A few players had a larger role against Norfolk State on Saturday than they did in Coastal Carolina’s first two games, which was to be expected considering the final score of 46-7 and overmatched opponent.
But it might be the start of more playing time for at least a couple of them.
Both freshman running back Reese White and freshman wide receiver Aaron Bedgood, both of Georgia, made impacts in the early stages of the game.
White (5-10, 185) finished with two rushing touchdowns and 24 yards on four carries, and Bedgood (5-8, 165) had two catches for 37 yards and a 9-yard gain on an end-around. He got the chance to play more because senior receiver Ky’Jon Tyler missed his second straight game with an injury.
“Aaron’s workload has increased,” CCU coach Jamey Chadwell said. “Aaron has a chance to be a really good player. I think you see some of the ability he has, so we’re trying to give him more meaningful minutes.
“Aaron will run through a wall. He loves to play football. He tries to be physical and tough so we’re trying to give him more opportunities to be comfortable. We wanted to give him more opportunities and he did a good job.”
Entering Saturday, Bedgood had one carry for 4 yards before becoming the ninth Chant to catch a pass this season, and White had three rushes for 5 yards.
Chadwell is attempting to lighten the workload of C.J. Marable, who entered the game leading the Chants in rushing and receiving and was averaging 25 touches per game between rushing and receiving while also participating on special teams.
“Reese is somebody who’s going to play for us for the rest of the year,” Chadwell said. “He got some more meaningful stuff. For us to continue to have the type of season we all want to have, he’s got to get more quality reps and be able to help us in certain things.”
The Chants now have 11 players who have caught a pass as redshirt freshman tight end Patrick McSweeney, redshirt sophomore tight end Michael McFarlane and redshirt freshman receiver Jai Williams all recorded their first catches of the season, Williams catching two for 16 yards with a touchdown.
Freshmen quarterbacks Grayson McCall and Jarrett Guest combined to go 4-for-4 passing for 36 yards, and redshirt freshman Kered Class of North Myrtle Beach and redshirt sophomore Anthony McAfee of Myrtle Beach and Carolina Forest High each got their first carries of the season, Class gaining 43 yards on five carries and McAfee 17 yards on one carry.
“We got some young guys in there in the second half too, which was great to see,” Chadwell said. “A couple local guys got some carries, which was good because they’ve earned that opportunity.”
Chadwell has said McAfee could see more playing time in the backfield, particularly if there are any injuries at the running back position. “He’ll have a role, as well. He’s done a good job in fall camp of earning some playing time,” Chadwell said a couple weeks ago.
With five starters out with injuries, several backups started Saturday, including two on the offensive line – junior Sam Thompson at center and redshirt sophomore Antwine Loper, a Carolina Forest High product who is 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds, at right tackle. The offensive line led the Chants to 401 rushing yards on 59 carries and didn’t allow a sack.
“We moved some things around a little bit there and it’s a work in progress,” Chadwell said. “I thought our guys played pretty well, for the most part. I was disappointed especially early in the first half, I felt like we were falling off blocks some, we had some chances and we weren’t finishing blocks and we have to get better there, no matter who is playing, we have to finish some blocks. It was a solid effort but the competition continues to ramp up.”
Through three games, Chadwell is still trying to find a fair amount of balance on offense.
The Chants threw the ball 43 times in the opening 30-23 loss to Eastern Michigan, and after four of those were intercepted, CCU threw the ball just 14 times while rushing it 49 times against Kansas. “I don’t want to have to throw the ball 43 times in a game. . . . I don’t like throwing four interceptions,” Chadwell said after the Kansas game.
Against Norfolk State, the Chants completed 14 of 30 passes for 120 yards and ran it 59 times for 401 yards.
“I’ll take 400 any day, that’s a good deal,” Chadwell said. “We threw the ball 30 times. If we hit just 20 out of 30 you’re looking at 200-plus yards passing and you’re talking about how you are closer to balance. We have to throw the ball better. It doesn’t mean we have to throw it more, the ones that are there we’ve got to make.”
Massimo Biscardi missed all three of his kicking attempts in Coastal’s win last week at Kansas, but bounced back with a perfect day on Saturday.
The sophomore missed field goals inside 32 yards and an extra point last week to nearly cost CCU the game a week after hitting three of four field goals including 53- and 45-yarders.
Against Norfolk State, Biscardi hit field goals of 41 and 32 yards in the first quarter and later made all three of his extra point attempts.
The CCU coaching staff gave freshman Kieran Colahan of Australia his first shot at an extra point this season, but he missed his first two of three opportunities in the first and fourth quarters. The one he did make was a low line drive just over the crossbar.
Coastal coaches place mouse traps in player lockers as a reminder the game against Norfolk State could be a “trap” game, but they weren’t a hazard.
“They weren’t actually set up. They were just there for like the memo,” defensive lineman Sterling Johnson said.
“It definitely threw me for a loop,” quarterback Fred Payton said. “We came out of a team meeting and the last thing they said was, ‘Don’t take the cheese.’ We came down into the locker room and the mouse trap is sitting right there for you.”
Coastal football players noticed more of a buzz around campus last week in the aftermath of their win at Kansas, the first over a Power Five Conference school in program history.
Payton said his professors took the time to recognize and congratulate football players at the beginning of classes.
“And just walking around school you hear people say, ‘Go Chants,’ and ‘we beat Kansas’ and things of that nature,” Payton said. “Morale is up and we hope we continue winning to keep boosting that morale up.”
- The Chants improved to 18-1 all time versus teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), 1-0 against Norfolk State and 1-1 against Spartans coach Latrell Scott, who coached Richmond to a 41-19 win over Coastal in 2010.
- Coastal had the ball for nearly two-thirds of the game Saturday – 39:10 of the 60 minutes.
- The Chants scored touchdowns on four of their five second-half possessions, running out the clock with their fifth.
- Chandler Kryst’s interception in the first quarter was his third in four quarters of football going back to the second quarter against Kansas. He had two interceptions in his first three seasons at CCU.