This was going to be a brooding column about how utterly teeth-gritting it is to see Coastal Carolina – just four years removed from FCS – cracking the AP Top 25 as the Arkansas State Red Wolves once again allow opportunity to slip through its hairy paws. But who needs that? Why rehash the wounds of the past, present and certainly future when we can focus on all that’s right in the world?
For example, once again the finest wide receiving squad in the Sun Belt resides in Jonesboro, led by the pigskin-grabbing troika of Jay Adams, Dahu Green and
Taylor Stockamer Brandon Bowling.
Lost in all the wide receiver din is the noise created by Layne Hatcher and Logan Bonner, whose combined stats rank among the top five quarterbacks in the nation. Honestly, have we ever seen a dual QB situation that has produced results of equal excellence?
So we got those things going for us. And now, just in time for a Thursday night road match with Appalachian State, we have something else for which to arch a mischievous eyebrow: a change at defensive coordinator.
Over the weekend, the Red Wolves announced that the services of David Duggan were no longer required, much to the considerable chagrin of Coach Blake Anderson, who considers Duggan a close friend. What wasn’t very friendly was the defense’s results, which ranked 11th to last this season.
Co-special teams coordinator and safety coach Nick Paremski gets to improve his LinkedIN page for the time being, and what better clay to mold a resume than the Mountaineers, who entered the season tabbed as the conference’s best, only to see themselves (for the time being) usurped by the Chanticleers.
Ah, the Mountaineers! They of the one FCS win, and unconvincing win over Charlotte, an offensively anemic loss to Marshall and a nearly month long sabbatical from football (thanks, COVID-19!). How to define these guys? With the two low-level victories on the docket, it’s difficult to measure the offense and defense. The game against Marshall was depressingly mediocre for pre-season Sun Belt offensive player of the year Zach Thomas (260 yards, 1 TD and a pick), but was a flaming disaster for a once devastating run game (96 yards a no scores). Marshall boasts a tremendous defense, but you expected more from a team ranked #23 in the AP after week 2.
The Mountaineers have had a long month to prepare for the Red Wolves, who aren’t easy to define either. The Red Wolves are fresh off two wins, are fairly healthy (RB Maurice Murray and OL Andre Harris notwithstanding), and are likely determined to prove that they aren’t completely hopeless on defense. Arkansas State will roll into Boone fired up. Meanwhile, it’s not even clear if the Mountaineers remember if a football is shaped like a circle or a triangle.
So, like I said; lots of good news and positive waves for Arkansas State. You almost forget that the Red Wolves have never tasted the AP Top 25.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post had Eliah Drinkwitz still coaching the Mountaineers, and the Charlotte 49ers still in the FCS. What’s wrong with me? I’ll check my meds and get back to you.