Preview 2017: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Previewing and looking ahead at the Coastal Carolina season – and what you need to know.
What You Need To Know About The Coastal Carolina Offense
How quickly can more playmakers emerge to take over the running game and make the passing attack stronger? Last season, De’Angelo Henderson had a huge season behind a decent line. However, the quarterback situation was in flux all season long, and the passing game occasionally struggled.
Syracuse transfer Austin Wilson will get a long look at quarterback, but there’s enough experience to make it a battle if he’s not getting the job done. There are veterans running the ball, too, but no one like Henderson who can carry the entire attack.
The line has to work to come up with a steady starting five, and if that happens, and Wilson can get time, the offense that managed to put up points in bunches might just keep rolling.
Biggest Key To The Coastal Carolina Offense
The O line has to come together in a hurry. The loss of rushing production is a problem only if the blocking up front isn’t stellar. The Chanticleers get back three starters – depending on where they play – with guard Adam Lawhorn the only one returning who started the entire season. It’s an okay-sized line, but depth will be a problem throughout the first half of the season.
What You Need To Know About The Coastal Carolina Defense
Experience is a problem on offense, but the defense welcomes back seven starters. Unfortunately, four of the top six tacklers are done from a group that lived behind the line – with 30 sacks and 73 tackles for loss – and forced a ton of turnovers. The D set up the O with big plays and great field position, and the O took care of the rest.
The pass rushing duties call on do-it-all DE Marcus Williamson and, eventually, banged up end Tarrol Stafford. There’s enough to forma. good rotation, but more bulk is needed in the interior.
Shane Johnson should be one of the Sun Belt’s top tacklers from his middle linebacker spot, and the secondary that came up with so many big plays last year should be okay as long as the pass rush keeps on rolling.
Biggest Key To The Coastal Carolina Defense
Can the interceptions continue? The Chanticleers came up with 21 picks, and they didn’t just come from the defensive backs. Former LB Alex Scearce picked off five passes, but the secondary did most of the heavy lifting helped by four each coming from C.J. Thompson and Kamron Summers. Unfortunately, the secondary takes one of the team’s biggest hits, and now 16 of last year’s interception production are gone.
Coastal Carolina Will Be Far Better If …
The quarterback play is better. The offense managed to put up 37 points per game, but the running game had almost everything to do with that. CCU averaged just 133 passing yards per game, with a rotation of quarterbacks who could each do something right, but without a steady main man to bomb away. There weren’t too many mistakes – with just six picks – and there were enough downfield plays to get by. Now going against better competition, CCU needs a playmaker under center.
Best Coastal Carolina Offensive Player
WR Chris Jones, Sr. – The Big South all-star was dangerous as a punt returner and solid as one of the key parts to the passing game. His receiving production might have dropped off, but he’s caught 62 career passes for 1,024 yards and six scores, with 22 grabs last year averaging 14.7 yards per try. Once the quarterback play is more consistent, his numbers should blow up as the No. 1 target.
2. RB Osharmar Abercrombie, Sr.
3. OG Adam Lawhorn, Jr.
4. QB Austin Wilson, Sr.
5. OT Ethan Howard, Soph.
Best Coastal Carolina Defensive Player
DE Marcus Williamson, Sr. – The biggest returning disruptive force on the CCU defense, he’s kick-blocking machine on special teams, too. A smart, tough player with a quick burst off the line, the former JUCO transfer followed up a good 27-tackle first season with 48 stops with 3.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss. There are other good options around him, but he’ll be the first in the backfield.
2. LB Shane Johnson, Sr.
3. CB Anthony Cheslea, Jr.
4. DE Myles White, Soph.
5. DT Dwayne Price, Sr.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Austin Wilson, Sr. – The CCU quarterback situation has to be settled early on after starting four different starters throughout last season. Wilson, a 6-2, 220-pound graduate transfer from Syracuse, is coming in to take over and ad even more pop. He hit 58% of his passes for 418 yards and a score with seven picks in his limited action with the Orange, but he’s a good, smart pure passer. As long as he’s limiting the mistakes, he’s the QB to build around.
The Coastal Carolina Season Will Be A Success If …
It wins two Sun Belt games and four games overall. It might not seem like much after all the success at the lower level, but it’s a whole new ball game in terms of depth, talent and the starting 22. Getting to six wins would be special against a schedule that’s not that tough for just about anyone else, but this year, find a few wins, and any success will seem amazing.
Key Game To The Coastal Carolina Season
Sept. 2 vs. Massachusetts – It’s the debut of the program at the FCS level, and it might just be winnable. With a week off to prepare for a UAB starting from scratch, the Chanticleers could get off to a fantastic start if they can handle a UMass team desperate for something positive after last season’s disaster. It’ll be the opening day in Brooks Stadium – it’ll be fun.
2016 Coastal Carolina Fun Stats
– Rushing Yards Per Game: Coastal Carolina 254 – Opponents 124
– 1st Quarter Scoring: Coastal Carolina 112 – Opponents 45
– Field Goals: Coastal Carolina 17-of-21 – Opponents 5-of-11