|Appalachian State returns to practice amid hype, distractions|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 04 September 2007 15:02|
BOONE, N.C. (AP) -Coach Jerry Moore tried his best to follow the normal routine Tuesday for Appalachian State's first padded practice since its upset of then-No. 5 Michigan.|
But this workout was unlike any other in school history.
Television cameras lined the field, a satellite truck was parked at one end of the stadium and four sports information employees stood with phones for players to do interviews after practice
Oh, and there was only one goalpost. The other was still being fixed after being torn down by students Saturday and left on the chancellor's lawn.
``Now we know how celebrities feel,'' quarterback Armanti Edwards said.
And there was some sense the Mountaineers were getting a little overwhelmed by the attention they've received since pulling off perhaps the biggest upset in college football history.
``We still have to perform even though you have ESPN on the field,'' said safety Corey Lynch, who blocked Michigan's game-winning field goal attempt on the final play Saturday. ``We did feel like rock stars coming into campus. You would think we were the biggest rock band in the country. We just played a football game.''
But a game that will be remembered for a long time and will forever change this once little-known, lower-division school nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina.
``We're just not used to this notoriety,'' Moore said.
Moore has done almost 100 interviews since Saturday afternoon. His players have talked with national publications, done live radio and TV interviews, and after practice Tuesday did several outtakes for ESPN's College GameDay.
But considering all the distractions, Moore was happy with how his team practiced Tuesday.
``I usually go by how many mistakes we make. We didn't make a lot of mistakes,'' Moore said. ``It was about what we expected. Tomorrow they'll be sharper.''
Some players were still feeling the effects of the physical toll from Saturday's game against the bigger and stronger Wolverines.
Edwards, who threw three touchdown passes, aggravated a left shoulder injury in the game and sat out practice Tuesday.
``Armanti is just tired,'' Moore said. ``He got hit a lot. I think he'll be fine. We gave him a day to rest to catch his breath.''
Lynch said his body has recovered after playing every snap against Michigan.
``I can't tell you how sore I was. I couldn't have played another play,'' Lynch said. ``I think we played 14 people on defense, so that's three subs.''
Lynch feels the Mountaineers will avoid a letdown Saturday when they go from playing the nation's winningest program in front of 109,000 fans at the Big House to hosting tiny Division II Lenoir-Rhyne.
The Bears, of Hickory, N.C., lost their opener to Virginia Union 28-13 in the first game under Fred Goldsmith, the former Duke and Rice coach.
``I can't speak for Appalachian other than if Jerry allows his coaches to show the film of our Virginia Union game, they're going to see a big difference between Virginia Union, Lenoir-Rhyne and Michigan,'' Goldsmith said Tuesday. ``I'll put it that way.''
Moore thinks his players will avoid a major letdown - and what could be a record crowd might help out. Kidd Brewer Stadium has 16,650 seats, but there are open areas where more fans can gather.
The phone was ringing off the hook at the school's booster club Tuesday, and Moore thinks it's possible there could be 30,000 fans there Saturday afternoon.
It would be an awesome deal,'' Moore said. ``It would be a real tribute.''
Moore realizes this is magical time for the school and the players. It's why he's not limiting the television, radio and print interviews.
``I told them to enjoy this. We're not fixing to take that away from you,'' Moore said. ``You might as well open the door and let them do it and not have any strings attached.''
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