After a week of speaking engagements and hand-shaking, Charleston Southern’s first-year head football coach is more than ready to begin the real work of building a championship program at the school.
Jamey Chadwell opens his first preseason camp Friday, putting 90 players through conditioning drills in the morning before a helmet-only practice in the afternoon.
Earlier in the week, Chadwell addressed a gathering of football coaches from around the state as part of the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association all-sports clinic in Greenville. On Thursday, as his team was reporting to campus, Chadwell spoke to the Charleston Exchange Club.
“It’s been a busy week and I am so happy to get out and meet people and let people know about our program, but I am tired of talking,” Chadwell said. “It’s time to get to work, the real work. Our staff and our players are excited to get started. We had a great summer turnout and everyone appears to have reported in shape and ready to go.”
Chadwell, a former assistant at CSU who spent three years as head coach at North Greenville and a year as head coach at Delta State, inherits 46 returning lettermen and 18 players who started during last year’s 5-6 season. The program has posted three consecutive losing campaigns and Chadwell is preaching a change in culture and attitude this fall.
“Some of the most important things we do early in camp will be off the field, developing team chemistry and collectively changing the mindset that we can be successful here,” said Chadwell. “We have made a lot of changes, all for the good, and now we have to get all 90 guys believing in the same goal. Our main goal will be to make sure everyone understands our philosophy going forward and our focus on the process of becoming the best team we can be every time we step on the field.”
Leadership, says Chadwell, will be critical this season. CSU returns a pair of preseason all-conference selections in running back Teddy Allen and defensive back Elijah Lee, the team’s top returning rusher and tackler from a year ago.
Seniors Malcolm Dixon and Will Hunt also figure to be key contributors. Dixon is looking to become a three-year starter for the Bucs at quarterback, coming off a season where he threw for nine TDs and ran for seven more. Hunt has developed a reputation as one of the Big South’s premier pass rushers after 28 tackles and three sacks a season ago.
The coach indicated that as many as 10 newcomers could factor into significant playing time this fall. CSU’s first preseason scrimmage is set for Aug. 10. The Bucs’ open the season at The Citadel on Aug. 31.