The Coastal Carolina football team is expecting to get at least a couple players back from injury for Saturday’s 3 p.m. game against Troy at Brooks Stadium.
Starting sophomore quarterback Fred Payton may not be one of them.
Head coach Jamey Chadwell said Wednesday that sophomore Bryce Carpenter will get his second consecutive start as Payton continues to recover from an apparent shoulder injury that he suffered on Oct. 12 against Georgia State.
Payton has had nearly three weeks to improve, as the Chants are coming off an open date last weekend and he did not play on Oct. 19 at Georgia Southern.
Chadwell expects Payton to be available to play, but if he plays and how much will be determined through Friday’s practice.
“He’s still a little banged up,” Chadwell said. “The anticipation is he’ll get to the point where he can play, then we’ll make the decision after seeing him practice. He must practice to play. He’s got to be able to perform and show us what he can do. I’m hoping he can. He’s made great progress in the last week or so and we’ll see what happens by Friday.”
Carpenter played every offensive snap in his fourth career start for CCU two weeks ago in Statesboro, Ga., and was 11 of 14 for 96 yards and a touchdown and gained 61 yards on 23 carries, all of which were team highs.
He had the Chanticleers in a position to defeat Georgia Southern following his 1-yard touchdown run in the first overtime, but a 20-yard Shai Werts touchdown pass on fourth-and-5 forced a second OT and the Chants fell 30-27 in three overtimes.
“I think Bryce did a good job [against Georgia Southern] and through practice he’s earned that [start] and we’ll sort of see how it goes from there,” Chadwell said.
Carpenter may have earned himself more playing time with his performance through a steady rain and wind gusts from tropical system Nestor.
“I thought he competed really hard considering the conditions,” Chadwell said. “He took some shots Saturday and got back up and kept fighting. I thought he did a great job. There’s some things he needs to improve but considering the circumstances and the situation I thought he did a nice job to continue to play more and earn more of a bigger role.”
On the season, Carpenter has completed 32 of 49 passes (65.3 percent) for 363 yards and six touchdowns without an interception while running for 264 yards and a TD on 59 carries. Payton has completed 88 of 136 passes (64.7 percent) for 1,009 yards and six TDs with six interceptions, and has gained 131 yards and scored a TD on 34 carries.
If Payton is absent Saturday it could limit the playbook.
“Fred does certain things better than Bryce, obviously, so there are certain things maybe we would do with Fred that we might not do with Bryce, but also Bryce brings a different element to the game as well that maybe Fred doesn’t,” Chadwell said. “. . . You try to add things you think he’s really good at and let him go play from that standpoint.”
Here and gone
Both redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Antwine Loper and freshman backup running back Reese White are expected to play after both missed two games with illnesses, though both will likely be limited or diminished because of their ailments.
Loper, a Carolina Forest High grad who became a starter in place of the injured Steven Bedosky after the second game of the season, reportedly had an emergency appendectomy.
“He’s obviously got to get back in football shape but we’re hoping we can get him for a few plays or at least have him available in case we need him,” Chadwell said.
Chadwell said White’s illness – possibly mono – resulted in a 20-pound weight loss, so he’ll have to continue regaining weight and strength.
CCU has been able to rule out the returns this season of junior linebacker Silas Kelly and junior safety Enock Makonzo with leg injuries, as well as freshman receiver Aaron Bedgood. The Chants hope to regain the services of Bedosky sometime this season, though Chadwell puts his return this season at “50-50.”
Bye bye byes
Coastal has completed its two open weeks this year and will finish the season with games over the next five weeks.
The Chants (3-4) have dropped three straight games and seven consecutive games in the Sun Belt Conference going back to the final four games in 2018, so they’ll try to right the ship over the final month of the season.
“I’d love to win them all and I think we’re capable of doing that,” Chadwell said. “The thing we need to get accomplished is our guys have to understand the difference in the details of winning and losing. We are not good enough to go out with our talent and win games, and we’re not going to be that way for a little while.
“So our guys understanding the little things that have to happen every day on this campus – going to class, showing up on time, taking notes in meetings, taking care of the locker room, championship behaviors – those guys have to understand that matters every day, and when we get that I think you’ll see this team play extremely well because they’re playing hard, they’re playing for each other, but we’re not doing the little things necessary to win games consistently in this league.”
Saturday’s game is part of homecoming weekend, and some of CCU’s standout alumni may make an appearance at Brooks Stadium for the contest.
“I think a lot of former players will be here,” junior offensive lineman Trey Carter said. “ I know Bruce Mapp will be here and Devin Brown, and I know a lot of students that graduated that we know are coming back, so that will obviously bring a little more energy. We’ll be excited to play in front of those guys again.”
CCU is 10-6 all-time in Homecoming games and has lost two straight.
The NCAA voted unanimously Tuesday to allow college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness “in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”
The NCAA board directed the three separate divisions of college sports to begin determining how to update their rules while maintaining a distinction between college and professional sports.
The board members said in a release Tuesday that all changes should ensure student-athletes have the same opportunities to make money as all other students, maintain the priorities of education and the college experience, and ensure that rules are “transparent, focused and enforceable” and do not create a competitive imbalance. The board wants each division to implement new rules by January 2021.
Chadwell said the NCAA has reached out to coaches for their input on how to make it work, and he approves of the policy change.
“I think it’s a good step by the NCAA to recognize there is a need for that for the student-athlete,” Chadwell said. “For them to recognize that this needs to be done I think is a big deal. I think it’s a great first step for our student-athletes to allow them to benefit. . . . The big thing is you want to make sure everybody has the same competitive advantage and same playing field.”
Who: Troy (3-4, 1-2 Sun Belt Conference) at Coastal Carolina (3-4, 0-3)
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Brooks Stadium, Conway
TV/Radio: ESPN3, WRNN 99.5 FM
Tickets: GoCCUSports.com or 843-347-8499