a 74-64 home loss to Princeton (RPI 164), which ruined their potential perfect record against the Ivies after beating Dartmouth (RPI 288) and Columbia (RPI 240).
So got that? Women versus Western at 2:00 pm. Men versus Elon at 4:30 this Saturday. Early forecast is partly clouds, highs in the low 50’s, lows in the low 40’s, or as we mountain people call it, take off your jacket weather. No excuses from App Nation to miss this so put your baby blue windbreakers in the closet and drive up the mountain.
How Bad Can It Get? – SoCon Hoops RPI Rankings
Look at these rankings. Now that conference play takes over, these rankings will bottom out from here on. There are 347 NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball teams and here’s how the SoCon teams rank.
229. Georgia Southern
279. Western Carolina
329. App St
346. El Citadel
If it makes anyone feel better, a certain coach that shall not be named’s team is at 305, one spot worse than “basketball school” Old Dominion.
And from the women, out of 345 NCAA Division 1 teams. Fun fact, the only two D1 teams not to have women’s basketball are current SoCon member El Citadel and former SoCon member VMI.
95. App St
331. Western Carolina
335. Georgia Southern
Respect The Mat – ASU Wrestling This Week
Wrestling returned to the mat this past Sunday as they traveled to Edwardsville, Illinois for a tri-meet as they took on new SoCon associate member SIU-Edwardsville and then dabbled in non-conference action against Northern Illinois. The Apps took the opening match against SIU-E (or according to their logo SIU-e) 28-9 to extend their SoCon winning streak to 10 dual meets. Chris Johnson scored a pin at 149 pounds, Dominic Parasi won at 125 pounds via forfeit (not his first forfeit victory as many programs don’t have a 125-pound wrestler) and the rest of the wins were via point decisions.
The Apps then fell in the following match 26-12 to Northern Illinois. Parasi, Zachary Strickland at 165 pounds, Colin Hedash at 174 pounds and Paul Weiss at 197 pounds were able to win both their matches on the day.
The App Mat Wrestlers return to action next Tuesday the 15th as they defend home turf in SoCon action against the Camels of Campbell. First match is at 6:30 pm in Varsity Gym.
-As already mentioned, North Dakota State won the NCAA Division I Championship again. You know, that tournament ASU was in seemingly a decade ago? Anyway, they beat Sam Houston State in the title game for the second year in a row, this time by the score of 39-13. The score was 10-10 at halftime before the Bison exploded in the second half, taking advantage of turnovers and an accidental two-point conversion for the repeat. Much props to NDSU and their fans for out-numbering the SHSU fans in their home state again.
-Remember, SoCon Hoops Tournament is only two months away. Use your tax returns and get to Asheville to cheer on the ASU teams. And even if they lose, there’s about four-hundred bars and/or restaurants within seven blocks of the Civic Center. I had a blast last year and want to see more people this year in what could be one of ASU’s last ever SoCon Tourneys in Asheville.
-Late note. WCU coach Mark Speir has issued an open invitation for Jerry Moore to come down to the Whee and consult. Not surprising since Moore is still bitter with ASU. It’s not the first program to contact him about consulting or fundraising and won’t be the last. As long as Moore still thinks he was blindsided, we probably won’t see a Jerry Moore Appreciation Day next fall, despite everyone else in App Nation wanting it. We’ll see if time can heal all wounds.