So we caught up with Randy from the CoastalFans.com blog/forum for a Q&A session on this weekend’s 1st round matchup between Bethune-Cookman and Coastal Carolina. A big thank you to Chanticleer super-fan Randy for his time and effort.
Q1) After securing the first playoff win in school history a season ago, how have expectations changed this season for Coastal Carolina? Would Chanticleer fans consider this year a disappointment if CCU did not win a playoff game?
A: Expectations were hopeful after last season, with many fans predicting CCU would finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 9-3 heading into the postseason. I don’t think it would be fair to the hard work & effort our players have put in this year to brand their entire season – a 10-2 effort which has set a ton of all-time program records – as a “disappointment” just because of one loss.
Q2) Head Coach Joe Moglia has hit the ground rolling in Conway leading CCU to back to back Big South titles and playoff appearances in his first two seasons. What has made Coach Moglia so successful so quickly? Is he not long for the office in Conway or do you expect him to stick around with the hopes of building CCU into a FCS powerhouse?
A: Coach Moglia has consistently said that it would take a “dream job”-type scenario to pull him away from Conway. Specifically, he says it would have to be a job where both CCU’s AD & President tell him that he has to take it. Moglia’s not going anywhere for the likes of Toledo, Buffalo or UConn. He will be here for the foreseeable future unless that “dream job” comes along. Personally, I’m more worried about us retaining OC Dave Patenaude if our offense continues to put up the numbers it has been putting up since he came on board.
Q3) Any concerns about the mood/health of the team after losing to SEC power South Carolina 70-10 in your last outing and 2 of the last 3 games overall?
A: There is absolutely no concern about the team’s health after playing South Carolina. We came out of that game with no new injuries to any of our players. As far as the “mood” of the team, I don’t think losing a game to a top-10 FBS team is really cause for much concern. Besides – if I recall correctly, Bethune-Cookman got blown out by ACC powerhouse Florida State by a score of 54-6 & went on to win their next five games by an average margin of 19.4 points.
The loss to CSU, a five point loss on the road against a top-20 FCS school, did indeed sting. But I think it refocused our players on their ultimate goal, which is to still be playing football in January.
Q4) Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro is a Walter Payton Award Finalist, linebacker Quinn Backus is a Buck Buchanan Finalist, Matt Hazel has had a stellar career there, but who are some of the lesser known guys who have made significant contributions this season?
A: Other players to look out for include RB DeAngelo “Hop” Henderson, WR DeMario Bennett and KR Devin Brown. Hop has consistently shown himself to be our future starter at RB, rushing for 536 yds on the season. Bennet, a Senior transfer from South Carolina, has been our #2 receiver all year and is just as dangerous as Hazel. Brown, a RS Freshman, has been explosive on special teams for us this year. Brown set a program record with a 95 yd kickoff return for a touchdown against VMI.
Q5) Prediction on Saturday’s 1st round contest?
A: Bethune-Cookman is certainly no pushover, with one of the top defenses in the FCS. However, CCU has already squared off against several of the top-10 defenses at our level & done very well. We are winning games by an average of 22.6 PPG, and while BCU is only giving up an average of 12 PPG against FCS competition – I don’t think they’ve faced an offense quite like ours this season.
The Wildcats also consistently hurt themselves with penalties, having been flagged a total of 115 times for 944 penalty yards on the season. While the “energetic” coaching style of Brian Jenkins may indeed inspire his players, it unfortunately causes his team to make too many mistakes on which I think the Chanticleers will capitalize.
I do expect this to be a hard-fought game, and I do expect BCU to come out with a chip on their shoulder as they seem to feel they need to avenge their loss to the Chanticleers in last year’s FCS playoffs. The Wildcats obviously have a stellar defense, and it will be interesting to see how they contain RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (who has only lost 11 yards all season) and how they respond to our threats at WR. All that said – I think the Chants take this contest at home, 31-20.