Florida’s Meyer had hand in Appalachian success

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Athletic quarterback Richie Williams led the Mountaineers to their first national title in 2005, just as Armanti Edwards chose to attend Appalachian because of the new offense.

Edwards would soon lead the Mountaineers to two more national titles and break numerous records. With Edwards now playing for the Carolina Panthers, the undersized DeAndre Presley has 2,793 yards of total offense this season and threw 14 touchdown passes before his first interception.

Appalachian State averages 37 points a game, fourth-best in the FCS.

“It’s fun, especially when you have the ability to run,” Presley said of the spread. “It’s big, really, really big, because a defense can’t key on just one person.”

Florida, has had its own success with the same offense that includes tight end sets, winning national titles in 2006 and ‘08 with the help of Tim Tebow. The big difference is Appalachian State’s offensive line is much smaller.

“In the SEC, they couldn’t play a 265- or 270-pound guard. And we love them,” Moore said. “They’re fast, they’re quick kids and they’re able to do what we want to do. The biggest test, obviously, was Michigan. We matched up good and we did some nice things against Michigan that had the big linemen.”

Ah, Michigan. The stunning, 34-32 win over the fifth-ranked Wolverines in 2007 forever changed this mountain campus and Moore’s life. It soon helped upend Michigan, too, with a coaching change that saw Rodriguez leave West Virginia to run the same spread offense with the Wolverines.

Now Moore and Meyer meet for the first time on the field. But while the Mountaineers are among the favorites to win another FCS national title, Meyer’s Gators are struggling. They’ve lost three in a row at home amid QB woes as offensive coordinator Steve Addazio has been the target of criticism.

For the moment it’s Moore, now 71 with two replacement knees, who is considered a go-to guy for all things spread offense after transforming his program thanks to his late-night TV watching of Meyer in Utah.

“He’s been very, very helpful and very open,” Moore said. “We’re more like them than anybody else.”


AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Gainesville, Fla., contributed to this report.

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