Cajun Opponent Previews – Game 3 – Coastal Carolina
(This is the third in a series previewing the opponents of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns for the 2018 season. Today: Coastal Carolina)
After having success in the FCS ranks, Coastal Carolina accepted an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference. They had everything in place: Approved expansion of their stadium, a great enthusiasm. They even had a national title in baseball. Although not eligible for a bowl game, they were ready to embark on a new journey.
Then they lost their coach.
Just before the season began, seventh year head coach Joe Moglia announced he would miss the 2017 season for health reasons after a severe lung infection. Associate Head Coach and offensive coordinator Jamey Chadwell was thrust into the position for their first year in the Sun Belt. And, while everyone will tell you Chadwell did an admirable job, it just wasn't the same.
Coastal opened with an upset win at UMASS, 38-28 to start their new journey...and then proceeded to lose nine straight games, including a 52-10 thrashing at the hands of FCS Western Illinois. But the Chanticleers finished on a high note, winning at Idaho and then getting their lone home win of the season against Georgia Southern.
Here's some good news: Moglia is healthy. And, he's ready to get back to work.
Coastal returns eight offensive starters and four on defense. They won't be an easy team to prepare for, especially when they have the football. They run a spread option attack, similar to what Willie Fritz ran at Georgia Southern. They'll use a two back set, but that doesn't mean they won't throw the football. Malcom Williams is their leading returning receiver after catching 43 balls a year ago, earning him third team SBC honors. The Chants have some gaps to fill on the other side of the football, however, as eight starters depart.
OUTLOOK--The schedule does Coastal no favors, as they miss Texas State, who is picked last in the West Division. They play five of their first eight games on the road before hosting App State, Arkansas State and Georgia Southern late in the season. Just about everyone believes Moglia's presence is going to help the Chanticleers. But will it be enough to keep them from finishing where they are projected...
Coastal Carolina visits Cajun Field on Saturday, September 22nd. It will be the opening Sun Belt game for both schools.