Cajuns Make First Visit to Coastal Carolina
(This is the ninth in a series previewing the 2019 opponents of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns. Today: Coastal Carolina. The Cajuns make their first-ever visit to Brooks Stadium on Thursday, November 7th in a game televised on ESPNU. Information from Phil Steele's College Football Preview was helpful to this story.)
Two years ago, Jamey Chadwell was thrust into the interim head coaching job at Coastal Carolina when former head coach Joe Moglia was forced to take a leave of absence for health reasons. Now, after Moglia led the Chants in 2018, Chadwell moves back into the head coaching ranks. Chadwell likened his interim season as being a "substitute teacher." He inherits a team that flirted with bowl eligibility a year ago before dropping their final four games to finish at 5-7.
The Chanticleers used three different quarterbacks a season ago and two of them return. Sophomore Fred Payton started four games, throwing 677 yards and six touchdowns, adding another 147 on the ground. Bryce Carpenter started two games, passing for 464 yards and rushing for another 194. Coastal uses a two back offense and they are led by C. J. Marable, who started nine games and rushed for 719 yards, averaging over six yards per carry. Shiem King, a Kentucky transfer who sat out last year will provide depth. There is competition for the B back spot. Coastal returns four of their top five offensive linemen and should be able to get something done on the ground. The Chants have some talent, albeit young, at the WR spot.
Coastal Carolina allowed an average of 33.2 points and 451 yards per game. They have eight starters back on defense. Six of the front seven are back, including their top five linebackers. They have to replace their safeties, but their corners, led by Mallory Claiborne, are solid.
Two years ago, Coastal Carolina redshirted their entire freshman class. Their sophomores are all third year players. Six of them are projected starters. Coastal had just 13 seniors a year ago and their projected lineup has three seniors on defense and just two on offense.
SCHEDULE: Coastal plays all of its non league games before starting league play. The Chants visit UMASS and Kansas, and host Eastern Michigan in their season opener along with Norfolk State. Their road slate in the Sun Belt is tough, with trips to App State, Georgia Southern, Arkansas State and ULM. Georgia State, Troy, Louisiana and Texas State visit Conway. CCU does not play South Alabama
OUTLOOK: This is Chadwell's team now. Coastal Carolina has had a method to the madness, methodically building this squad to compete in the FBS. They did upset the Cajuns a year ago and Billy Napier will be reminding his Cajuns about that fact. CCU may be a bit better this year, but they still have a ways to go before they're ready to be a contender in the league. They'll flirt with bowl eligibility again this year, but will need a strong non-conference showing to have a shot at that.