COLUMBIA — It’s been a strong start for coach Joe Moglia at Coastal Carolina, with two Big South Conference titles and a pair of NCAA playoff appearances in his first two years.
Now, Moglia wants the Chanticleers to think even bigger in year three.
Moglia went from 8-5 his first season in 2012 to 12-3 last year. Coastal Carolina started 9-0 last season and was ranked in the Football Championship Subdivision’s top five until a late slide cost them a higher seed in the NCAA playoffs.
Moglia will try and make sure the Chants remain consistent. They open the season against the Citadel, an option offense similar to Big South rival Charleston Southern. They also don’t play a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent, something Moglia believes cost the team in playoff seeding.
5 things to know about Coastal Carolina’s football season:
COASTAL ON TOP
Coastal Carolina was the clear favorite to finish on the top in the Big South Conference this season. The Chants were the pick of league coaches and media last month, garnering 14 of 18 first-place votes. Second-place Liberty got the remaining four firsts. Coastal is seeking its third straight conference crown and seventh since starting football in 2003. “It’s flattering and it’s an honor and we appreciate it,” Moglia said. “But nobody’s going to take a week off because they’re going to play us.”
HIGHLY REGARDED CHANTS
Coastal Carolina quarterback Alex Ross was picked as the league’s preseason offensive player of the year while teammate, linebacker Quinn Backus, was the preseason defensive player. They’re among nine Coastal Carolina players named to the all-preseason Big South team.
STICKING TO FCS
Coastal Carolina won’t be taking on any FBS opponents this season, along with Monmouth, the only two Big South schools to do that this season. A season ago, Coastal brought a 10-1 mark and a secure playoff spot into South Carolina in their final game and got drubbed 70-10. While Moglia wished his team had shown out better against the Southeastern Conference opponent, he thinks the loss may have damaged the team’s playoff seeding more than it should have.
The Chants will have to replace their most reliable runner in Lorenzo Taliafero, who finished third among FCS rushers with 1,729 yards. Coastal has Taliafero’s backup returning in De’Angelo Henderson, who gained 599 yards.
More troubling is the loss at receiver where four of Coastal’s top five from a year ago are gone. North Augusta High School grad Matt Hazel led the way with 70 catches for 990 yards and nine touchdowns. The one returnee is Tyrell Blanks, who had 23 catches in 13 games.