The Citadel vs. Coastal Carolina, to be played at historic Johnson Hagood Stadium, with kickoff at 6:00 pm ET on Saturday, August 30. The game will not be televised.
The contest will be streamed for free on the SoCon Digital Network, the league’s new streaming platform.
The game can be heard on radio via the various affiliates of The Citadel Sports Network. Mike Legg (the newly minted “Voice of the Bulldogs”) will call the action alongside analyst Lee Glaze. It is also possible to listen to the action with a smartphone, using a TuneIn Radio application.
WQNT-1450 AM [audio link], originating in Charleston, will be the flagship station for The Citadel Sports Network. WQNT will have a two-hour pregame show prior to each home football game that will be hosted by Ted Byrne. The pregame show and game broadcast will be produced by Jay Harper, who will also provide updates on other college football action.
The Citadel Sports Network — Affiliates
Charleston: WQNT 1450AM (Flagship)
Columbia: WQXL 1470AM/95.9FM
Florence/Darlington: WJMX 1400AM
Greenville: WLFJ 92.9FM/660AM
Orangeburg: WORG 100.3FM
From two weeks ago: my sort-of-preview of the upcoming season for The Citadel. There are numbers in it.
Links of interest:
Coastal Carolina institutional quick facts:
The school opened in 1954 as Coastal Carolina Junior College, an extension of the College of Charleston. Soon afterwards CofC got out of the extensions business, however, and Coastal briefly operated as an independent JC.
In the early 1960s, Coastal Carolina was converted into a regional campus of the University of South Carolina. Coastal began offering four-year degrees in 1974, and the school became autonomous in 1993.
Enrollment has more than doubled in the last two decades. As of fall 2013, there were 9,478 students at Coastal Carolina.
Coastal Carolina first fielded a football team in 2003, hiring David Bennett to start the program. Bennett had been a successful head coach at Catawba, and he guided the Chanticleers to a winning record (6-5) in that first season. The following year, CCU went 10-1 and won the Big South Conference (which at the time had five football members).
Bennett won nine games at Coastal Carolina in each of the next two seasons, but then alternated five- and six-win campaigns in the next four years.
In 2011, his ninth season at the helm, CCU finished 7-4. That year, Bennett also became an internet sensation after making anti-feline comments at a press conference.
It would be Bennett’s last season as head coach of the Chanticleers. He was fired December 9, 2011:
[Bennett] was coming off a recruiting trip that took up most of his week. It goes without saying that Bennett had absolutely no idea what was about to happen later in the day. Bennett was supposed to attend the Mr. Football awards ceremony, but never got there as he was summoned to a meeting with Dr. David DeCenzo and Hunter Yurachek where he was relieved of his head coaching duties…
…CCU President Dr. David DeCenzo focused on dollars and cents and poor attendance as reasons for a change.
“Of the 125 FCS schools, our spending on football operations is easily in the top 20. With that investment, we expect to annually place in the top 20 programs, with sights set on competing consistently for the FCS playoffs and national championships. That is simply not happening. In addition, when you look at our record over the past five years, we have beaten only 3 teams that had winning records. Our attendance at games has fallen sharply; we sell about 50 percent of our available tickets. It is imperative that we find a way to create excitement around our program, attract more fans to Brooks Stadium, and increase our revenues to offset our expenditures.”
…Names will get thrown around during Hunter Yurachek’s search for the next Coastal football coach. Sources [say] that one name that will be a target for the next CCU coach is Gamecocks assistant coach Steve Spurrier, Junior.
Well, I guess some sources are better than others. As a matter of fact, Coastal Carolina’s next head football coach had met with the school president (and was apparently offered the job) before Bennett was actually fired:
The university president, having generated his own ideas about what makes a successful coach, and having read media reports about a retired chief executive officer turned United Football League coach named Joe Moglia, and having heard that Moglia recently moved into his community — a prosperous subdivision of Pawleys Island known as Prince George — sent Moglia an e-mail.
“Hello from a Neighbor in Prince George,” the university president wrote in the subject line.
Two weeks later, the university president and the multimillionaire met for breakfast at a restaurant called the Eggs Up Grill. Afterward, the university president seemed convinced he had found his man. Three weeks later, the school held a press conference at which it announced the firing of David Bennett, who had gone 63-39 in nine seasons at Coastal Carolina University.
Joe Moglia’s story is now fairly well known (and has already resulted in at least one biography), but just a quick recap:
- Grew up in New York, went to Fordham
- After graduating from Fordham, spent eight years coaching high school football in Pennsylvania and Delaware
- Was then a college coach for six years at Lafayette and Dartmouth (defensive coordinator when the Big Green won two Ivy League titles)
- Left coaching for the financial world; worked at Merrill Lynch for 17 years, rising through the ranks (became head of municipal lending)
- CEO at TD Ameritrade from 2001-2008
- Unpaid assistant/”advisor” at Nebraska for two years, basically shadowing Bo Pelini
- Head coach of the UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks for one season
- Named head coach of Coastal Carolina in December 2011; 20-8 record in two years (winning the Big South both seasons)
- May or may not be a billionaire (sources vary), but at any rate he can afford to pick up the check
Moglia’s transition from coaching to finance to coaching again has fascinated a lot of people in the national sports media, and as a result he has been the subject of a number of profiles. USA Today‘s Dan Wolken seems particularly enamored with the coach’s background, but Moglia has also come to the attention of ESPN and Sports Illustrated (among many other outlets).
While part of Moglia’s job description is to sell people on the promise of Coastal Carolina, sometimes it appears that the relationship is the other way around — that Coastal Carolina is selling people on the promise of Moglia. It’s very much a two-way street.
Incidentally, Moglia is not just the head football coach at Coastal Carolina. His official title is Head Football Coach/Executive Director of Football. He is also the Chairman of the Coastal Carolina Athletic Division. I am not quite sure what being Chairman of the Coastal Carolina Athletic Division entails, but I assume it doesn’t affect his current status as Chairman of the Board for TD Ameritrade.
At the Big South’s Media Day, Moglia was asked by interviewer Mike Hogewood why Coastal Carolina has been so successful over the last two seasons. Moglia started his response by saying:
“I think it really begins with a philosophy. There are a lot of teams that have a lot of rules. We actually don’t have any rules in our program. We have a mission, to put a team on the field that Coastal is really proud of…”
Moglia went on to explain his “Be A Man” mantra. It’s not that he doesn’t have any rules; he has “a standard”. It’s really just semantics. Still, he might be better served not to begin answering a question by saying his program doesn’t have any rules.
Moglia did something interesting during Coastal Carolina’s spring practice this year:
[Moglia] outlawed tackling during practice.
“We want to have a culture of being physically and mentally tough,” offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude said. “Trying to establish that while not being as physical is something I had to learn.”
For a football lifer like Patenaude, the plan undercut the very foundation of his coaching philosophy, but Moglia sees tradition as an inefficiency in the marketplace. Learning is like investing, he believes. Information compounds the same as interest, growing geometrically rather than linearly, but injuries derail the system. This spring, injuries were the enemy, so Coastal’s players endured just 65 minutes of tackling — 15 in the first scrimmage, 20 in the second and half of the spring game.
Now, Moglia is wrapping up the spring by distributing the results of this madness, typed, printed and passed among the room full of once dubious coaches. The team ran 400 more snaps this spring than last. Injuries in the spring game were cut in half. Practices missed due to injury declined by 250 percent.
I think this is a good idea. It reminds me a little bit of the approach taken by legendary Division III coach John Gagliardi.
Having said that, the author of the article tried a little too hard for a tie-in with Moglia’s business career. “Inefficiency in the marketplace”, “Learning is like investing”, “Information compounds the same as interest”, etc.
Also, I’m going to assume that Moglia, who holds a B.A. in Economics from Fordham and an M.S. in Education from Delaware, and who was the CEO of a major online brokerage for seven years, did not tell the writer that practices missed due to injury “declined by 250 percent”.
Per Coastal Carolina beat writer Ryan Young, the limited-contact philosophy has carried over to fall practice, with CCU having had “a couple of hard-hitting days, but most aren’t intense contact.” I greatly appreciate Young responding to my question on the subject.
Coastal Carolina played South Carolina last season and lost 70-10, with the Conway school paid $375,000 for the game. CCU doesn’t face an FBS opponent this season, and won’t face one in any other season if Joe Moglia has anything to say about it:
I don’t understand, someone has to do a better job of explaining to me the advantage of playing FBS opponents. No. 1, they don’t pay you enough. Now, the FCS hasn’t figured that out yet, but they don’t pay the FCS enough. They’re playing a guaranteed game and they have 80,000 people in their seats – they probably make $4 million that day, so they don’t pay you enough.
No. 2, what happens if early in the season you have a shot at having a pretty good season, and just because of the physical differences you end up losing two or three of your best guys [to injury against an FBS team]? You lose your season. That’s an incredible cost.
I would rather see schools go out and do a better job of raising the money, or commanding a far greater premium from the FBS schools. I don’t see what the advantage is. I don’t see any advantage…
…I might help raise the money – and I’m not going to be a fundraiser – but if there are people out there that I think might be able to help us, I’m willing to make those phone calls because I recognize I’m the one who says I’m not crazy about the [FBS games]. But I’m not funding the [money]. And that’s accurate.
CCU dropped scheduled games against Clemson, Kent State, and Georgia Southern. Not many schools would be willing to go along with such a request by a coach, but then not many schools have a coach with the ability to facilitate a $5 million gift from a major bank (a bank that may or may not be affiliated with the company for which said coach is Chairman of the Board).
Let me again quote Coastal Carolina president Dr. David DeCenzo, at the press conference announcing the firing of David Bennett:
Of the 125 FCS schools, our spending on football operations is easily in the top 20. With that investment, we expect to annually place in the top 20 programs, with sights set on competing consistently for the FCS playoffs and national championships.
Indeed, Coastal Carolina has spent a great deal of money on its football program in recent years. A look at the Knight Commission’s spending database is instructive.
From 2006 through 2012, CCU increased its football spending on a per-player basis by 190%, to $60,557. The national FCS median increase was 45% ($31,213). The Citadel’s spending per player over the same time frame increased 4%, to a number ($31,640) very close to the national median.
Coastal Carolina’s per-player spending without including scholarship expenses increased 244% over the 2006-12 time period, to $42,332. The national median in this category in 2012 was $17,499 (a 36% increase). The Citadel’s spending without including scholarship expenses from 2006-12 actually declined 3%, to $15,262.
With that kind of monetary commitment, it’s fair to ask what the future holds for Coastal Carolina’s football program, and for its department of athletics in general. In May of 2012, the school’s Board of Trustees gave DeCenzo the authority to “take all actions necessary” regarding a potential conference switch.
The Board of Trustees asked DeCenzo in February to look into whether a potential move to another conference would make sense for the university. He said exploratory talks were held with the Southern Conference and Colonial Athletic Association.
“Those two seem to be potentially good fits for us,” DeCenzo said.
The school president seemed confident CCU could find a new home with relative ease.
If Coastal Carolina ends up leaving the league, there must be a conference who wants them. And President Dr. David DeCenzo does not think that will be a problem—at least facility-wise. “With the opening of the recreation, convocation center and what we are doing with the baseball and softball facilities, I think that makes us very attractive.”
The motion by the Board of Trustees was passed more than two years ago, but Coastal Carolina remains in the Big South. Conference realignment issues certainly affected both the CAA and SoCon (a combined total of nine schools departed from those leagues over the last two years), but despite all that movement, CCU didn’t land in either conference.
The “exploratory talks” with the SoCon and CAA referenced in the first article were presumably held between February and May of 2012. Based on those talks, DeCenzo and the Board of Trustees were obviously secure in going public with the motion.
Here is what I find interesting about that. Shadesof48, a blog devoted to William & Mary athletics, filed a Freedom of Information request to W&M for any information pertaining to conference realignment, including anything related to the CAA or the SoCon. The blog received emails from June of 2012 to April of 2013, mostly having to do with the CAA.
When I was going through the information for my own blog post on the subject, one of the biggest surprises (at least to me) was that Coastal Carolina was not mentioned in any of the emails. There wasn’t even a reference to the school approaching the CAA during that time period.
Among the schools that appear in the correspondence: Hampton, Fairfield, Appalachian State, UNC-Greensboro, Boston University, Davidson, George Washington, Virginia Commonwealth, and Furman.
Elon, College of Charleston, Albany, and Stony Brook are all in the emails too — but not Coastal Carolina.
So sometime between February and May of 2012, Coastal Carolina held exploratory talks with the CAA. Beginning in June of that year and lasting at least through April 2013, though…nothing.
As for why Coastal Carolina wasn’t offered an invite to the SoCon last year, there are multiple reasons. Here are some of them:
1) Location, location, location
Some people think location is an advantage for CCU, but in terms of getting in the SoCon, it’s actually a problem.
The league already has three football-playing members in the state of South Carolina. While the conference is in essence a “bus league”, having four football schools in one small state would probably be one school too many.
CCU becoming a SoCon member wouldn’t provide any real benefit to Furman, Wofford, or The Citadel. It doesn’t do those schools any good to add another instate institution with significant differences in mission and resources.
One current advantage those three schools do have over Coastal Carolina: league affiliation. Why give that advantage up?
2) CCU’s long-term game plan
While it may not be fair, the reality is more than a few SoCon observers look at Coastal Carolina and think “Marshall II”, only with a billionaire football coach instead of George Chaump/Jim Donnan.
Coastal Carolina may not have hired Joe Moglia because it has the FBS in its sights. However, that is the perception in certain circles.
In the ESPN article I linked earlier in this post, Moglia was reported to have said that CCU had only achieved 75% of his vision. Not everyone is sure what the remaining 25% of his vision would be.
3) The SoCon membership dynamic
While the league has a few medium-sized public institutions and recently added another (East Tennessee State), those schools aren’t dramatically increasing in size. I think at this time the SoCon is content with a membership consisting of smaller private/public schools.
Hey, let’s talk about action on the field!
First, a comparison of the two teams in select statistical categories from 2013. The Citadel’s statistics are for conference games only (eight contests).
For Coastal Carolina, I debated what would work best in terms of illustrating team tendencies/strengths/weaknesses. I decided not to include the two games in which the Chanticleers were completely outclassed (South Carolina and North Dakota State). I also threw out CCU’s game against VMI, because quarterback Alex Ross did not play in that contest (not that it mattered much).
In other words, Coastal Carolina’s statistics below are for the 12 games started by Alex Ross in which the Chanticleers were competitive, which I think is a fair way to look at CCU’s 2013 season.
|Offense yards/pass attempt||8.82||6.40|
|Offense yards/rush attempt||5.87||5.13|
|Offense yards per play||6.92||5.41|
|Offense points per game||43.75||24.25|
|Penalties per game||6.3||2.4|
|Offense 3rd down conversion %||55.7||38.2|
|Offense 4th down conversion %||100.0||59.1|
|Offense Red Zone TD%||80.0||50.0|
|Offense pass completion %||65.6||52.1|
|Defense yards/pass attempt||7.09||7.20|
|Defense yards/rush attempt||4.52||4.39|
|Defense yards allowed per play||5.64||5.47|
|Defense points allowed/game||26.0||23.25|
|Defense 3rd down conversion %||43.1||45.0|
|Defense 4th down conversion %||48.3||33.3|
|Defense Red Zone TD%||60.8||65.6|
|Time of possession||28:08||33:05|
[CCU offensive coordinator Dave] Patenaude said he wanted his quarterbacks to complete 65 percent of their passes. “The tempo’s going to be dictated by you,” he said. “This is a quarterback-driven system.”
Patenaude would have been pleased with last year’s completion percentage, as the above table shows. Actually, a 60% completion rate appears to be good enough to make his system work.
Last season, Chanticleer quarterbacks completed over 60% of their passes in ten of Coastal Carolina’s fifteen games. CCU won all ten of those contests. In the five games where the completion percentage dipped below 60%, the Chanticleers were 2-3.
The tempo mentioned by Patenaude could be fast-moving at times. While Coastal Carolina averaged just a few more offensive plays per game last year than did The Citadel (70.3 for CCU, 65.2 for the Bulldogs), keep in mind that the Chanticleers’ time of possession was a lot less.
Coastal Carolina averaged 2.57 offensive plays per minute last season, significantly higher than The Citadel (2.03 per minute) or, for that matter, Mike Houston’s Lenoir-Rhyne squad (2.13).
In 2013, Alex Ross cemented his status as one of the best quarterbacks in the FCS division. For the season, Ross passed for over 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns (against only nine interceptions), and added 540 yards and six TDs on the ground.
At Montana in the FCS playoffs, Ross was 16-21 for 202 yards through the air, and picked up an additional 123 rushing yards, as the Chanticleers beat the Grizzlies 42-35 in a “statement” win for the program.
His list of preseason accolades is long and Ross is considered a serious candidate for the Walter Payton Award, which goes to the top player in FCS. He isn’t a big QB (6’1″, 205 lbs.), but he has a habit of making big plays.
Ross will have to work with a largely different cast of skill-position players on CCU’s offense. The Chanticleers are replacing a host of wide receivers and All-American running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (who rushed for 1,729 yards last season).
The new starting running back for Coastal Carolina will be Summerville High School alum De’Angelo Henderson, who rushed for 599 yards last season in a backup role (averaging 7.3 yards per carry) and who may be “the most exciting player on the field this season“. In 2010, Henderson was a finalist for South Carolina’s Mr. Football award along with (among others) Jadeveon Clowney, Everett Golson, Justin Worley, Brandon Shell, and current teammate Quinn Backus.
While the wide receiving corps will feature four players with experience, Coastal Carolina lost its top three pass-catchers from 2013, a trio that combined for 145 receptions and 18 touchdowns. The returning wideouts expected to fill the depth chart caught a total of 62 passes last season, seven for TDs.
CCU has a lot of depth at tight end, with four players who could be part of the rotation this season, including Thomas Pauciello (three TD catches last year).
The offensive line must replace two quality linemen, including left guard Jamey Cheatwood, a four-year starter and two-time All-Big South performer. Last year’s right guard, Mo Ashley, will move over to take Cheatwood’s spot on the left side, which leaves two new starters at guard and tackle on the right side.
One of the players expected to compete for a starting role, Georgia Tech transfer Morgan Bailey, is injured and not expected to play against The Citadel. It could be argued that the right side of the OL is Coastal Carolina’s only real point of concern entering the season.
Coastal Carolina’s defense is looking to improve on last year’s campaign. The unit took its lumps at times, particularly against the run. While tough games against South Carolina and North Dakota State could be excused, allowing 323 rushing yards to Charleston Southern was a different matter.
In that game, CSU controlled possession for over 40 minutes, including the final six minutes of the contest, holding off a CCU rally after the Chanticleers spotted the Buccaneers a 25-point lead.
There were other difficult moments for the CCU defense, including allowing Liberty to run up over 600 yards of total offense and 52 points (albeit in a double-OT game that Coastal Carolina eventually won). However, it was the game against Charleston Southern that may be of the most interest to The Citadel’s coaching staff, at least in terms of approach.
This year, Coastal Carolina has made some adjustments, according to linebacker Quinn Backus:
Some of the difficult concepts that we had in the past, they’re kind of simplified now. Or the concepts that were more difficult in the past, we got rid of them and [the coaches] kind of put the plays to our strengths. Checks that used to be like three calls, it’s like one simple call now. And little things like that [so] we can [play] rapidly and be able to play faster.
Backus himself doesn’t really need to make any adjustments. The native of Greenwood is the reigning two-time Big South Defensive Player of the Year and a legitimate contender for the Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the top defender in FCS. Backus enters the 2014 season as the division’s active leader in tackles (314).
Other standout players on the Chanticleers’ D include safety Richie Sampson (who is currently battling an injury), cornerback Denzel Rice, and defensive end Calvin Hollenhorst.
Hollenhorst will be joined on the defensive line by Leroy Cummings, a transfer from Savannah State who has been “one of the most talked about players in preseason camp“.
Cummings is one of several transfers expected to see action for the CCU defense. Other newcomers who should be on the CCU depth chart include fellow DT Jabarai Bothwell (a transfer from Western Michigan) and defensive back Kyle Fleetwood (who was at South Carolina last year). Of the nineteen players on the Chanticleers’ roster who began their careers at junior colleges or other four-year schools, eleven are defenders.
Just a formation note: CCU tends to play two linebackers and three safeties, although that could change against The Citadel’s triple option. Then again, it may not.
Alex Catron was 10-13 on field goal attempts last season for the Chanticleers. He was the all-Big South placekicker. Catron made three field goals of 46 yards or longer last year, all on the road (including a 50-yarder against Charleston Southern).
CCU also returns its punter from last season, Austin Cain. He averaged just over 38 yards per punt in 2013, with 16 of his 56 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. Cain is a good athlete capable of overcoming a botched snap (which he did against Hampton, running for a 25-yard gain) and executing a fake (a 25-yard shovel pass for a first down versus Liberty).
Devin Brown, one of Coastal Carolina’s wide receivers, is also a dangerous kick returner. He had a 95-yard kickoff return TD against VMI last year.
The Chanticleers were 16th nationally in kick return defense in 2013, allowing an average of 17.3 yards per return. CCU also finished in the top 20 in average punt return yardage allowed.
Jeff Hartsell of The Post and Courier has produced an excellent series of articles on each of The Citadel’s position groups. I see no reason to regurgitate similar information for this post; rather, I would encourage anyone interested to read Hartsell’s breakdowns of the quarterbacks, fullbacks, slotbacks, offensive line (both stories), receivers, defensive line, linebackers, secondary, and kicking game.
Earlier in the post I linked my preview of The Citadel’s upcoming season. It focuses more on tendencies than specific players, and also delves a little into ball-possession/pace-of-play issues. Related to that, Mike Houston mentioned “tempo” as a key in the P+C preview, and there is also an interesting discussion along those lines late in Phil Kornblut’s interview of the coach.
Odds and ends:
– Coastal Carolina’s teams are known as the Chanticleers. The school wants to make sure everyone knows how to pronounce “Chanticleer”, so much so that a pronunciation explanation for the nickname is listed on two of the first three pages of the CCU football media guide.
The proper pronunciation is SHON-ti-clear. You may also hear Coastal’s athletic teams referred to as Chants (SHONTS) to shorten the Chanticleer nickname.
– Next season, Coastal Carolina’s football facility (Brooks Stadium) will have an artificial turf field — and the turf will be colored teal. Yes, a teal turf.
“It only made sense to be the first school in the country with a teal field,” [interim AD Matt] Hogue said.
– In the Grantland article I linked earlier that profiled Joe Moglia, writer Michael Weinreb made a reference (in a footnote) to “Coastal Jersey”. That’s because, while 54% of CCU’s enrollment consists of South Carolina residents, the state with the next-highest number of students at the school is New Jersey (7% of the total enrollment).
There are almost three times as many CCU students from New Jersey as there are from neighboring North Carolina. There are also more than twice as many students at the school from both New York and Maryland than North Carolina.
Based on the CCU media guide’s numerical roster, 68% of Coastal Carolina’s football players are from out of state. Almost one-quarter of the Chanticleers are from the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast corridor (Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts).
At The Citadel, 51% of the corps of cadets is from South Carolina (as of 2013), while 48% of the Bulldogs on the current football team are from the Palmetto State.
– Coastal Carolina’s interim director of athletics, Matt Hogue, was formerly the Chanticleers’ radio play-by-play announcer. This year, Joe Cashion (previously the sideline reporter) will call football games for CCU.
Cashion is a public affairs officer for the South Carolina Air and National Guard. He missed most of the 2010 football season while deployed in Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, Cashion wrote a preview of the upcoming CCU season for the Palmetto & Pine Sports Network.
– For a CCU preview from the perspective of a conference opponent, I recommend Liberty beat writer Chris Lang’s look at the Chanticleers: Link
– After last year’s “Unigate” situation, with The Citadel’s players forced to change jerseys after warmups for the Furman game, the last thing the military college needed was another uniform to be deemed illegal. Fortunately, that didn’t happen:
The Citadel’s plan to include the words “Honor, Duty, Respect” – the motto of the military school – on the back of football jerseys this season meets NCAA rules, school and Southern Conference officials said Wednesday…
…In the NCAA rulebook, Rule 1-4-5 says that other than the player’s number, the jersey may contain only the player’s name, school name, NCAA logo, sleeve stripes, the American and/or state flag and a logo for the school, conference, mascot, postseason game, memorial or the military.
The rule also states: “By interpretation, only military service academies may substitute words such as Honor, Integrity, etc., for the player’s name on the back of the jersey … civilian institutions may not substitute other words for the player’s name.”
For purposes of this rule, The Citadel is considered a military service academy, said Jack Childress, coordinator of officials for the Southern Conference.
The interpretation lacked a little clarity in its reference to “military service academies”. When that was added to the fact The Citadel is by nobody’s definition a “civilian institution”, the Bulldogs were (correctly, I believe) allowed to wear the uniforms.
– As of Sunday night, at least one establishment in Las Vegas lists Coastal Carolina as a nine-point favorite.
It’s hard to have a good sense of what might transpire on the gridiron when it’s the opening game of the season. My own (undoubtedly faulty) analysis:
– I think The Citadel’s front seven on defense has the athleticism and intelligence to hang with Coastal Carolina’s high-powered offense. It won’t be easy, but Mitchell Jeter, Carson Smith and company should be able to ask some questions of CCU’s reconfigured offensive line.
– I am not as sure about the Bulldogs’ revamped secondary. There could be some issues in the defensive backfield, particularly given that the defense is expected to be considerably more aggressive this season.
That’s why it is imperative The Citadel gets pressure on Alex Ross. If the Bulldogs don’t do that, it could be a long day at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
Opponents generally did not succeed in harassing Ross and Coastal Carolina’s other signal-callers last year. Chanticleer QBs threw 397 passes but were only sacked 20 times.
– On the offensive side of the ball, I have confidence in Aaron Miller at quarterback. The receiving corps should be excellent, if not overly used as pass catchers.
– The Citadel should be okay at the B-back position. The decision by the coaching staff to return Vinny Miller to slotback was a good sign.
– Aside from Vinny Miller, the available slotbacks on Saturday are not all that experienced. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t talented.
I am more than a little curious to see Cam Jackson playing the position. At the very least, he’ll be a tall target for a pitch.
– The Bulldogs’ offensive line is a work in progress. I’m concerned about how much progress can be made by gametime.
The lack of seasoning on the o-line could really be a problem against CCU’s talented defensive front.
It’s a tough matchup for the Bulldogs to begin the season, but shirking from a challenge is not exactly the ethos of The Citadel. Just the opposite, in fact.
Like everyone else wearing blue and white, I’m looking forward to Saturday. Let’s get out to the stadium, have some fun, make some noise, and root the home team on to victory.
Oh! they rambled, they rambled.
They rambled all around.
In and out of town,
Oh! they rambled, they rambled.
They rambled ’till the Bulldogs cut ‘em down
Filed under: Football, The Citadel | Tagged: Aaron Miller, Alex Ross, Big South, CAA, Coastal Carolina, David Bennett, David DeCenzo, Jeff Hartsell, Joe Cashion, Joe Moglia, Johnson Hagood Stadium, Justin Oxendine, Lenoir-Rhyne, Matt Hogue, Mike Houston, Mike Legg, Mitchell Jeter, Phil Kornblut, Quinn Backus, Ryan Young, SoCon, SoCon Digital Network, The Citadel, The Citadel Sports Network, Vinny Miller |