Jack Chambers arrived at Charleston Southern as an option quarterback. On Saturday, the redshirt sophomore will take the field in CSU’s new 'air raid' passing offense as the starting quarterback in the head coaching debut of Autry Denson.
Charleston Southern opens the 2019 season at Furman in the first-ever gridiron meeting between the two schools. Kickoff is 1 p.m.
Chambers enters the game with 26 career passing attempts for 244 yards, but he excelled through spring and summer workouts and won the starting job in a four-man open competition.
“Jack has killed it in the preseason and is playing with a lot of confidence,” Denson said. “Jack has clearly taken the lead so far.”
Denson stresses the quarterback competition will remain a weekly battle with performance in games and practices determining the rotation going forward.
For Chambers’ part, native of Lilburn, Georgia, plans to hold on to his job.
“I have always felt this offense fit me better as a quarterback, and I am really excited,” Chambers said. “I have worked my butt off for this opportunity, and now I am ready to go out and prove that I am the right man for the job. I am ready to go and my team is ready to go.”
CSU faces a strong challenge against a Furman team that is ranked in the top 20 in two national FCS polls. The Paladins were co-champions of the Southern Conference last season and will again be a top contender with all five starters returning along the offensive front.
Like CSU, Furman will be handing the offensive reins to a new quarterback — redshirt freshman Darren Grainger.
“They are one of the best programs in FCS football,” said Denson of Furman. “They want to run the ball and they want to be physical. They are very, very disciplined and hard-nosed. They play football the way it is supposed to be played.”
The Buccaneers, who play at South Carolina on Sept. 7, will be breaking in a host of new starters on defense. Linebackers J.D. Sosebee and Edward King are the only two full-time starters back from a year ago. The CSU defense has been the backbone of the program in recent years and that unit will be tested early this season.
“We have a number of guys who have been here and have seen action in games,” defensive coordinator Zane Vance said. “The difference is now we are asking them to take 50 to 60 snaps a game. We have to create depth. We have to get more than one group ready to play every Saturday.”