Tuesday, August 5, 2008

ASU's secondary lacks experience, not talent

It's understood that Appalachian State has a busload of talent returning this year, but if the team has a weakness, most people think it will be in the secondary, where the Mountaineers lost all four starters from last season - cornerbacks Jerome Touchstone and Justin Woazeah, and safeties Titus Howard and Corey Lynch.

Plenty of talent remains in the defensive backfield, though.

"We had tremendous playmakers back there," said ASU defensive coordinator John Wiley. "But with (safeties) Leonard Love and Billy Riddle and (CB) Cortez Gilbert, we could still (start) with two seniors and a junior back there. So we may not be as young as a lot of people are projecting us to be.

"They're good football players; they just happened to play behind some guys in front of them through most of their career and now it's time to shine."

Cornerback Jared Reine and safety Mark LeGree, both sophomores and both with good shots at starting, add to the talent level. Wiley said several athletic freshman will also be in the mix.

So the problem won't be a lack of talent.

"If there's going to be a drop-off, it's going to be a drop off in experience," Wiley said.

- Stan Olson