App State offense anchored by experienced O-line in 2020


Moss Brennan

Four out of five starters on App State’s offensive line were named to 2020 preseason all-Sun Belt teams. The line is anchored in the middle by four-year starting center Noah Hannon.

Joey Magnani, Reporter

CApp State’s offensive line is an experienced group who will look to live up to lofty expectations in the 2020 season. Four of its five starters received preseason all-Sun Belt honors in Baer Hunter, Ryan Neuzil, Cooper Hodges, and recently named captain Noah Hannon.

They know what is expected of them and what role they play in the team’s overall success.

“You show me a good football team, and I’ll show you a good offensive line,” said head coach and former App State o-lineman Shawn Clark.

Filling the shoes of the 4-year starter, 3-time All-Sun Belt selection Victor Johnson at left tackle will either be sophomore Anderson Hardy, or senior Cole Garrison; both of which saw time last season. If Garrison wins the competition, he would join three other seniors on the offensive line with Hodges being the only underclassman.

Hardy put in extra work during quarantine to improve his skill set and received high praise from his teammates in return. He even took the time to call many of them and ask for things that he could be doing to get better and take his game to the next level.

The left tackle competition is one that will carry over into the first couple of weeks with both players seeing snaps, but Clark does not believe that it will hold the team back.

He said the good thing about the program is that they have an identity and they know what needs to be done on both sides of the ball.

Regardless of who wins the position, the other starters have confidence that they can get the job done.

“Something that coach Clark preached when he was the o-line coach was the fact that competition breeds success,” Hannon said.

He also mentioned that having a lot of players with experience gives them an advantage, but the quarantine provided them with more opportunity from a leadership standpoint to get the underclassmen properly prepared.

Hannon is looking forward to embracing his role as a leader in the offense.

“It is my responsibility as the center to set the protection and put us in position to be successful,” he said. 

His coaches described him as a vocal leader and great communicator who pushes his teammates in order to get the best out of them.

This unit will be coached by title-winning App State alum Nic Cardwell, who is making his return to the program after following coach Satterfield to Louisville in 2019. This will be Cardwell’s eighth season in total as a member of App State’s coaching staff, on top of his playing career for the Mountaineers from 2004-07. Fortunately for him, he has a group of talented players with years of experience playing together.

“It’s awesome to step into the position and already have proven guys. This is an exciting group of guys to coach,” Cardwell said.

He talked about how important it is to have chemistry up front, and how proud he is of every player across the board for stepping up over the past few weeks as they prepare for the season.

Clark voiced his confidence in Cardwell saying that he is a “great coach” who knows what needs to be done in order to be successful.