The anticipated return of sophomore linebacker Silas Kelly to Coastal Carolina’s starting lineup this week would appear to be bad news for fellow sophomore linebacker Teddy Gallagher.
Gallagher replaced Kelly after the Chants’ only preseason All-Sun Belt selection was injured early at Georgia State on Oct. 27, and it stands to reason he would return to a reserve role with Kelly’s return.
But Gallagher, a rare CCU find in Los Angeles, has played too well to lose his starting position, and will move to another linebacker spot in the Chants’ 4-3 defensive alignment.
“One of the advantages that happened with Silas being banged up – and he’s a very good football player – is that Teddy coming in and filling for him really has done an outstanding job,” Coastal coach Joe Moglia said. “So when you look at it now with Silas coming back, I think at least the mike and will linebacker [positions] are a stronger combination than we’ve had up until now. That’s going to be a plus for us as far as the rest of the season goes.”
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Gallagher, who is 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds, recorded a team-high eight tackles, which were all solo stops, including three tackles for loss and a sack as Kelly’s replacement at Georgia State. The sack came on the final defensive possession that secured a three-point win.
In his first Division I college start against Appalachian State last week, Gallagher tied for a team-high with 14 total tackles, including 10 solo stops, and another sack.
Despite starting just one game, Gallagher is tied for third on the team with 21 solo tackles.
“Across the whole defense we have a next man up mentality, wherever you are you’re ready to go in at any point,” Gallagher said. “So I knew if I got my opportunity, when I got my opportunity, I would make the most of it.”
The product of Loyola High and Glendale Community College said he had offers from Mountain West Conference schools, but chose a cross-country location.
“What stood out to me was the coaching staff,” Gallagher said. “[Linebackers] Coach [Ryan] Goodman was probably my favorite coach I encountered through all the years of recruiting, and going from beach to beach really isn’t too bad. . . . I kind of fell in love with this place.”
Two Coastal players and associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jamey Chadwell have been nominated for awards.
Chadwell is a nominee for the 2018 Broyles Award, which honors college football’s top assistant coach and is administered by the Frank & Barbara Broyles Foundation.
A two-time FCS National Coach of the Year finalist and three-time Big South Coach of the Year, Chadwell is in his second season at CCU. The Chants rank third in the Sun Belt Conference and 19th nationally in rushing yards per game (231.7), and sixth in the league in both total offensive yards (408.9 per game) and points (28.8 per game).
Freshman kicker Massimo Biscardi was named a top 20 semifinalist for the Lou Groza National Collegiate Place Kicker Award presented by the Orange Bowl and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. The award is presented to college football’s top place kicker.
Biscardi has made 11 of 14 field goal attempts and 26 of 29 extra points. He leads the team with 59 points, has made three field goals in a game twice this season, and ranks second in the Sun Belt and 32nd nationally with a 78.6 field goal percentage.
Biscardi, of Downington, Pa., was pressed into action because of an injury to senior Evan Rabon and set a new CCU record by making the first eight field goal attempts of his career, with a long of 50 yards.
Semifinalists will be voted on by a panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists and current NFL kickers to select the three finalists.
Sophomore 6-foot-4 defensive end Jeffrey Gunter of Durham, N.C., is one of 20 finalists for the 2018 Blanchard-Rogers Award presented by Hale’s Jewelers and the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame. The award, referred to as South Carolina’s Heisman, goes to the most outstanding collegiate player with South Carolina ties.
Gunter has 13.5 tackles for loss (for a loss of 65 yards) and five sacks, and his average of 1.5 tackles for loss this season leads the Sun Belt and ranks 17th nationally. He is 2.5 TFL’s away from tying CCU’s single-season record of 16 set by Maurice Simpkins.
He has also blocked a field goal, forced a fumble and registered 38 total tackles, two quarterback hurries and two pass breakups this season. The winner is determined through a vote of the SCFHOF fan members, media, and its boards and executive team). Online voting at https://scfootballhof.org/membership/vote/ closes on Dec. 10.
Means to ends
CCU has gotten great pass-rushing and big-play production from its pair of sophomore defensive ends, who have made the position a strength of the defense.
Joining Gunter, who is 6-4 and 255 pounds, Tarron Jackson of Aiken (6-2, 265) is fifth in the Sun Belt with 9.5 tackles for loss, is tied for second on the team with 42 tackles, and has three sacks, a pass breakup and a team-high four quarterback hurries.
“Both of them are good, solid defensive ends. I think they’re doing a good job and I feel really good about that,” Moglia said.
Who is under center?
Coastal has had three starting quarterbacks this season, and the starter Saturday will likely be either senior Kilton Anderson, who has started five games including the first four, or freshman Fred Payton, who has started the past two.
Anderson, who has been hampered by a high ankle sprain since the season’s fourth game, relieved Payton in the second half last week, when the Chants were held to 178 yards of offense in the game by Appalachian State.
Moglia said offensive coordinator Jamey Chadwell will decide on the starting QB, but both Payton and Anderson are expected to see the field. He explained why Payton started against the Mountaineers.
“[Anderson] was not sharp enough during the week of practice. He has missed a lot of time and we’re taking care of the ankle so we’re not giving him a whole lot of snaps [in practice],” Moglia said. “. . . He’s just a little on the rusty side and he’s not as sharp as he should be right now, and we all understand why. Going into the game we thought Fred was most ready to go at that moment.”
Freshman Bryce Carpenter, who started the fifth and sixth games of the season in Anderson’s absence but did not play for the second straight game Saturday, continues to nurse a knee injury and isn’t likely to play. Junior Chance Thrasher has also played a few snaps in each of the past two games.
Moglia gave his take Wednesday on player social media posts that involve the football team.
Senior running back Marcus Outlow expressed his thoughts in a Twitter post following Saturday night’s loss to Appalachian State on the five carries he received in the game for 12 yards.
The five rushes were second on the team to quarterback Fred Payton’s nine, and Outlow, the team’s leading rusher on the season with 661 yards on 131 carries, was also second on the team in receptions with four for 20 yards.
Outlow’s tweet stated the five carries, followed by two emojis – a crying laughing emoji and man shrugging his shoulders emoji.
The Chants were limited to 52 offensive plays, including 26 rushes, because they only gained 11 first downs against the Mountaineers. “We didn’t run the ball that often because they stopped us,” Moglia said. “We have tremendous confidence in Marcus. We don’t have any issues with Marcus. They really shut us down.”
Moglia said players generally have freedom to use social media as they choose, as long as they’re not attacking teammates or coaches.
“I’ve always been pretty good, within reason, a player saying whatever he wants to say to [media], and the social media thing is kind of a way of life,” said Moglia, who has a Twitter account with nearly 7,700 followers. “I would have an issue if he were talking about other players or truly condemning or knocking the team. For him to express maybe how much he was used in the game, I don’t have a problem with that. If he came after coach Chadwell I might have a problem with that.
“I think our guys are respectful enough that they have an understanding. . . . Certainly there is a line you don’t want to cross because you do represent your university and you represent your team. That would be the same thing for me and the rest of the guys on the staff.”
What does it take to get your name on a building at Coastal Carolina?
For CCU football alumnus Josh Norman, the athletics field house was named the Marrio and Josh Norman Field House for his gift of $1.5 million, according to CCU assistant athletic director of media relations Kevin Davis.
The brothers both played defensive back at CCU, and the donation is the largest ever to the university by a former student-athlete. Josh Norman, who is now playing for the NFL’s Washington Redskins, surprised his older brother, who preceded him at Coastal, with his inclusion in the name during the unveiling Saturday after the first quarter of CCU’s game against Appalachian State at Brooks Stadium.
A majority of the gift has been designated for the Brooks Stadium expansion project. It will also provide financial support for walk-on football student-athletes as well as CCU’s communication and theatre programs.