Coastal Carolina doesn’t want to start a trend of forcing a comeback in the second half and is surely looking to get off to a hot start Saturday.
The Chanticleers trailed Lamar (Texas) by 11 points at halftime last week before scoring 35 unanswered points en route to a win, and Coastal Carolina head coach Joe Moglia is stressing the importance of a quick start as his team takes on Florida A&M in the home opener at 7 p.m. at Brooks Stadium.
Senior offensive lineman Chase Tidwell got the message loud and clear.
“I think when we get out there Saturday, everyone just has to relax and play ball. That’s kind of the mentality this week as we’re getting prepared for Florida A&M,” he said. “It’s just – everybody go out there and play ball. This is football; it’s a game, it’s supposed to be fun. If everybody’s relaxed and do their job right, hopefully we’ll come out with a win on Saturday.”
So, what exactly happened last week?
“I think last game we came out and it was obviously [quarterback] Josh Stilley’s first start, so there were nerves there,” Tidwell said. “I think we were just trying to do too much. … As an [offensive lineman], sometimes when you have inexperienced guys behind you, you kind of feel like you need to make the perfect block and kind of do too much instead of just doing your job.”
And it’s not just the offense that needs to be poised.
The Chants defense allowed Lamar halfback Kade Harrington to have his way in the first half last week as he scored two touchdowns on runs of 59 and 64 yards, respectively. But he didn’t have as much luck in the second half as Coastal Carolina’s defense shut out the Cardinals.
“We had a tough first half. Defensively, we gave up the two big runs to Harrington. He’s an outstanding back; I can see why he’s an All-American,” Moglia said. “From an offensive perspective, we weren’t consistent moving the ball. We only completed four passes. And the special teams – while they played well all game – missed two field goals.”
Moglia has faith that he and his coaching staff can assess the problem.
“One of the things our coaches are doing a very good job at is, a lot of times coaches try to correct too many things at halftime. That’s a mistake, because you can’t get them all done,” he said. “The coaches really talk about the one or two things we have to get fixed, and try to understand why there was a problem. Once they understand that, they’re able to get it fixed.”
Meanwhile, Florida A&M coach Alex Wood knows he can’t expect a slow start from the Chants. He also sees similarities in the formations they run.
“They’ve got a solid football team from top to bottom; they’re very fundamentally sound offensively and defensively,” Wood said. “Offensively, from a formational standpoint – they’re very similar to us. Defensively, they’re also similar to us they run a 4-3 and play a lot of corners coverage. So we’ll see some similarities that way. It will come down to personnel and we’ll see how we match up when we play.
“I know they’ve got outstanding personnel. Their running backs are outstanding, and their [defensive] front is quick and they can move, their secondary pursues well and they run the football well. It’ll be a challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.”