Game review, 2014: Coastal Carolina

Links of interest:

Game story, The Post and Courier

“Notes” section, The Post and Courier

Photo gallery from The Post and Courier

Game story, The Sun-News

WCSC-TV report

School release

Box score

Just a few thoughts, notes, etc. on the game:

– I wasn’t particularly shocked by most of what I saw during last night’s contest. Coastal Carolina moved the ball on offense, but the Dogs’ D held its own at times. On the other side of the ball, The Citadel showed flashes of a good triple option team, but couldn’t recover from a few costly mistakes.

Defensively, the Bulldogs did not get enough sustained pressure on the quarterback (one sack), which is one reason why there were only two passes defensed (out of 32 CCU attempts). In addition, The Citadel didn’t force a turnover and allowed the Chanticleers to convert eight out of thirteen third down plays.

The Bulldogs’ offense needed to be better on third down (5-13) and fourth down (1-3). One way to improve those numbers would be to not commit drive-killing personal foul penalties. I’m not worried about that happening again after watching video of Mike Houston being interviewed. Let’s just say his jaw was set.

The one thing that did surprise me was the disappointing performance of The Citadel’s special teams. There was a bad snap, a missed PAT, and an inability to catch the ball on kickoffs. All that’s got to get fixed, and ASAP.

– The Citadel fumbled eight times but lost none. That is…a statistical outlier.

– My favorite play call of the night came early in the fourth quarter. On 4th-and-14 from the CCU 36, The Citadel ran the option. Jake Stenson picked up 13 yards.

That was one yard short of the first down, but it was a marker for Brent Thompson and his approach on offense. There aren’t going to be “standard downs” and “passing downs” with this team. There are just going to be downs.

The play call itself reminded me vaguely of the way Charlie Taaffe did things when he was running the wishbone at The Citadel, and that is very much meant as a compliment. Taaffe was (and still is) a very good play-caller.

Off-the-field stuff:

– Almost very alum in attendance was happy to see the corps of cadets back on the home side. Several of them also observed that the corps appeared to be larger than last year, and appropriately so (the absence of a significant percentage of cadets in the stands had been a point of contention in the recent past).

– One issue with having a full complement of cadets in attendance was that when the game started, a lot of them were still waiting to get to their seats. I think it might be a good idea to begin the marchover about ten minutes earlier, to alleviate that problem. That might also have the added benefit of getting more people (i.e. parents and friends of cadets) into the stadium prior to kickoff.

– There appeared to be an attempt to “dial down” the videoboard excesses of the last few years. I suspect this was welcomed by everyone in Johnson Hagood Stadium. It really helped the ambiance and atmosphere, in my opinion.

– Now the next step is to unshackle the regimental band, which again appeared restricted as to when it was allowed to play. There was no music to be heard from that group throughout the first quarter.

The band played at the end of the first quarter and midway through the second (the grating-but-by-now-inevitable “Hey Baby”). That was it for the entire first half, unless I missed something.

– I was caught a little off-guard when the attendance (10,828) was announced. There were more people at the game than that (possibly around 13-14K), but it may be that one-quarter of the crowd was there via free admission and weren’t counted in the official total.

– The return of the cheerleaders was greatly appreciated.

– Also appreciated: Spike The Bulldog, working the tailgates and the stadium like a champ.

– This was the first home game of the season, so it is understandable if there were some minor problems and organizational challenges. There is plenty of time to work out the kinks, given the next home game isn’t until September 27.

On a personal note, I was very happy to be at the game; that had been a goal of mine since early June. I was also pleased by the way the team played, if not the result.

Next week’s opponent, Florida State, clearly was looking ahead to the game against the Bulldogs. That can be the only reason the Seminoles beat Oklahoma State by just six points.

I’ll have a preview of the game in Tallahassee later in the week. It’s not going to be nearly as long as the one for CCU (to everyone’s relief).

There really is only so much you can say about that game, to be honest. Just for kicks, though, I’m going to throw something in for the Gold Corps. Be forewarned.

As is traditional, my game review concludes with some pictures, none of which will be winning this year’s Pulitzer. I’m not a good photographer, and I don’t have a great camera. I just click and hope.

In this set, there aren’t the usual shots of the cadets lined up on the field (because I was late getting into the stadium), and the “action” shots only lasted until around the midway point of the third quarter (due to operator error).





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