Coastal Carolina reacts to season-opening loss
A Coastal Carolina football record was matched Saturday in the team’s season-opening 30-23 loss to Eastern Michigan, as Massimo Biscardi kicked a 53-yard field goal near the end of the first half.
That matched the school record set by Alex Catron in November 2014 at Gardner-Webb.
The sophomore’s career high had been a 50-yarder last Sept. 22 at Louisiana.
“If I can provide anything for my team I will,” Biscardi said.
Biscardi is on the Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award preseason watch list after making 13 of 16 field goal attempts last year as a freshman.
He was 3 of 4 Saturday, making kicks of 53, 45 and 38 yards and missing a 26-yarder with 3 minutes to play, prior to his 38-yarder with 40 seconds left.
“It’s obviously upsetting. It was a short field goal and it should have been a gimme,” Biscardi said. “But sometimes you just make a bad mistake and you just learn from it. You can’t let that get the best of you. I was upset for a little bit but I just shook my head and moved on to the next one and I made the next one. It’s all about how you finish.”
The expansion of Brooks Stadium may have altered how the wind blows through the stadium, which will impact field goal attempts. The stadium now has more of a full horseshoe shape leaving only the south end zone open and unblocked by seating and the Norman field house.
“I did notice it was a little windy out there today,” Biscardi said. “It shifted a lot. It was going back and forth. . . . You’ve just got to be aware of that every time your offense has the ball. I just paid attention to that and adjusted.”
A different defense
The Chants and new defensive coordinator Chad Staggs debuted the new 3-4 defense – featuring three down lineman and four linebackers – Saturday after running a 4-3 defense last season.
Staggs was hired in February as a linebackers coach and took over coordinator duties in July when Marvin Sanders left the program after one-plus season.
After giving up an average of 451 yards per game in 2018, CCU limited EMU to 315 – 188 passing and 127 rushing – but also allowed senior quarterback Mike Glass III to complete 20 of 22 pass attempts (91 percent).
“I thought they played hard. I thought they rallied to the football. We caused some negative plays,” Coastal head coach Jamey Chadwell said.
EMU was 5 of 11 on third down and converted its lone fourth-down attempt. “We’ve got to be better there,” Chadwell said.
Staggs spent the past two seasons as Furman’s defensive coordinator and previously worked with Chadwell for several years, serving as his defensive coordinator for seven seasons – at North Greenville from 2009-11, Delta State in 2012 and Charleston Southern from 2013-16.
“I think everybody is more bought in now as a team, and on the defense I feel everyone is flying around,” junior defensive tackle C.J. Brewer said. “We do some things different than we did in the past, different coverages and stuff, and you have to make sure you’re in your gap where you’re supposed to be, coming downhill making sure you’re there.”
A solid number
The Chanticleers drew an announced crowd of 14,237, including a nearly full student section, to its season opener Saturday, which is up considerably from the team’s 2018 per-game average.
According to NCAA statistics, Coastal ranked 127th out of the 130 FBS teams in average home attendance in 2018 with an average of 10,463 tickets sold per game.
The Chants were ahead of only Ball State, Massachusetts and Northern Illinois by less than 200 tickets per game each.
The Chants lost a scheduled home game against Campbell because of Hurricane Florence, so the average was based on five games. The teams played a midweek game at Campbell in Buies Creek, N.C., after the Chants evacuated their campus.
CCU recently completed a stadium expansion project that increased its capacity to approximately 20,000.
The larger crowd could not will the Chants to a win. They had won eight consecutive home openers, but they also fell to 1-5 at Brooks Stadium over the past two years and 2-9 in their last 11 home games dating to Week 2 in the 2017 season.
On hurricane watch
After being displaced from the campus for three weeks last year because of Hurricane Florence and subsequent flooding, the Coastal football team may once again be faced with evacuating the campus and traveling for an unspecified amount of time with Hurricane Dorian lurking in the Atlantic.
The path of the storm is still to be determined, but it is expected to impact the Southeast coast and could be in the Carolinas by Wednesday.
Chadwell said the team has already made some provisional plans for the coming week, prior to Saturday’s game at Kansas.
“I know we’re already prepared for it, we’ve already made arrangements to move if we have to up to another place to practice and do what we need to do before we get to Kansas,” he said. “The challenge will be if something does hit and we can’t come back for awhile, we’ll have to figure that out.”
Junior running back C.J. Marable believes the Chants will be prepared for Kansas in spite of any adverse circumstances this upcoming week.
“I think we’re really going to be ready against Kansas,” Marable said. “We should be straight. Everybody will keep their heads up and we’ll be alright.”