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CTK's Big South Preview: Coastal Carolina
Audio Interview with Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett
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)
Charleston Southern (Aug. 12)
Stony Brook (Aug. 16)
Gardner-Webb (Aug. 21)
Today, we conclude the preview series with Liberty's rival Coastal Carolina. Prior to the Flames claiming their first-ever championship in 2007, the Chanticleers laid claim to the conference crown the three-previous seasons (2004, 2005 and 2006). Coastal Carolina was the league's runner-up last year, with their only loss being a 13-point setback to the Flames on Nov. 3.
Coastal Carolina, who is entering its sixth season of sponsoring collegiate football, edged out Gardner-Webb for second place in the annual Big South coaches and media preseason poll released on July 25. Liberty was a near unanimous pick to finish No. 1 with 77 total votes, while Coastal Carolina (58) and Gardner-Webb (52) followed from a distance.
The Chanticleers return the second-most starters of any program in the Big South, 21, ranking only behind Gardner-Webb's 23 returning starters. Coastal Carolina will have back an even eight offensive and defensive starters, while adding five returning specialists.
Despite the lofty returning starter total, the Chanticleers will be without the services of four-time Big South all-conference performer Jerome Simpson. The wide receiver was one of two players selected in the NFL Draft, when he was a second-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals. Simpson finished up his illustrious career with 2,720 receiving yards and 44 touchdowns, both setting new standards in the Big South.
Among the returning eight offensive players will be first-team all-conference offensive lineman Brit Leggett. The rising senior will be looking to protect quarterback William Richardson, who threw for 1,596 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2007. Jamie Fordham, Coastal Carolina's leading rusher, also returns after running for 444 and a touchdown as a junior.
On the defensive side of the football, the Chanticleers return a plethora of all-conference honorees (five in total), including first-team defensive backs Brandon Autry and Marrio Norman. Autry finished tied for second on the team with 60 tackles, while 53 stops and five interceptions.
Coastal Carolina is under the direction of sixth-year head coach David Bennett, who was tabbed Big South Coach of the Year in 2004. The Presbyterian graduate guided Coastal Carolina to a 9-3 season in 2006, helping the Chanticleers garner a berth in the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
For the third time out of the last four years, Liberty rolled up over 500 yards of total offense, last year, en route to a 37-24 victory over three-time defending Big South champion Coastal Carolina, on Nov. 3, at Williams Stadium.
The game was played in front of 14,411 fans, marking the fourth-largest home attendance in stadium history. It also was the third time in 2007 Liberty had a home game with a crowd of more than 14,000 fans.
This go around, the Flames will have to battle the Chanticleers on their home turf, as Liberty opens defense of its 2007 Big South championship on the road at Brooks Stadium on Oct. 4. Liberty is winless in Conway, S.C., having dropped a 33-6 decision in 2004 and a 28-26 contest in 2006.
Game 5 – Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina
Oct. 4, 2008 (7 p.m.)
Williams Stadium (7,322) MASN
Coastal Carolina Quick Facts
Location: Conway, S.C.
Colors: Coastal Green, Bronze and Black
Conference: Big South
Stadium: Brooks Stadium (7,322)
Surface: Natural Grass
President: Dr. David DeCenzo
Athletic Director: Warren "Moose" Koegel
Head Coach: David Bennett (Presbyterian '84)
Record at School: 39-17 (Five years)
Career Record: 102-34 (12 years)
Jamie Snider - Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
Gary Smallen - Co-Offensive Coordinator
Curtis Walker - Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
Antoine Rivens - Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line
Drew Watson - Recruiting Coordinator/Safeties
Kevin Brown - Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks
Mike Castellano - Cornerbacks
Keith James - Running Backs
Hunter Spivey - Wide Receivers
Grant Cain - Inside Linebackers
Viktor Boyd - Strength Coach
Player & Team Information
2007 Record: 5-6
Conference Record/Finish: 3-1/2nd
Offensive Formation: Spread
Defensive Formation: 3-4/Multiple
Lettermen Returning/Lost: 53/12
Starters Returning/Lost: 21/6
Offensive/Defensive Starters Returning: 8/8
Offensive Starters Returning: Ryan Boehm (OL), Scott Fambrough (TE), Jamie Fordham (RB), Britt Leggett (OL), William Richardson (QB), James Sims (OL), Seth Smalls (OL), Alex Wolfe (OL)
Defensive Starters Returning: Brandon Autry (DB), Dominique Davenport (DB), Derrick Frasier (LB), Warren Jennings (DL), Marrio Norman (DB), Phillip Oboh (DL), Whittmin Reese (DB), D.J. Rice (LB)
Key Web Site Links:
Athletics Web Site: www.goccusports.com
Football Web Site
2008 Coaching Staff
2008 Football Media Guide
Series Record: Coastal Carolina leads, 3-2
Last Meeting: Nov. 3, 2007 (Liberty, 37-24)
In Big South Games: Coastal Carolina leads, 3-2
Current Series Streak: Liberty, W1
Record in Lynchburg: 2-1
at Williams Stadium: 2-1
Rocco vs. Coastal Carolina: 1-1
Longest Liberty win streak: 1, twice
Longest Liberty losing streak: 3
Biggest Liberty win: 38-21 (2003)
Biggest Liberty loss: 6-33 (2004)
Last Liberty home win: 37-24 (2007)
Last Liberty road win: N/A
Record in Conway, S.C.: 0-2
at Brooks Stadium: 0-2
Bennett vs. Liberty: 3-2
Longest Coastal Carolina win streak: 3
Longest Coastal Carolina losing streak: 1, twice
Biggest Coastal Carolina win: 33-6 (2004)
Biggest Coastal Carolina loss: 24-37 (2003)
Last Coastal Carolina home win: 28-26 (2006)
Last Coastal Carolina road win: 27-21 3OT (2005)
11/15/03 – W - 38-21 * - Lynchburg, Va.
10/23/04 – L - 6-33 * - Conway, S.C.
10/22/05 – L - 21-27 (3 OT) * - Lynchburg, Va.
10/28/06 – L - 26-28 * - Conway, S.C.
11/3/07 – W - 37-24 * - Lynchburg, Va.
* - Big South Conference game
Chanticleers Players to Watch
Note: Information provide courtesy of the Big South Conference football media guide
DB, R-Sr., 6-1, 195
Notes: 2007 First Team All-Big South… started in all eight games he played, playing safety for the first five and cornerback for the final three … missed the final two games with an injury, along with one other game during the year … led the Big South in five INTs … also his 53 tackles (including 28 solo) ranked ninth in the league (6.6 tpg), while adding one tackle for loss, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and four pass PBUs in 2007 … ranked second among DBs in tackles per game … had a Big South record tying three INTs along with one fumble recovery, one pass breakup and four tackles against Presbyterian … posted a career-high 11 tackles at James Madison and followed it with 10 tackles and one interception at Furman … had seven tackles (four solo) and one interception at Liberty … also recorded three tackles and one pass breakup in the victory over VMI ... tied for second in CCU history and Big South history with 10 career picks.
OL, R-Sr., 6-6, 290
Notes: Started all 11 games for the Chanticleers, playing predominantly at left tackle, but also seeing action at right tackle, helping Coastal to a runner-up finish in the Big South … graded out as Coastal's top offensive lineman for the 2007 season … has started 23 straight games on the offensive line.
LB, Sr., 6-0, 235
Notes: Second Team All-Big South in 2007 … tied for third at CCU (and 10th among league linebackers) with 60 tackles, while adding 5.0 tackles for loss, one sack, one interception, two fumble recoveries (t-3rd) and five forced fumbles (led the league in forced fumbles) on the year … had at least five tackles in six games, including seven or more in five of them … posted a season-high nine tackles at MEAC champion Delaware State and at Liberty … added one tackle for loss, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery against the Flames … had eight tackles each at Furman and against Presbyterian … picked off a pass along with three tackles in the win at CSU where the defense gave up no points … had four tackles (three solo) with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in the home win over Gardner-Webb … had seven tackles (five solo) with 3.0 tackles for loss (16 yards) and 1.0 sacks (11 yards) against Georgia Southern.
RB, Sr., 5-7, 185
Notes: Picked up his third letter after playing in all 11 games his junior season ... had 28 carries for career highs of 176 yards and three touchdowns on the year, while adding 523 yards and his first return touchdown on 19 returns ... ranked second in the Big South with a 27.5 yard per kick return average ... had a Coastal record 85-yard kickoff return touchdown in the fourth quarter to tie the score and change the game's momentum in a home win over VMI ... also had a 47-yard return against the Keydets earlier in the contest, earning him Big South Special Teams Player of the Week honors ... had a career-best 64 yards, including a season-long 34-yard rush, and a touchdown on five carries in the home win over Chowan ... also had rushing touchdowns against Presbyterian and at Liberty ... had a 33-yard touchdown carry at Liberty.