App State spring practice

App State quarterbacks Jacob Huesman (7) and Zac Thomas (12) throw the ball during a drill supervised by head coach Eliah Drinkwitz (wearing sunglasses) on March 13.

BOONE — Becoming the new head football coach at Appalachian State has presented plenty of challenges for Eliah Drinkwitz.

There is trying to get all of the players and all of the coaches to learn what Drinkwitz wants to implement schematically and how to get the coaches to teach it to the players.

Running spring practice is certainly another of those challenges. Appalachian State resumed spring workouts this week after starting the practices in late February, but then pausing for a week for spring break.

Drinkwitz knows that it will take time, probably into the summer months, before the head coach, assistant coaches and players are all in sync with the system. But, Drinkwitz feels as long as there is effort, there can be progress.

“It’s like you’re driving through a drive-thru window and a guy is just throwing the fries at you,” Drinkwitz said. “Right now, we’re hoping to get one or two of the fries in the window, and other than that, we’ll figure it out this summer. It’s a whole new offense, a new scheme with new terminology, so you have to pick little pieces. The thing is, if you make a mistake, that’s part of learning. Make a mistake, make it at full speed and then correct it on the field and don’t make it the next day.”

The Mountaineers were blessed with decent weather for their March 13 practice at Kidd Brewer Stadium. An energetic Drinkwitz worked the Mountaineers through individual drills and some 11-on-11 work. Special teams were also a point of emphasis during the end of the workout.

The team worked out in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts, so contact was limited. Still, the Mountaineers worked on their running game and the pass.

Drinkwitz said there are three goals he wants the Mountaineers to achieve during spring practice. The first is to improve in technique and fundamentals at each position.

The second is to lay the foundations for the offense, the defense and the special teams. The third is for the team to identify its strengths and weaknesses.

“Those are the three things we’re working on and that is what our staff is trying to do,” he said.

Former head coach Scott Satterfield liked to finish all of his team’s spring practices before spring break, so there would be no interruptions. Drinkwitz said spring break allows the players to know what is expected when they come back to work following the time off.

Drinkwitz did not speak of anybody’s specific progress, but said that the players and the staff are still getting used to each other.

“Those guys knowing what to expect when they come back and knowing what it’s going to be like,” Drinkwitz said. “There’s none of that anticipation. They know what they’re fixing to get into when the rest of the spring practice (continues).”

Drinkwitz added he wants to duplicate game-style conditions as much as possible, and feels the effort put out by the players can make that possible.

“We want to be able to control the tempo,” Drinkwitz said. “It’s complimentary to what our defense is doing. We’ll dictate to the defense how we want to play.”

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