Defensive backs step up as CCU tries to replace NFLers

Coastal Carolina defensive back Tre Henderson intercepted a pass and took it to the house … literally.

On the final play of Thursday’s practice, the Chanticleer defense shined like it has since the start of football practice last week, meshing into a cohesive unit before the start of the season.

“I have really been pleased with the improvement we have seen on our side of the ball since the spring,” said defensive coordinator Clayton Carlin. “We are making some things happen and playing solid as a group. I like where we are at and hopefully we will continue on our path to where we need to be.”

Particularly impressive have been the DBs, who are competing to replace a pair of players currently on NFL rosters – Josh Norman of the Carolina Panthers and Marcus Lott with the New York Jets.

Henderson and fellow returnees Dontavais Johnson, Philip George, Denzel Rice and Johnnie Houston are being pushed by newcomers LaDarius Hawthorne, Marcellus Hunter, Pernell Williams and Tyler McCarthy to name a few.

From day one, the defensive backs earned the accolades of head coach Joe Moglia when he singled the group out after the first practice for “coming to work in a national championship manner.”

With each practice, the offensive and defensive units are pairing up more and more in scrimmage situations as each side implements its playbook. Competition is high for nearly all the positions on the field and each practice sees different players stepping up and working their way into the rotations.

With eight practices in the books, Coastal only has 21 more practice sessions before it opens the 2012 season under first year head coach Joe Moglia on Sept. 1 versus North Carolina A&T. Kickoff at Brooks Stadium for that contest, as well as the Sept. 15 game versus Eastern Kentucky, is set for 6 pm.

Coastal will practice once Friday and, since numerous student-athletes have been involved in summer classes this August, have its first two-a-day session on Saturday. In addition to practices, here are a few dates of interest for the fans:

Aug. 20 – First day of fall classes at Coastal Carolina University

Aug. 25 – Fan Photo Day from 4:30-6:30 pm at Brooks Stadium (Admission is Free).

Aug. 25 – Ladies Night from 6-8 pm at Adkins Field House. While the event will begin at 6 pm, registration and social begins at 5:30 pm. For more information, contact Kevin Olivett at 843-349-2268.

Aug. 27 – First “Chanticleer Call-In” with Moglia and Matt Hogue. The show will be each Monday from 6-7 at Buffalo Wild Wings at Carolina Forest. Fans are encouraged to come to the restaurant and interact with Moglia.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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