Coastal defense must hold firm while offense develops

Through nine practices, the Coastal Carolina defense may have slight edge over the offense.

That probably does not come as a surprise as the offense is still learning a new system under interim head coach Jamey Chadwell and the defense returns six starters, versus three on offense. The front four and linebackers are living up to the notion that they would be a strength early this fall. However, Anthony Chesley is only returning starter among the defense backs.

“We are having a very good camp defensively,” said Mickey Matthews, who is in his second season at CCU defensive coordinator. “Coach Moglia has a saying that Coastal ‘Will give 100 percent effort, 100 percent of the time.’ That is what we are really trying to concentrate on right now. Of course we continue to work on fundamentals, but we are giving them a lot to absorb as we are trying to be more multiple this season. That is slowing our progress a little, but overall I like the direction we are headed.”

“Shane (Johnson) is doing a really nice job leading the defense and I really like our corners, Anthony (Chesley) and Dontay (Hears),” Matthews added. “We are fairly young across the board, we do not have a lot of seniors and we are still looking for some guys to be leaders for us.”

The front four will be led by a pair of disruptive ends in Marcus Williamson and Myles White. Williamson had nine tackles for loss last season and White added 6.5 while the pair has combined to block seven kicks during their careers.

While the defensive line lost tackle Jabarai Bothwell’s 22 career tackles for loss, senior Dwayne Price is back for a second year as a starter and junior Ja’ree Tolbert, who has been the primary back-up to both Bothwell and Price, is poised to make the jump to a starter this season. Like so many other positions on this year’s team, the depth along the defensive will be provided by a host of young, talented players including redshirt freshmen C.J. Brewer (tackle), Jonathan Clayton (tackle) and Tarron Jackson (end). Jackson played in four games last season before suffering a season-ending injury and Clayton was the Chant Squad (scout team) Defensive Player of the Year last fall – an honor White, Tolbert and Shane Johnson have won in the past.

“Marcus (Williamson) had a terrific off-season but he has been slowed a little during camp with an injury,” Matthews said. “Myles (White) and Tarron (Jackson) have been playing great. I feel really good about our ends. We need to get a little better at the tackle positions and we are very young there. So many ends playing well right now, we could move one to tackle to provide depth.”

The linebacker corps lost Alex Scearce, who is with the Chicago Bears presently and may have had the most productive season in CCU history last fall. However, Johnson will anchor the unit after ranking second on the team in tackles last season. Sophomore Laqavious Pau started two games last season as a true freshman while Johnson was injured and had a team-best nine tackles in the Florida A&M win. Paul will move to the outside this fall and redshirt freshman Silas Kelly will look to fill the void left by Scearce.

Senior Kerron Johnson has tallied 91 career tackles, second only to Johnson for most among this year’s team, and Jarius McMillan has played in 23 career games, one of just nine Chants on the defensive side of the ball with at least 20 career game played. Several true freshmen could step in and see action this season.

“Playing against this offense everyday has really helped me personally,” Johnson said. “Even though we have more continuity and experience than the offense, you really have to be disciplined on every snap. I find out quick if I make a false step or bad read. They make us really concentrate hard in film sessions and we have to stay on top of our playbook.”

The secondary’s inexperience and lack of depth were to concerns about this defense entering the season. Chesley and Dontay Hears have used their experience – combined 56 games and 16 career passes defended – give CCU some stability on the outside. Junior college transfer Mallory Claybourne, who has been limited during camp due to an injury, and sophomore Preston Carey are looking to provide immediate help while additional depth is developed.

The loss of Richie Sampson and C.J. Thompson – with 344 combined career tackles – has left a big hole at the safety positions. Those needing to step up with seniors Eric Church and Nicholas Clark will be juniors Fitz Wattley, who moved from linebacker this past spring, and Allen Hall; junior college transfer and sophomore Jave Brown; last year’s quarterback and sophomore Ryan Lee; and redshirt freshmen Amir Howard and Calvin Smith.

“There is a lot of competition at safety,” Matthews said. “Those guys have been playing well and I like what (assistant coach) Curt (Baldus) is doing with the group. There is a big battle and if we had to play right now, I don’t know if I could tell you who would start.”

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

Comments

comments

Chants shut down Cavs; host Wake Forest Monday

Chants shut down Cavs; host Wake Forest MondayJaylen Shaw scored 23 points and Zac Cuthbertson added 22 [more]

Boys Hoops: Sharks win in 2OT; Chiefs drop nail-biter

Boys Hoops: Sharks win in 2OT; Chiefs drop nail-biterThe North Myrtle Beach High boys basketball team lost a [more]

Girls Hoops: Sharks, Chiefs roll; Tigers take tough loss

Girls Hoops: Sharks, Chiefs roll; Tigers take tough lossThe Conway High girls basketball team suffered its third straight [more]

Wrestling: Braves finish strong to beat Warriors

Wrestling: Braves finish strong to beat WarriorsThe Socastee High wrestling team captured a big win over [more]

Chants return from exams to face tough hoops tests

Chants return from exams to face tough hoops testsAfter taking a week off for final exams, the Coastal [more]

Hoops: Strand teams turn up D to win by blowouts

Hoops: Strand teams turn up D to win by blowoutsThe Myrtle Beach High girls basketball team turned in a [more]

North Myrtle Beach boys, girls sweep rival Socastee

North Myrtle Beach boys, girls sweep rival SocasteeThe North Myrtle Beach High girls basketball team captured its [more]

Wrestling: MB tops Foxes; NMB sweeps quad match

Wrestling: MB tops Foxes; NMB sweeps quad matchThe Myrtle Beach High boys wrestling team captured a hard-fought [more]

Boys Hoops: Tigers hold off Seahawks; Sharks win

Boys Hoops: Tigers hold off Seahawks; Sharks winThe Myrtle Beach High boys basketball team took its best [more]

Girls Hoops: MB settles score with rivals; CF rolls

Girls Hoops: MB settles score with rivals; CF rollsThe Myrtle Beach High girls basketball team got a little [more]

Coastal's Adams named Sun Belt player of week

Coastal's Adams named Sun Belt player of weekCoastal Carolina senior guard Jas Adams has been named the [more]

Conway QB Grainger puts end to recruiting process

Conway QB Grainger puts end to recruiting processConway High quarterback D'Wuan Grainger entered his senior season as [more]

Carolina Forest boys rush past Northwood Academy

Carolina Forest boys rush past Northwood AcademyThe Carolina Forest boys basketball team claimed its second victory [more]

Panthers in playoff hunt; Quigley sticks with Vikes

Panthers in playoff hunt; Quigley sticks with VikesThe Carolina Panthers find themselves back in the thick of [more]

Hoops tip off, wrestling caps busy sports week

Hoops tip off, wrestling caps busy sports weekThe Grand Strand prep sports scene has a busy week [more]

CAC skirts snow, heats up Snowflake Invite podium

CAC skirts snow, heats up Snowflake Invite podiumThe Coastal Aquatic Club (CAC) dodged a snowy weekend in [more]

Riptides dash through the Blizzard Blitz competition

Riptides dash through the Blizzard Blitz competitionSeven Riptide swimmers traveled to Cary, NC, over weekend to [more]

North team extends streak of dominance over South

North team extends streak of dominance over SouthThe North squad extended its streak of dominance in the [more]

Myrtle Beach boys, girls blast past Carolina Forest

Myrtle Beach boys, girls blast past Carolina ForestThe Myrtle Beach High boys and girls basketball teams blew [more]

Gamecocks survive scare from Chants at the buzzer

Gamecocks survive scare from Chants at the buzzerFormer Gamecock-turned-Chanticleer Jaylen Shaw missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at [more]

Steele makes major splash at Winter Junior Nationals

Steele makes major splash at Winter Junior NationalsCarolina Forest senior and Coastal Aquatic Club swimmer Taylor Steele [more]

Tigers, Chiefs join forces on North-South gridiron

Tigers, Chiefs join forces on North-South gridironThe best local high school football matchup was never played [more]

Boys Hoops: Nichols leads Tigers; Braves beat Sharks

Boys Hoops: Nichols leads Tigers; Braves beat SharksConway High hoops standout Jimmy Nichols is off to an [more]

Moglia looks to Nebraska roots to hire DC Sanders

Moglia looks to Nebraska roots to hire DC SandersCoastal Carolina head coach Joe Moglia has named Marvin Sanders [more]

Girls Hoops: NMB caps big week by defeating Conway

Girls Hoops: NMB caps big week by defeating ConwayPay-back continued for the North Myrtle Beach High girls basketball [more]

Chants shut down Cavs; host Wake Forest Monday

Chants shut down Cavs; host Wake Forest MondayJaylen Shaw scored 23 points and Zac Cuthbertson added 22 [more]

Boys Hoops: Sharks win in 2OT; Chiefs drop nail-biter

Boys Hoops: Sharks win in 2OT; Chiefs drop nail-biterThe North Myrtle Beach High boys basketball team lost a [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach