It has been a while since the Charleston Southern football team has experienced the thrill of victory, but coach Jay Mills says success is just around the corner. He hopes it comes today when the Buccaneers host Jacksonville University in their home opener.
CSU is coming off a 49-14 loss to The Citadel, the 13th straight loss for the program dating back to the final game of the 2010 season. Mills says the losing streak is not discussed and maintains the sole focus of his staff and his players is improvement.
“If we continue to work hard and improve each day in practice, the wins will take care of themselves,” said Mills, now in his 10th season as the head coach. “Every week is a different opponent and our focus is on getting better and avoiding a repeat of the mistakes we made the previous week.”
Mills said the Bucs didn’t handle pressure well in the second half of last week’s game. After being tied, 14-14, at the half, the Bucs quickly let the game slip away as the Bulldogs scored four touchdowns in the third quarter.
“We had some adversity with some turnovers and we didn’t respond well,” said Mills. “I think we pressed and we lost our poise. We had some start trying to do too much. All we ask is that each player does his job. If we do that, we’ll be fine. But we let some things get out of control and we never recovered.”
There were several bright spots last week. Running back Teddy Allen rushed for 57 yards on 11 carries and showed that he could be a force. CSU averaged 4.5 yards per rush, up considerably from last year’s average of 2.7 yards per attempt.
Though leading receiver Nathan Perera continues to heal an injury, Mills saw production from receivers Chase Jones and Kevin Glears. Perera, a preseason All-Big South selection, is expected to play more today.
The CSU defense allowed 479 yards rushing to the option-oriented Bulldogs but they will face a different set of circumstances today against Jacksonville’s spread attack. Jacksonville returned only two starters offensively from a team that won 10 games last season.
“It’s totally different in terms of what we are preparing for but I have confidence in our staff that we will be ready to play,” said Mills. “We’re excited about playing at home. We look forward to another opportunity to improve and hopefully the results are better at the end of the game.”
Jacksonville beat CSU, 37-30, last season and opened the season last week with a 56-0 loss to nationally ranked Georgia Southern.
CSU holds a 5-2 advantage in the series with the non-scholarship Dolphins.