Boggs’ growth and maturity lead to success

The+Appalachian+Online

The Appalachian Online

Colin Tate

After three games, sophomore linebacker Eric Boggs has become a standout player for the Mountaineers, notching a team high of 22 total tackles.

Boggs has been an obvious presence on the field this season for the App State defense, but he is not concerned with individual statistics.

“I’m just going out to work each day,” Boggs said. “If I work hard enough, who knows what happens? I’m leading the team right now, but I’m just focusing on making the team better. It ain’t really an individual thing.”

Last year, Boggs started the final six games as a true freshman and finished tied for fifth on the team with 43 tackles. Three games into this season, he’s on pace to break that number with ease.

The coaching staff attributes Boggs’ continued success and growth to his maturity and understanding of the game.

“Having started last year and playing outstanding as a freshman, he’s gotten better,” inside linebacker coach Dale Jones said. “He understands what we want to accomplish.”

Junior linebacker John Law has noticed Boggs’ effort.

“He’s not afraid to learn,” Law said. “He will go out and be wrong just so he can see where he can improve. Then the next time I guarantee you he’ll get it right.”

Boggs knows that Law has a lot to do with his success.

“We play side by side,” Boggs said. “We’ve gotten to know each other real good. He’s a great player, of course, everybody knows that. He knows the defense well, and when I came, he showed me the ropes.”

Law made it a point to help Boggs when he joined the team like Law’s former teammates did for him.

“They just showed me the way to do things,” Law said. “Chasing the football. Being very aggressive. It’s just a mentality at middle linebacker that you got to have coming up. You got to feel like you’re the baddest guy out there. Every time you’re chasing the football, or anytime you’re going to tackle somebody, you got to wanna really get in there and make that guy feel you. That’s the thing I’ve been trying to pass down to him.”

Head coach Scott Satterfield has picked up on the connection between the two.

“They have great communication,” Satterfield said. “You got to have that between your two inside linebackers. They do have a special relationship.”

From the outside looking in, that relationship was a little surprising. Both came from very different backgrounds. Law is from the city of Atlanta while Boggs is from a small country town in South Carolina.

“You pull them together, two guys from the opposite ends of the spectrum, and they get along great because they don’t have any egos,” Satterfield said. “They just want to be good. They want our team to be good. That’s what you want at your two inside linebackers.”

Since Law was also given a big role on the defense early in his career, he understands what Boggs is going through.

“It’s a lot when you’re learning on the go,” Law said. “I had a redshirt year to learn the scheme, where he came in and played as a true freshman. Seeing him, I understand what he’s doing. I understand how he’s trying to progress and what’s going to give him trouble. I try to help him before the problems arise.”

Both players have been pivotal to the defense’s success so far this season. But as opponents have started to game plan away from Law and senior defensive lineman Ronald Blair, they have been running right into Boggs’ arms.

By continuing to learn and improve, Boggs has become one of the most prominent players on a defense that continues to grow each week.

“He’s doing what we need,” Jones said. “The key for us is to go be sound on defense. Be in the right place. Boggs is always in the right place, and that gives us an opportunity to be good.”

Story by: Colin Tate, Sports Reporter