CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Even with uncertainty regarding the upcoming season, the mood within Coastal Carolina University’s football program is upbeat as the Chanticleers are just seven days away from taking the field for fall camp.
“The chemistry is starting to get way better,” admitted senior defensive lineman CJ Brewer. “We were good at first but I feel like it keeps gradually improving. As long as we keep everybody healthy, I feel like it’s going to be a great year for us.”
Since Coastal’s move to the FBS three seasons ago, depth has been one of the main issues in the team’s struggles. With the upcoming season around the corner, defensive coordinator Chad Staggs feels the playing field is a bit more even across the conference.
“I think we’ve really closed that gap and I think you have to string together many classes to see the benefit,” Staggs said. “It’s not an overnight thing. You can try to fix positions but I think that takes a little bit of time to meet the talent level for a Division I team and I think we’re getting there, but I think we have to continue to string classes. This class that’s coming in just from what I’ve seen of them is a really good freshman class this year.”
Perhaps the main concern for CCU heading into the season is figuring out what the schedule will look like. With more conferences going to conference-only schedules, the Chants could miss out on matchups against South Carolina and Kansas. But they realize there is more at stake this year than playing major programs.
“We want to play everybody on our schedule but we’re just ready to play football. So whoever we play against when the season starts, we’ll give it our all,” senior defensive lineman Tarron Jackson said.
“It’s disappointing to me but our ultimate goal is to get to a bowl game and to win the conference,” added Staggs. “The conference is more important than that game and I think the players have that in perspective. We’ve got a really special group in terms of understanding what our goals are and that’s a great game to play, but that’s not within the goals of what this team has.”
With a stout defense and a number of offensive weapons returning, this Coastal football team is primed to make a run and advance to the program’s first-ever bowl game.