Monday, September 22, 2008

Appalachian may redshirt injured RB Moore

The loss of Appalachian State starting running back Devon Moore to an ankle injury (it could be one of those nagging high ankle sprains or even a fracture, Mountaineers officials aren't saying for privacy reasons) for at least six weeks means that Moore, a junior, will likely be given a medical redshirt season. That's unfortunate for Moore, who was off to a solid start with 22 carries for 133 yards, a 5.6 average. But don't expect the ASU running game to miss a beat.

That's because Appalachian has a sophomore RB named Robert Welton. He scored the team's only TD at LSU, then rushed for 161 yards against Jacksonville, but folks brushed that off because the Dolphins don't give scholarships and were overpowered on the line in that game.

Saturday, though, was different. After Moore's departure in what would prove to be a 35-32 loss at James Madison, Welton took over and, running through much smaller holes, gained 92 yards on 17 carries. And perhaps 50 of those yards came after he was first hit by JMU.

While he did lose a critical fumble late, it was after an 11-yard gain in which he broke several tackles, and the ball was poked out from behind.

Welton, a 5-foot-11, 215-pound sophomore, has more power than Moore, but it's becoming clear that he is at least as fast as well.

Now, after three games, he has 28 carries for 256 yards, a 9.1 average.

And I think we have seen the beginnings of the next great Appalachian running back.

-- The foot injury suffered by 6-2, 250-pound DE Tony Robertson could cost him six weeks or so and will likely hurt more. Robertson, a junior, was a force in the defensive line. He will be replaced by someone with less experience, probably either sophomore Jabari Fletcher or freshman Lanston Tanyi. Robertson could also be redshirted.