Coastal Carolina

Randy Moss, Mike Tolbert, competition all part of Coastal Carolina’s spring football game

CCU coach Chadwell and players discuss spring game, team

Coastal Carolina football coach Jamey Chadwell, freshman quarterback Fred Payton and sophomore linebacker Silas Kelly talk about the team after Saturday’s spring game.
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Coastal Carolina football coach Jamey Chadwell, freshman quarterback Fred Payton and sophomore linebacker Silas Kelly talk about the team after Saturday’s spring game.

Coastal Carolina’s spring game, which culminated 15 spring football practices, offered a little bit more than the usual on Saturday at Brooks Stadium.

For starters, Pro Football Hall of Fame member Randy Moss and former NFL All-Pro fullback Mike Tolbert were in attendance, as were 40 or so recruits.

The Chants have upped the ante for the game with an alumni reception on its eve – hence Tolbert’s appearance – and a Kids Zone to give young children activities during the nearly two-hour game.

Moss was there with his youngest son, Montigo Moss, a wide receiver who is reportedly a CCU recruit.

It was also the first spring game for head coach Jamey Chadwell, who hoped to come out of the spring with a better understanding of who his starting quarterback would be for the 2019 season. The job is a two-player battle between freshmen Fred Payton of Suwanee, Georgia., and Bryce Carpenter of Sarasota, Florida.

Both players started games as true freshmen last season and Payton finished the season as the starter.

“I think they both have a chance to be pretty good players for us, but the consistency part is what they have to improve,” Chadwell said. “. . . I like those two guys and I think they’re both good leaders and represent us well and I’m thankful that they’re here.”

Saturday, Carpenter was 7 of 10 for 96 yards with a 65-yard touchdown pass to former Venice High School teammate Jaivon Heiligh, and gained 4 yards on four carries. Payton was 10 of 15 for 69 yards and rushed six times for 24 yards, scoring on a 9-yard run to cap a 65-yard drive.

“All props to Bryce Carpenter. He’s a great football player,” Payton said. “It actually keeps me on my toes with him being such a great competitor and a great football player. I think it’s going to go down to the wire. We’ll see how it goes.”

The first half Saturday included 12 offensive series, with Payton and Carpenter alternating reps with the first- and second-team offenses.

“I feel I became more of a student of the game this spring, studying extra film on my own and things like that to be able to come here and take control of the offense in all aspects,” Payton said. “I have to know not only what my job is but what other people’s job is as well so I can help them out and guide them. So I think that’s one thing I became better at this spring to better myself.”

Redshirt freshman Vic Colbert of Hanahan led the offense in the second half, and the defense ended his first five drives with two fumble recoveries and three sacks. The offense scored once in the second half on an 8-yard Colbert pass to freshman tight end Patrick McSweeney of Staten Island, N.Y.

The Chants used a lot of run-pass option in their offense Saturday.

“It allows us to play faster with a higher tempo, faster-paced tempo, which I think is good,” Payton said. “We can line up and read one guy and based on what he does we can run it or pass it.”

This year was Chadwell’s first spring as CCU head coach. His nine previous seasons as a collegiate head coach included four years at Charleston Southern before becoming Coastal’s offensive coordinator and associate head coach prior to the 2017 season.

“It has been a solid spring. I think we’ve made some good improvements in a lot of areas,” Chadwell said. “We’ve got a ways to go still developing some depth and cleaning up some things, but it’s a good starting point.”

Though Chadwell was CCU’s acting head coach in 2017 because Joe Moglia took a medical sabbatical, Moglia coached the team in the spring, prior to the announcement of his leave on the eve of fall practices.

“I was looking forward to see what it was like. It’s probably different under coach Chadwell than it was under coach Moglia,” Payton said. “You see a lot more energy, I think, that’s something he’s trying to incorporate in his new strategy as a head coach. Energy, competition, accountability and discipline are things he likes to emphasize. So I think those are aspects you see coming together this spring.”

Since taking over in January, Chadwell has added new titles to some existing coaches and hired four new ones, including two on defense – former Furman defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chad Staggs is the linebackers coach, and former Georgia State defensive line coach Skylor Magee is the defensive line coach. So they have had their impact this spring under defensive coordinator Marvin Sanders.

“Every coach has their own little tendencies that they have. Every coach has a different coaching style. So every coach brings something different to the table,” said sophomore linebacker Silas Kelly, who is recovering from surgery in December to repair a torn labrum caused by a dislocated shoulder and did not play Saturday.

“We still have the same defensive coordinator so we’re running all the same stuff with pretty much little tweaks on everything. It’s good to get other people in here because you get to see different aspects and different sides of football and guys who have different experiences from guys who might have been here previously. So it expands your knowledge of the game.”

The Chants have had several players leave or attempt to leave the program through the NCAA’s new transfer portal. Defensive end Jeffrey Gunter has committed to N.C. State and offensive lineman Brock Hoffman is transferring to Virginia Tech.

Sophomore running back Alex James, junior safety Jave Brown, graduate quarterback Kilton Anderson and freshman wide receiver Da’kendall (D.K.) James also entered the portal.

“I’m friends with all those guys. I didn’t want them to leave,” Kelly said. “Everybody has their own agenda and everybody’s trying to do what’s best for themselves, so they ended up doing what they thought was best for themselves.”

Kelly said he believes the remaining players and coaches are united in their mission.

“The biggest difference I’ve seen is the chemistry and bonding of the team,” Kelly said. “We’ve all really come together and it seems everybody is on the same page, everybody has the same goal in mind and we’re all working together and working hard and we’re having fun doing it.”

The Chants will be gaining a local wide receiver next season, as Myrtle Beach High senior Wyatt Roache announced he would be playing at Coastal Carolina. Roache was part of a triple threat at wide receiver for the Class 4A state champion Seahawks along with Da’Ron Finkley and Marcus Grissett.

CCU football season tickets are on sale. Call the Chanticleer Athletics Ticket Office at 843-347-8499 for more information. Pricing for special groups starting at $100 are available through the Chanticleer Athletic Foundation 843-349-6670.

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Alan Blondin covers golf, Coastal Carolina athletics and numerous other sports-related topics that warrant coverage. Well-versed in all things Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the Grand Strand, the Northeastern University journalism school valedictorian has been a sports reporter at The Sun News since 1993, earning eight top-10 Associated Press Sports Editors national writing awards and 18 top-three S.C. Press Association writing awards since 2007.