Coastal straps on the pads, top 10 preseason ranking

ccufoot-mogliapractice2Coastal Carolina strapped on full pads for the first time Monday, and the Chanticleers added a lofty preseason ranking to their resume.

The Sporting News released its FCS preseason poll Monday with the Chants coming in at No. 6 – the highest preseason ranking in program history. Three-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State, which knocked Coastal out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals last season, top the poll. The top 5 was rounded out by Eastern Washington, Southeast Louisiana, New Hampshire and Montana, which CCU upset on the road ine the second round last season.

But Coastal turned its attention to the upcoming season Monday, donning full pads for a two-hour afternoon session, which was set for 3:15 pm but was moved up in anticipation of inclement weather.

“I don’t know if it was moving around the schedule, having full pads for the first time or what, but I didn’t think today was a particularly good practice,” said third-year head coach Joe Moglia. “We have to be more focused. We have been lucky that we haven’t had a day that has been especially hot or humid. Those days are coming so we have to do a better job to mentally preparing ourselves.”

The defense continued to show improvement and held the upper hand through most of the team periods. However, the offense made a big play on the final play of the afternoon as Michael Church hit Tyrell Blanks for a 35-yard touchdown pass.

“Our defense has come a long way since last December,” said two-time All-American linebacker Quinn Backus. “The coaching staff made some adjustments in the spring. We played better as a unit then and we have worked hard this summer to enter camp sharp. I think we have an experienced group coming back and some new talent that will make us a better team.”

Defensive tackle Leroy Cummings is a popular name among the players in terms of a player that could make an impact for the defense this season. Cummings played two seasons at Savannah State, starting 14 of his 21 games, before transferring to Coastal Carolina last fall. He led Savannah State with six sacks as a freshman and had 13.0 tackles for losses in his two seasons. Cummings was a member of the CCU practice squad, sitting out of game competition per NCAA rules, and was named the Chant Squad MVP for the season. In addition to his work on the field, Cummings has been lauded for his work in the weight room and his conditioning this past summer.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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