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CTK's Big South Preview: Charleston Southern
Audio Interview with Charleston Southern Head Coach Jay Mills
Audio Interview with Liberty Head Coach Danny Rocco
LibertyFlames.com is here to help prepare each Flames fan for the upcoming season, providing the most in-depth coverage prior to Liberty's home opener against North Greenville on Aug. 30 at Williams Stadium.
As part of the web site's Countdown to Kickoff coverage, we will be previewing each of the six Big South foes Liberty will face this year, including future league member Presbyterian. The six-part series will give fans some much-needed insight into the foes the Flames will square off against on the gridiron this year, as Liberty looks to defend its 2007 Big South Conference championship.
Listed below are Countdown to Kickoff's previous Big South preview segments, should you be interested:
VMI Preview (Aug. 3)
Presbyterian (Aug. 9)
Today, we are going to take a look at Charleston Southern. Coming off a 5-6 season and a 1-3 finish in the final 2007 Big South standings, the Buccaneers were predicted to finish fifth in the annual Big South coaches and media poll released at Big South Media Day on July 25.
Charleston Southern returns the second-fewest letterwinners among all Big South programs with 31, but more than half of the experienced players were starters last year. The Buccaneers return 11 offensive starters and seven players on defense, while return specialist Gerald Stevenson rounds out the list of 19 returning starters.
The Buccaneers will look for offensive leadership from Big South first-team all-conference selection Dee Brown. The wide receiver led the league in receiving yards per game (81.6) and total receiving yards (898), while ranking second in the conference with nine touchdowns.
Charleston Southern's potent passing attack led the Big South and ranked No. 24 nationally, averaging 246.0 passing yards per game. However, the Buccaneers will be looking to a new signal caller this year for leadership, as neither Eli Byrd (1,546 yards, 11 TDs) nor Sidney Bryant (1,137 yards, 10 TDs) returned to the program this year.
Charleston Southern will also be dealing with a significant loss on the defensive side of the field, as four-time Big South all-conference linebacker Jada Ross graduated last year. The three-time first-team all-league member finished his stellar four-year career as the Big South's all-time leading tackler with 454 career stops.
A pair of second-team all-conference defenders will look to lead the group in 2008. Defensive lineman Jake Killeen finished last year with 37 tackles and was tied for team-high honors with 6.5 tackles for a loss. Defensive back Okeba Rollinson ranked third on the team with 55 tackles.
The Buccaneers' defensive unit will also see the return of linebacker Josh Mitchell. The redshirt senior sat out the 2007 campaign after suffering a season-ending injury. In 2006, the linebacker started eight games and ranked fourth on the squad with 75 tackles.
The 2008 version of the Buccaneers will hit the ground running, facing two Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponents in two out of their first three games. Charleston Southern opens the year at Miami on Aug. 28, while traveling to the country's other Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 13.
Liberty and Charleston Southern will meet at Williams Stadium on Oct. 25, in Liberty's annual Homecoming contest. Liberty leads the overall series with the Buccaneers, 13-2, and holds a 7-1 record against Charleston Southern at Williams Stadium.
In their last meeting, Charleston Southern and Liberty traded points early on, but the Flames scored 40-consecutive points en route to a convincing 50-10 Big South opening victory over Charleston Southern on Oct. 20, 2007, at CSU Stadium.
The win pushed Liberty's record to 4-3 on the year and 1-0 in Big South play. The 40-point triumph was the largest margin of victory by the Flames in a conference game, surpassing Liberty 28-point win, 34-6, over Charleston Southern in 2004.
The loss droped Charleston Southern to 3-4 on the year and 0-1 in league action. The defeat also snapped the Buccaneers' 12-game home winning streaking, which was the third-longest active FCS home winning streak in the nation at the time.
Game 8 – Liberty vs. Charleston Southern
Oct. 25, 2008 (3:30 p.m.)
Williams Stadium (12,000) FTN (TV)
Location: Charleston, S.C.
Colors: Blue and Gold
Conference: Big South
Stadium: CSU Stadium (4,000)
Surface: Natural Grass
President: Dr. Jairy C. Hunter, Jr.
Athletic Director: Hank Small
Head Coach: Jay Mills (Western Washington '84)
Record at School: 27-28 (Five years)
Career Record: 30-49 (Eight years)
Jamie Chadwell - Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator
Thielen Smith - Defensive Coordinator
Chuck Kelly - Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
Chad Staggs - Secondary
RaShan Frost - Defensive Line
Gabe Giardina - Running Backs/Special Teams Coordinator
Player & Team Information
2007 Record: 5-6
Conference Record/Finish: 1-3/3rd
Offensive Formation: Multiple; One Back
Defensive Formation: Multiple Pro
Lettermen Returning/Lost: 32/18
Starters Returning/Lost: 16/10
Offensive/Defensive Starters Returning: 11/6
Offensive Starters Returning: Alex Bragg (OL), Dee Brown (WR), Clayton Coffman (TE), Donald Fondren (OL), Jarrett Johns (OL), Tim Jones (WR), Jordan Lancaster (OL), Zach Mitchell (OL), DeMarcus Moon (RB), Markus Murry (WR), J.W. Myers (OL)
Defensive Starters Returning: Philip Ashley (DB), Jake Killeen (DL), Chris Patrick (LB), Okeba Rollinson (DB), Josh Warrior (DB), Justin Witzmann (DL)
Key Web Site Links:
Athletics Web Site: www.csusports.athleticsite.com
Football Web Site
2008 Coaching Staff
2008 Football Media Guide
Series Record: Liberty leads, 13-2
Last Meeting: Oct. 20, 2007 (Liberty, 50-10)
In Big South Games: Liberty leads, 5-1
Current Series Streak: Liberty, W2
Record in Lynchburg: 7-1
at Williams Stadium: 7-1
Rocco vs. Charleston Southern: 2-0
Longest Liberty win streak: 7
Longest Liberty losing streak: 1, twice
Biggest Liberty win: 50-10 (2007)
Biggest Liberty loss: 0-25 (2000)
Last Liberty home win: 34-20 (2006)
Last Liberty road win: 50-10 (2007)
Record in Charleston, S.C.: 6-1
at CSU Stadium: 6-1
Mills vs. Liberty: 1-4
Longest Charleston Southern win streak: 1, twice
Longest Charleston Southern losing streak: 7
Biggest Charleston Southern win: 25-0 (2000)
Biggest Charleston Southern loss: 10-50 (2007)
Last Charleston Southern home win: 31-30 (2005)
Last Charleston Southern road win: 25-0 (2000)
10/30/93 – W - 42-6 - Lynchburg, Va.
11/19/94 – W - 59-27 - Lynchburg, Va.
10/28/95 – W - 19-15 - Charleston, S.C.
10/26/96 – W - 37-7 - Lynchburg, Va.
10/25/97 – W - 48-14 - Charleston, S.C.
10/3/98 – W - 28-21 ! - Lynchburg, Va.
10/23/99 – W - 34-14 - Charleston, S.C.
11/11/00 – L - 0-25 - Lynchburg, Va.
11/10/01 – W - 45-31 - Charleston, S.C.
10/19/02 – W - 31-17 * - Lynchburg, Va.
11/1/03 – W - 17-6 * - Charleston, S.C.
10/30/04 – W - 34-6 * - Lynchburg, Va.
11/12/05 – L - 30-31 * - Charleston, S.C.
11/11/06 – W - 34-20 * - Lynchburg, Va.
10/20/07 – W - 50-10 * - Charleston, S.C.
* - Big South Conference game
! - Overtime Game
Buccaneers Players to Watch
Note: Information provide courtesy of the Big South Conference football media guide
WR, Sr., 5-11, 180
Notes: Played and started in all 11 games for Charleston Southern … led the team in receptions and yards and was second only to the kicker in points scored … tied the school record with 13 receptions against Wofford in the second game of the season … had 177 yards receiving against V.M.I., putting him fifth all-time at Charleston Southern and was the second highest total in the League this year … topped 100 yards three times and was just 71 yards shy of 1,000 all purpose yards … had one kick return, taking it back 20 yards … his 69 receptions puts him seventh all-time on the career list … led the team in receptions in eight games this season … season long pass was a 64-yard touchdown against VMI … had a 57-yard touchdown reception against Hawai'i.
WR, Sr., 5-11, 185
Notes: Currently fifth all-time with 1,303 receiving yards for his career … played in nine games and earned six starts in his junior year ... finished the year third on the team in receptions with 27 and second with 401 yards ... averaged a team-best 14.9 yards per reception and had two touchdowns ... had at least six receptions in two different games; North Greenville on Sept. 29 and Presbyterian, Nov. 10 ... season-high 94 yards came against VMI on Nov. 3, a game that also saw a season-long 61-yard touchdown reception.
LB, R-Sr., 6-2, 232
Notes: Was a preseason All-Big South selection before the 2007 season before suffering a season-ending injury … returns healthy for his senior year … in 2006, Mitchell played in nine games, starting eight of them … fourth most tackles on the team with 75 total takedowns … had 6.5 tackles-for-loss, accounting for 15 yards … had 1.5 sacks for six yards, all coming against Liberty on Nov. 11 … intercepted a pass against Presbyterian, returning it 59 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory … had two quarterback hurries, and two pass breakups … had a season-high 13 tackles against Presbyterian in the season-opener.
DL, Sr., 6-3, 240
Notes: Played in 10 of 11 games this year for Charleston Southern … had 37 total tackles including 15 solo stops, which the third-highest total by a defensive lineman … tied for second on the team with 6.5 tackles for loss accounting for 30 yards … finished the season strong with a season-high seven tackles in each of the last two games … had 4.5 sacks for 21 yards which led the way for Charleston Southern … also had a team-high three quarterback hurries … had two sacks against North Greenville and Presbyterian.