The first weekly teleconference took place today as the media was presented with the opportunity to ask questions to each Sun Belt head coach. Underdog Dynasty was represented and here are the highlights.
Scott Satterfield (Appalachian State)
- Satterfield mentioned that it will be very difficult to run the ball against Georgia on Saturday as they have one of the better front sevens in the country.
- App State must play great at the line of scrimmage to have a chance at an upset victory.
Trooper Taylor (Arkansas State)
- Blake Anderson was unable to participate today due to his wife undergoing a medical procedure. Wendy Anderson is currently fighting breast cancer. Cornerbacks and assistant head coach Trooper Taylor filled in for Anderson today.
- Taylor states “it feels like Christmas” and the Red Wolves are just ready to hit the field to play somebody.
- Taylor was very complimentary of Nebraska fans and knows it’s going to be a very loud atmosphere in Memorial Stadium this Saturday.
- The Red Wolves got off to extremely slow start last year and Taylor mentioned to not “beat ourselves” before Sun Belt play begins.
Jamey Chadwell (Coastal Carolina)
- The Chants and Chadwell are very excited about the challenge of playing new teams as they are now a full-time FBS member.
- Chadwell believes that opening opponent UMass is talented on both sides of the ball. Chadwell states UMass quarterback Andrew Ford and tight end Adam Breneman are both “really good”. The Minutemen have a defensive coordinator in Ed Pinkham and he likes to blitz a lot.
Tyson Summers (Georgia Southern)
- It was a “great fall camp” in Statesboro and Summers is excited to get the season started.
- Auburn presents a unique challenge for Georgia Southern as the Tigers have a “good quarterback and defensive line”.
- In the offseason, Georgia Southern mad multiple staff changes and now has three coaches who have offensive coordinator experience. Summers believes this will make a big difference.
Shawn Elliott (Georgia State)
- “It’s a new time” in Atlanta as the Panthers will open up Georgia State Stadium on Thursday against FCS Tennessee State.
- Having a corner duo the caliber of Jerome Smith and Chandon Sullivan really “frees up things” for your defense.
- Conner Manning is back for his senior season behind center and he’s a guy with a lot of poise. According to Elliott, Manning “doesn’t get rattled” and now the Panthers just need him to make better decisions.
Paul Petrino (Idaho)
- Petrino believe that four-year quarterback start Matt Linehan is “just a really good football player”.
- This year’s defense will be the fastest Idaho has fielded under Petrino. Linebacker Kaden Elliss was as individual he signaled out and the junior seems primed for a huge season.
- The Vandals open up on Thursday night and Petrino really likes the weekday games as they are great for recruiting.
Mark Hudspeth (UL-Lafayette)
- Hudspeth is expecting bad weather for the home opener this weekend as Hurricane Harvey has made it’s way to Louisiana.
- Hudspeth states FCS Southeastern Louisiana is a very solid team and the Cajuns will need to play well to win.
- The offense must become “more efficient” and that starts with improved quarterback. Hudspeth is hoping Jordan Davis will benefit from playing behind an experienced offensive line.
Doug Martin (New Mexico State)
- For the first time since arriving in Las Cruces, Martin and the Aggies will field an experienced team. Martin stated that NMSU will not have to play freshmen this fall.
- Arizona State has “tremendous team speed and big wide receivers”. The Aggies will “have their hands full” on Thursday night at Sun Devil Stadium.
Joey Jones (South Alabama)
- Jones feels very confident in his defensive line as the Jags are “three-deep at each position”.
- The Ole Miss offense is “very explosive” and their wideout group will be very difficult for USA to stop.
Everett Withers (Texas State)
- It was a “productive, positive training camp” for Texas State this summer. Withers is very optimistic about the direction of the program.
- The Bobcats will be more athletic as well as bigger and stronger this season.
- Withers and his program are closing monitoring the weather and will help in anyway they can in helping people effected by this storm. As of right now, there is no plan to reschedule the home opener against Houston Baptist.
Neal Brown (Troy)
- The Trojans have “high expectations for this season” as they attempt to rebuild off last year’s 10-win season.
- Brown states that their defense will play six true freshmen this fall.
- The opener against Boise State will be a “measuring stick” game for the program.
Matt Viator (ULM)
- Things are running much smoothly in Monroe as the players are entering year two in Viator’s system.
- Sophomore Caleb Evans has been named the starting quarterback as he is now “more comfortable with the offense”. However, Garrett Smith will play in the opener against Memphis. Viator mentioned both players will get snaps early on in the season to “see how it shakes out”.
- Viator was really complimentary of Memphis as he stated they are built well. Viator believes the Tigers are “really well coached” as Mike Norvell enters year two.