Ethan's welcome letter

Well App State won another football game. Too bad it took almost seven hours to do so.

The Mountaineers' normal kickoff time of 3:30 p.m. should have finished around 7 p.m. or something like that. But that's not what happened, is it? There was a two-plus hour delay due to lightning. I sat around for a while. I went and joined Adam Witten, Simms McElfresh and Molly Cotten on the radio for a while. I tried to find a snack. I played both tic-tac-toe and hangman with App State Mania publisher David Ware. 

Coach Eli Drinkwitz said Appalachian spent most of their time listening to rap music in the locker room. 

The delay nearly sent me off the deep end — and maybe it did a little bit. Play finally resumed, and App State notched a 56-37 victory. After all was said and done, I got home around 1:30 a.m. I picked up a Hungry Howie's pizza on the way out of Boone and demolished the whole thing. I am not proud of myself. But we all have to learn from mistakes and move on.

I had a couple thoughts coming out of that game. 

First, the good: Zac Thomas, App State's quarterback, looked very comfortable in the early goings of the game. He said part of Drinkwitz's offense has put focus on Thomas getting the ball into his teammates' hands and not putting pressure on himself to make things happen. He's staying in the pocket, and he's looking better there. It's showing with the way he's clicking with receivers. 

Now, what I'm curious about: How will this defense play when the games are tighter? App State has bolted out to big leads against Charlotte, North Carolina and now Coastal Carolina. In each game, the Mountaineers could give up a score here and there. The UNC game got tight, but the defense buttoned up and played well all afternoon. 

I'm interested to see how the defense responds when App State is going back and forth with a team and the lead is not there. How will this defense respond when space can't be created by points? My gut tells me pretty well. I think these players have played in too many important games. And honestly, they showed against UNC that they could rise to the occasion, even the younger guys that filled in for the secondary. 

I think that question will be answered two Wednesdays from now, when App State  travels to Louisiana. The Mountaineers will deal with a raucous crowd and probably one of the more physical teams in the Sun Belt Conference. That's going to be a battle. 

Louisiana is a big one, folks. You feel good about your Mountaineers now. They'll have proven a ton if they get to 5-0. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to be lazy the rest of this Sunday afternoon. I wish you all a happy recovery. 

Take care and thanks for reading,

Ethan

ejoyce@wsjournal.com

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