UMass opponent preview: Coastal Carolina relying on talented youth

  • University of Massachusetts freshman wide receiver Samuel Emilus iruns into a host of Coastal Carolina defenders in the second quarter of the Minutemen's 24-13 loss to the Chanticleers at McGuirk Stadium in Amherst on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.

  • University of Massachusetts junior wide receiver Sadiq Palmer, in grey, is stopped by Coastal Carolina defenders, from top, Jalin Walker, Mallory Claybourne and Patrick McSweeney on a reception in the second quarter of the Minutemen's 24-13 loss to the Chanticleers at McGuirk Stadium in Amherst on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.

  • University of Massachusetts sophomore defensive lineman Chinedu Ogbonna (17) puts pressure on Coastal Carolina quarterback Kilton Anderson on a third down in the second quarter of the Minutemen's 24-13 loss to the Chanticleers at McGuirk Stadium in Amherst on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. Anderson's pass attempt to Malcolm Williams was incomplete forcing a punt by Coastal.

Staff Writer
Published: 7/11/2019 6:53:47 PM
Modified: 7/11/2019 6:53:37 PM

Jamey Chadwell isn’t a stranger to Coastal Carolina.

He arrived at the program in January 2017 as the Chanticleers’ new offensive coordinator. By July he was promoted to interim head coach when Joe Moglia had to take a medical leave of absence.

He led Coastal Carolina to a 3-9 record before returning to his duties as offensive coordinator when Moglia returned in 2018. Moglia’s retirement after last year’s 5-7 season opened the door for Chadwell to return as the head coach, this time on a permanent basis.

He’ll lead the Chanticleers into Amherst on Sept. 21 trying to make it three straight wins for Coastal Carolina over UMass after last season’s 24-13 stunner at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Unlike the other first-year coaches UMass faces this season, though, Chadwell said his familiarity from the previous two years helped during his transition into the full-time job.

“It helps because being around here, you know people, you know how the school works in certain ways, so the transition of being the head coach and learning how to get things done, you already have an idea,” Chadwell said. “But it’s still challenging even though I was a coordinator because I wasn’t involved with a lot of the defense and special teams, so you’re kind of brand new to those people because they haven’t spent a lot of time with you.”

OFFENSE: When Coastal Carolina came to Amherst last season, three different quarterbacks took snaps under center for the Chanticleers. One member of that trio graduated, leaving sophomores Bryce Carpenter and Fred Payton to battle to be the starter this season.

Both Carpenter and Payton are dual-threat quarterbacks who put up similar numbers in their first season of college football. Payton threw for 677 yards and six touchdowns in seven appearances while completing 65.3 percent of his passes. Carpenter connected on 67 percent of his tosses for just 464 yards and five scores.

Chadwell said he’s open to both quarterbacks playing this season, but stressed the importance of one of the quarterbacks assuming control of the offense and giving the unit a clear leader under center.

“Unfortunately, not one of them took control of the job in the spring which I wish they would have,” Chadwell said. “They’re both talented in their own right and they bring certain skills to the table. The challenge with that is who can execute what we’re trying to do but still really take care of the ball. This summer is going to be big for both of those guys because one of those guys has to win the job. Not that the other one couldn’t play in certain packages, but we need somebody that the team knows he’s our guy.”

The Chanticleers return half of their running back duo from last year in C.J. Marable, who led the team with 719 yards and an average of 6.1 yards per carry last season. Yet no matter who was in the backfield last year for Coastal Carolina, it found a way to gain yards on the ground.

Just 95 of the 371 yards lost last season on negative rushing plays were from non-quarterbacks on a total of 356 attempts behind an offensive line that returns five players who started at least five games last season.

Coastal Carolina does lose its top receiver from last season, but Chadwell said he’s excited about the younger players at the position. He specifically highlighted a redshirt freshman who he declined to name, who he said made significant progress during the spring.

DEFENSE: Although the Chanticleers lost their top pass rusher to transfer, the other six members of their front seven return with high expectations for the future. The group includes four of the top five tacklers last season, including defensive end Tarron Jackson, who had 11 tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries.

Chadwell said the health of the front seven is vital to his team’s success because the program is still trying to build competitive depth. This group in particular has a lot of younger players who played a lot last year — perhaps prematurely Chadwell said — but now has risen to be the leaders of the unit as a whole.

“They’re a pretty talented group, (but) we don’t have a lot of depth there, that’s the issue,” Chadwell said. “The ones that are there are pretty good players. They’re going to be the leaders of the defense if they can play well. If we can get them to play hard and play well, I like those guys, they’re hard to block. That’s going to be the strength of our defense.”

A major reason the pressure falls on the front seven is the lack of experience behind them in the secondary. All four starters in the defensive backfield are gone — three graduations and a transfer — leaving a void that will need to be filled by young players who haven’t seen the field much, if at all.

“We have a lot of young defensive secondary guys that got a lot of good action this spring,” Chadwell said. “I don’t know if one of them is ready to be a breakout guy, but there are a couple of talented guys there that we need them to hopefully step up.”

Josh Walfish can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JoshWalfishDHG. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at

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