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Sun Belt Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2022

Chase Brice, Appalachian State Mountaineers Football

It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams bulletin board material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.

In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2022, Athlon asked coaches in the Sun Belt to talk anonymously about their opponents.

Note: These scouting reports come directly from coaching staffs and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.

Sun Belt Conference Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2022

Sun Belt East

Appalachian State

"You're gonna see stretch and split zone on offense, and you're going to see a defense that's sound fundamentally and doesn't overcomplicate. Always an easy pick to win the league."

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Coastal Carolina

"If [Grayson] McCall stays healthy, they're going to be good to great. Everything runs through that guy. He can take over a game and change their entire team."

Georgia Southern

"No one's sure what they're gonna look like out of the gate with Clay [Helton]. They don't have enough personnel to transition completely from gun option to going wide-open passing, so where do they land?"

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Georgia State

"What jumps out at you is how physical they like to play. They like to hit you and they like to run, and they're starting to really make that their identity."

James Madison

"Curt [Cignetti] was at Alabama; he understands program development. This program reminds us a little of App State, which is a huge compliment for a transition program. The best-case scenario is that they don't make changes for the sake of it and adjust their recruiting to that FBS level as fast as they can."

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"This is the program that no one in the Sun Belt wants to play. They have enough talent to compete with the top teams right away, but let's see how they adjust to some of these schemes and coaches."

Old Dominion

"Considering they didn't play football in 2020, you really have to credit Ricky Rahne with how well they did. The conference change means they'll probably lose one or two more, but they're still on track."

Sun Belt West

Arkansas State

"With the quality of depth in this league, I don't think they're going to bounce back quickly. This season will be hard for them to get any better."

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"With Billy [Napier] gone, what does the next era look like? They're losing production, leadership, identity, all of it, and we aren't sure how similar the schemes will be, either."

South Alabama

"They're a lot closer to the top of the league than people think. You look at their film, and they're already a whole different team under this staff."

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Southern Miss

"They're definitely still rebuilding, but they're doing it with a lot more talent than most teams in that situation. They've been smart working the portal."

Texas State

"They're not as bad as their record, but their record is pretty bad. One thing you notice coaching against them is that those kids play really hard for Spav [Jake Spavital]. They don't quit; they just don't have enough talent. [QB] Layne Hatcher in the offense will be interesting."

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"This new staff is going to do big things in recruiting, but it will take time. Jon Sumrall could be a huge name in a few years, like how Billy Napier rose through the conference."


"They're always an up-and-down program because they can't hold on to talent, and they leaned heavily on the portal last year. With new coordinators, I expect they'll look very different and might struggle early."

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