Game review, 2015: Charleston Southern

Links of interest:

Mike Houston on the SoCon media teleconference

Half-season ticket packages on sale

This review is running a bit later than normal, due to a technical problem I had with WordPress. Admittedly, operator error accounts for a lot of it, but oh well.

As a result, this is going to be a relatively short post. I decided to just include a couple of recent links and move on to the game, and then I’ll give my thoughts on the post-game dustup as well. After that, I’ll explain about the pictures…

I was most surprised (and disappointed) by the Bulldogs’ play on the offensive line. The Citadel only averaged 4.3 yards rushing per play in the contest, and if you take out Vinny Miller’s 61-yard run in the first quarter, that number drops to 2.9 yards per carry.

That is clearly not good enough, especially for a triple option offense. The Bulldogs didn’t seem to get the push up front that they did against Western Carolina.

Defensively, it was an old story. The Citadel didn’t get nearly enough consistent pressure on the quarterback on passing downs, and paid for it.

I wrote in my game preview that the defense had to get off the field on third down, and that didn’t happen. Charleston Southern had 13 third down attempts of medium-to-long distance; it converted six of those, an unacceptable percentage. That led to CSU having a six-minute edge in time of possession.

The Citadel was also called for too many penalties (8 for 80 yards), though I think the Bulldogs got the short end of the stick on several officiating decisions. Those calls didn’t affect the outcome of Saturday’s game, of course. They were just frustrating.

There were positives. The Bulldogs’ special teams units were solid. Eric Goins, in particular, had a good game. The Citadel also did a nice job returning kickoffs.

The defense intercepted two more passes, one of which went for a TD. I think the defensive secondary play from the Bulldogs so far this season has significantly improved from last year.

I have an opinion or two on a few other topics:

– I don’t think The Citadel needs to throw the ball more. I understand the argument that maybe the Bulldogs should throw a little more, and that could be true, but ultimately that isn’t what this offense is about.

The Bulldogs’ offensive struggles on Saturday weren’t because they didn’t pass enough. They struggled because of a lack of success on first down — and no, more first down passes wouldn’t have solved that problem.

– Dominique Allen is still in “young starter” mode. It’s going to take him time. He needs to get that time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

– Cam Jackson needs the ball in his hands more often. I don’t think there is any question about that.

Whether more toss sweeps are run, or a couple of specific pass plays per game are called with Jackson as the target, or something else, he needs the ball more. The coaches obviously know this. I suspect we’ll see him touch the ball almost twice as many times against Wofford as he did against Charleston Southern.

– I get the sense (and I could be completely wrong about this) The Citadel needs to vary the snap count a little more than it has been.

I know some people were upset at the CSU hijinks at midfield during the alma mater. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t know about that aspect of The Citadel’s post-game activities. They wouldn’t be the first team not to understand what was going on.

Now, was Jamey Chadwell’s line about “…it’s like a home game for us” an insult directed towards The Citadel’s players and coaches? It would be hard to interpret it in any other way. Of course, it was just one of several things he had to say after the game.

I tweeted afterwards that if Chadwell had wanted to say something to ensure The Citadel never played Charleston Southern again, he couldn’t have done a better job. A few days later, I still feel that way.

However, I am now less certain that Chadwell really cares whether or not The Citadel plays Charleston Southern going forward. I think he may care a lot more about Jamey Chadwell, which is not unreasonable. He has to market himself.

Chadwell is a good coach with a big mouth, which is not an unprecedented combination, and ultimately of no real consequence. What I found more interesting is that on Monday morning, another Chadwell “smack talk” comment made its way to Twitter, but not via the coach’s account or that of any media member. No, it was tweeted out by the school.

Not CSU’s department of athletics, mind you, but the official school account. That was very telling.

I’ve written before that when it comes to football scheduling, The Citadel has to act in its best interests. If that doesn’t work out to the benefit of Charleston Southern, that’s too bad — but it’s not The Citadel’s fault, either.

It’s possible Charleston Southern’s administration doesn’t understand that. Maybe. I think it’s more likely the folks running CSU understand it all too well, and have decided to employ a “bullying through the media” approach in an effort to get what they want.

We saw this last year, with CSU hoops coach Barclay Radebaugh’s public complaints about basketball scheduling, which were also aimed at College of Charleston. That tactic worked so well that neither The Citadel nor CofC will be playing the Buccaneers in roundball this season, either.

The same thing is probably going to happen with regards to football.

In fact, I have a suggestion for the administration at The Citadel. If the people running Charleston Southern are going to have this kind of attitude when it comes to varsity athletics, then I see no need for any of The Citadel’s teams to compete against CSU. Our students deserve better.

The pictures this week are not good. They rarely are, but this time I had some additional problems. I have been unable to order them properly, for which I apologize. They also are not annotated, though I may be able to go back later and add some descriptive comments for some of them.



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