Everything you need to know for Coastal Carolina vs. Florida A&M
Coastal Carolina won 48-3 in 2014, the first-ever meeting between the teams.
Strength: Lots of firepower at key positions.
Weakness: Inexperience at quarterback.
Strength: Strong offensive line.
Weakness: Inexperience at quarterback.
CCU’s cornerbacks vs. A&M’s receivers: Chants CBs Samson Baldwin, Kamron Summers and Dontay Hears will have their hands full defending Rattlers wide receivers Brandon Norwood and Montavious Williams, and tight end Desmond Noird on Saturday. Baldwin had four total tackles while Hears collected two and Summers had one in last week’s season-opening 38-14 win over Lamar. Noird led A&M in receiving with two catches for 48 yards in the team’s 70-3 loss to Miami, while Williams caught five passes for 45 yards and Norwood finished with 21 yards on two receptions.
Expect those numbers to be much different Saturday.
Players to watch
Senior outside linebacker Alex Scearce: Scearce led the Chants with 11 total tackles (one for loss), and had an interception last week. With junior linebacker Shane Johnson expected to be out Saturday after leaving last week’s contest with an ankle injury, expect Scearce to make up for the loss of Johnson by stepping up his game.
Senior running back De’Angelo Henderson: The explosive back – who gained 158 yards on 28 carries and had two TDs last week – has set records left and right, and could potentially break three more Saturday. He needs two touchdowns to pass former kicker Josh Hoke on the all-time program scoring list and with two rushing touchdowns he would pass Aundres Perkins (2003-06) on the program’s all-time rushing TD list.
With one touchdown Saturday, Henderson would become the only NCAA Division I football player to ever score at least one touchdown in 28 straight games to pass Virginia Tech’s Lee Suggs (2000-02) on the list. Expect big things from Henderson on Saturday.
Senior safety Richie Sampson: Fifth-year safety Sampson returned to the field after enduring season-ending shoulder surgery that kept him sidelined for a year and a half, and made an immediate impact against Lamar. Sampson returned an interception for a touchdown and had a career-high 10 tackles. He may have another great game Saturday.
Senior offensive lineman T.J. Jones: It’s a homecoming of sorts as the lineman played his high school ball one city over at Myrtle Beach High. Jones is eager for a chance to prove his worth after missing most of last season with leg troubles.
Junior defensive lineman Elijah Price: The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Price recorded five tackles (two for loss) and had one sack last week to lead the Rattlers’ defense. He made a big impact in his first two seasons, recording 45 total tackles (11.5 for loss) and is expected to make a big impact on FAMU’s D-line.
Redshirt senior receiver Montavious Williams: He had a team-best 627 yards with one touchdown last season and earned preseason All-MEAC honors prior to this year. While he caught just five passes for 45 yards last week, Williams may be poised for a bigger day Saturday. Said Coastal Carolina head coach Joe Moglia: “Their skilled guys are very good. [Williams] was very good a year ago, and he’s their No. 1 receiver this year. He’s also their punt returner and kickoff return guy; an excellent athlete.”
“We looked at all the film, frankly, from a year ago. [Florida A&M has] a new coach in Alex Wood, who came a year ago. Prior to that, he was head coach at JMU. He had a winning record there and he had, I think, a winning record at Buffalo. So he brings a winning record with him to Florida A&M, but he has a turnaround program and I think they’re excited at what they might be able to get done this year. Their opening game was against Miami; it’s hard for us to learn a lot from that game. Primarily because the offensive and defensive line of Miami was superior to the offensive and defensive line, respectively, at Florida A&M. That had an awful lot to do with control of the game.” – Moglia
“So, when we look at what they do – they run a spread offense, similar to what we do. They shift in motion probably one out of every four times, they will go to a hurry-up offense; they like to be able to do that. They don’t necessarily do that all the time, but they’d like to be able to do that. … They have very good skilled guys. They run [man-to-man] out of what looks to be three-deep out of what looks to be a three-deep zone or could be man-to-man coverage with a free safety in the middle. Or they run cover-two, they mix those up pretty well. When they come with pressure, they usually man up on the respective back or receivers. They’re solid from a special teams perspective.” – Moglia
Game plan, outlook
“With regard to what we have to do – offensively, we got to continue to prove at quarterback. We’ve got to continue to be able to not ask our guys to do things they can’t do. We need to make sure we’re protecting the ball. We have to make sure we have balance between our running backs and passing game. From a defensive perspective, we’ll continue to do what we have been doing. I think our defense is going to be a defense to be reckoned with this year. We have to be aggressive with the way we play; I think what you saw from us last Saturday night, you saw a lot of guys getting to the ball, a lot of gang-tackling. Again, other than missing those two field goals – our special teams has been outstanding.” – Moglia
▪ Coastal Carolina junior linebacker Matthew Fletcher doesn’t normally dress for football games, but Moglia said the former Army Ranger – who served four tours of duty in Afghanistan – will be suited up Saturday as the Chants take on Florida A&M a day before the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
“He served our country in the military,” Moglia said of Fletcher. “As we approach the anniversary of 9/11, and I’m going to talk about this at my team meeting – the history of terrorism, what happened on 9/11 and that kind of leads then to the role of the military and the role of democracy. Our jobs are certainly to understand and appreciate what’s taking place. The only way we can kind of live that is to take responsibility for the freedoms we have. Having been one of the guys that served our country, the least we could do for [Fletcher] is let him break down the team Saturday and suit up for the game.”
▪ True freshman quarterback Avery McCall – a Dillon High School product – is now Coastal Carolina’s permanent backup after redshirt freshman Chance Thrasher re-injured his shoulder and will have to miss the entire 2016 season.
Coastal Carolina 34, Florida A&M 10. The Chanticleers should win fairly easily as they look to get out to a good start.