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Big South Opponent Previews: Coastal Carolina
With 2011 Football Training Camp completed and classes now in session, LibertyFlames.com continues its Big South opponent previews.
During today's Big South opponent preview, LibertyFlames.com takes a look at Coastal Carolina, Liberty's Big South rival and opponent for the Flames' Homecoming contest on Oct. 15.
During the month of August, LibertyFlames.com will release a brief look at each of Liberty's six Big South foes. The half-dozen opponents stand between the Flames and an unprecedented fifth-straight Big South Conference title.
Each preview will include a short write up about Liberty's conference opponents, opponent quick facts, plus links to recent match-ups with each opponent. In addition, each preview will include an audio clip from the Flames Sports Network, which will feature an interview with the opposing head coach and a key returning player, plus head coach Danny Rocco's thoughts on the upcoming match-up.
Today, LibertyFlames.com continues the series by looking at the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, one of two teams Liberty finished tied with in 2010 for the Big South Conference title and the recipient of the league's first-ever automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs. Coastal Carolina was predicted to finish third in the annual Big South preseason poll and grabbed one first-place vote.
2011 Big South Preseason Football:
1. Liberty (15) – 123
2. Stony Brook (2) – 104
3. Coastal Carolina (1) – 96 (one first-place vote, five second-place votes, 11 third-place votes, one fourth-place vote)
4. Charleston Southern – 59 – CSU Preview
4. Gardner-Webb – 59 – GWU Preview
6. VMI – 42 – VMI Preview
7. Presbyterian College – 21 – PC Preview
Coastal Carolina got off to a rough start in 2010, with the Chanticleers entering Big South competition with a 1-4 record that only included a 20-point home victory over Delaware State.
When nine-year head coach David Bennett and his squad headed to Clinton, S.C., on Oct. 16, most outside watchers did not give the squad much of a chance at a title run. The trip upstate seemed to ignite Coastal Carolina's offense, as the Chanticleers averaged 39.8 points during the rest of the season, guiding them to a 5-1 record during the second half of the year.
During the two most crucial games of the year, Coastal Carolina outscored Liberty, 45-31, and completely controlled Charleston Southern for 60 minutes, 70-3. The sizeable wins during the last two games of the regular season pushed Coastal Carolina to the front of the three-way tie in the conference standings, giving the Chanticleers their second playoff berth in program history.
Coastal Carolina was awarded a home game during the first round of the FCS Playoffs and eventually dropped a 17-10 decision to No. 21/24 Western Illinois on a late touchdown.
Bennett will look to become the league's first back-to-back FCS Playoff participant in 2011, but he will have his work cut out for him. He returns 15 starters, the second-lowest returning starter number this year in the Big South Conference.
The biggest loss on offense will be at quarterback, as three-year starter Zach MacDowall has graduated after throwing for 2,632 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2010. In the 14-point victory over the Flames, MacDowall tied a career high with 382 passing yards (25-of-37) and three touchdowns.
Four of Coastal Carolina's six returning offensive starters are on the offensive line, including second-team Big South all-conference honoree Jamey Cheatwood. David Duran, a first-team all-conference tight end, is Coastal Carolina's top returning weapon, after finishing 2010 with 34 receptions for 472 yards.
Coastal Carolina's returning strength in 2010 will be in its defense, with the Chanticleers returning eight of 11 starters. Spotlighting the group of eight is linebacker Andrea Jacobs, the 2010 Big South Defensive Player of the Year. Jacobs finished last year with 104 tackles, including 12.0 tackles for a loss.
Along with Jacobs, Coastal Carolina also returns first-team Big South cornerback Josh Norman, who finished 2010 with 56 tackles and ranked No. 5 in the league in passes defended (10).
Three of Coastal Carolina's five non-conference foes will be new to the program's schedule. The five-game run includes a season-ending road trip to Western Carolina on Nov. 19, meaning the Chanticleers will be scoreboard watching during the final weekend of the year.
The overall series between the Flames and the Chanticleers is tied 4-4, with Liberty winning the previous three prior contests to Coastal Carolina's 14-point victory in Conway, S.C., last year.
The last two times Coastal Carolina made the trip to Lynchburg, Liberty has walked away with double-digit victories. Aldreakis Allen, who has returned to the team this season, was the offensive star in the 2009 game, as he rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns and finished with six receptions for 83 yards to spur a 58-13 Flames victory.
The meeting between the Flames and the Chanticleers on Oct. 15 will culminate the University's annual Homecoming weekend. Liberty has posted a 26-11 overall record in Homecoming contests, including four wins in a row that the Flames have won by a 36.2 margin.
Oct. 15, 2011 (3:30 p.m.)
Williams Stadium (19,200)
Location: Conway, S.C.
Colors: Teal, Bronze and Black
Conference: Big South
Stadium: Brooks Stadium (9,102)
Surface: Natural Grass
President: David A. DeCenzo
Athletic Director: Hunter Yurachek
Head Coach: David Bennett (Presbyterian, '84)
Record at School: 56-35 (Eight Years)
Career Record: 119-52 (15 Years)
Maurice Drayton - Asst. Head Coach/Special Teams Coord./Wide Receivers
Kevin Brown - Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
Curtis Walker - Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Gary Smallen - Tight Ends
Grant Cain - Defensive Backs
Mike Castellano - Cornerbacks
Patrick Covington - Offensive Line
Keith James - Running Backs
Jamel Smith - Defensive Line
Drew Watson - Safeties
PLAYER & TEAM INFORMATION
2010 Record: 6-6
Conference Record/Finish: 5-1/t-1st
Offensive Formation: Spread/Multiple
Defensive Formation: 4-3
Lettermen Returning/Lost: 52/27
Starters Returning/Lost: 15/11
Offensive/Defensive Starters Returning: 6/8
Offensive Starters Returning: Bryan Brooks (RT), Jamey Cheatwood (LT), Jamie Childers (TE), David Duran (TE), Tim Franklin (RG), Pat Williams (C)
Defensive Starters Returning: Tre Henderson (CB), Dexter Holman (DL), Andrae Jacobs (LB), Marcus Lott (S), Chad McField (DL), Josh Norman (CB), Desmond Steward (LB), Chris Thomas (DE)
RELATED MATCH-UP LINKS:
Nov. 13, 2010: Coastal Carolina won, 45-31 – Recap – Box Score
Last Meeting at Home:
Oct. 17, 2009: Liberty won, 58-13 – Recap – Box Score
Athletics Web Site
Photo Gallery - Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina - Nov. 13, 2010:
Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett, at Big South Football Media Day:
Big South Conference Preview Video Package, featuring Charleston Southern: