College Sports

Camellia Bowl matches ASU’s Scott Satterfield against former employer

Scott Satterfield, left, who played quarterback at Appalachian State, spent 16 of the last 19 years as a coach at his alma mater. Taking a job at Toledo in 2009 gave him a better understanding of how he'd like to tackle his first opportunity as a head coach.
Scott Satterfield, left, who played quarterback at Appalachian State, spent 16 of the last 19 years as a coach at his alma mater. Taking a job at Toledo in 2009 gave him a better understanding of how he'd like to tackle his first opportunity as a head coach. AP

Scott Satterfield traces some of his head coaching success back to Toledo.

Seven years later, it's trying to prevent Satterfield from leading Appalachian State to a second straight 10-win season and another bowl victory.

App State (9-3) faces the Rockets (9-3) of the Mid-American Conference on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. (TV: ESPN) in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. They'll square off in the 25,000-seat Cramton Bowl stadium.

Satterfield, who played quarterback for four years at Appalachian State, spent 16 of the last 19 years as a coach at his alma mater. Briefly stepping away from Boone wasn't easy, but taking a job at Toledo in 2009 gave him a better understanding of how he'd like to tackle his first opportunity as a head coach.

Appalachian State provided that in 2013, and Satterfield's 31-18 record includes a victory in last year's Camellia Bowl.

"I didn't really want to leave, but I had never been anywhere else. I wanted to see, 'Let's see if we can run this offense somewhere else and make it work.'

Scott Satterfield

"I didn't really want to leave, but I had never been anywhere else," Satterfield recalled this week. "I wanted to see, 'Let's see if we can run this offense somewhere else and make it work.'

"I learned a great deal, and that was the whole point to me leaving – because I one day wanted to be a head coach, so I felt I needed to have a different perspective."

After joining Jerry Moore's coaching staff at Appalachian State in 1998, Satterfield worked for 11 seasons as an offensive assistant and helped the Mountaineers win three consecutive FCS national championships from 2005-07. He considered taking a job at FIU before the 2008 season but returned in hopes of securing a fourth straight title, and he headed to Toledo after Richmond eliminated an 11-win App team in the second round of the playoffs.

Satterfield and offensive line coach Matt Campbell coordinated Toledo's offense, which improved from 84th to 13th nationally by averaging 437.9 yards, including 278.5 through the air. Satterfield spent the next two years as FIU's offensive coordinator and returned to Boone in 2012 as an assistant head coach for Moore's final season.

"Going to Toledo, going to FIU, I was able to gain some perspective of how other people do it, how their programs were run," Satterfield said. "Coming back to Boone, I had three years worth of ideas, and I think it really helped me to be able to get this job, No. 1, and have the success we're having now."

The Mountaineers' 26-5 record over the last 31 games ranks fourth in the 128-team FBS behind only the 29-2 marks from Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State.

The Mountaineers' 26-5 record over the last 31 games ranks fourth in the 128-team FBS behind only the 29-2 marks from Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State.

An offense led by backs Marcus Cox and Jalin Moore ranks 13th in rushing yards per game. Cox is the school’s career rushing leader with 4,960 yards and Moore is the Sun Belt Conference's offensive player of the year with 1,367 rushing yards. On defense, Appalachian State was the only FBS team to allow less than 100 points against its league schedule.

First-year Toledo head coach Jason Candle, who grew close to Satterfield when they worked together as offensive assistants in 2009, has an explosive offense that ranks fourth nationally in yards per game. Kareem Hunt is a 225-pound back who sits third on the FBS active list with 4,285 career rushing yards, or 135 fewer than the second-place Cox. Quarterback Logan Woodside has thrown 43 touchdowns with only nine interceptions while averaging 323.5 passing yards per game.

The top targets for Woodside, who has completed 69.1 percent of his throws, are receiver Cody Thompson (1,170 yards, 10 touchdowns), 6-foot-5, 270-pound tight end Michael Roberts (15 touchdowns), 5-9 slot receiver Corey Jones (team-leading 60 catches) and receiver Jon'Vea Johnson (10 touchdowns).

“I think everything’s built off the run game and what you can provide there,” said Candle, whose offense remains similar to Satterfield’s. “From there, when you create some one-on-one matchups on the perimeter, you want to make sure you’re efficient in the throwing game. Great quarterback play has a lot to do with that, and (Woodside) has been outstanding all season, so we’ve had a chance to throw it a little bit more.”

A strong offense isn't Appalachian State's best defense, given that the Mountaineers have intercepted 20 passes and allowed only 13.9 points per game against fellow Group of Five teams, but it could be a close second Saturday.

Toledo is one of the better offenses in the country, so if you don't score points, you're not going to be in the ballgame.

Scott Satterfield

Toledo allows 529.8 yards per game, including 200.7 on the ground. The success of the Mountaineers' run-based, clock-chewing offense will affect how many plays the Rockets are able to run. Satterfield said he also believes there will be over-the-top, one-on-one opportunities for quarterback Taylor Lamb to connect with receivers such as Shaedon Meadors and Jaquil Capel.

"Toledo is one of the better offenses in the country, so if you don't score points, you're not going to be in the ballgame – even as good as our defense is," Satterfield said. "I think we can help ourselves if we can control the game offensively running the football. We haven't been great on third down this year, and that's no secret. We’re going to have to be able to get some first downs.”

App State has converted only 32.7 percent of its third-down chances this season, a figure that ranks 117th nationally.

Punting the ball away frequently isn’t a formula for success against a Toledo team that opened the season with a 31-10 win at eventual Sun Belt co-champion Arkansas State. The Rockets’ only losses occurred against BYU (55-53), 2015 Camellia Bowl participant Ohio (31-26) and unbeaten Western Michigan (55-35).

“It’s always fun to play against the best,” senior linebacker John Law said, “and put yourself up against a challenge and see how you match up.”

  Comments