A week ago, the Charleston Southern football team went into its 2013 season opener as a heavy underdog on the road against a superior team from a superior conference. The Buccaneers, however, overcame all of the odds and posted a 32-29 victory over The Citadel.
The Buccaneers face a reversal of roles Saturday as they open the home portion of their schedule against Shorter University. The visiting Hawks come in as a smaller school from a lower level, NCAA Division II, and are playing their first game of the season on the road against a favored opponent. Kickoff is at 11 a.m., marking the earliest start to a CSU football game in its history.
CSU first-year coach Jamey Chadwell is interested to see how his own team handles Shorter after pulling off the big upset last week.
“It’s one win, that’s all it is,” says the coach of his team’s win at The Citadel. “One game will not define this team or this program. We have no reason to be overconfident. We were fortunate to win that game last week and hopefully we have learned how to handle that. Hopefully, this football team will continue to work hard and play with the same level of intensity and effort. If they don’t, we will learn a very hard lesson.”
As the head coach last season at Delta State, Chadwell learned firsthand about Shorter, losing to the Hawks in the final game of the regular season, 32-21. Charleston Southern also played Shorter, escaping on the road last September with a 23-20 win, ending a 15-game losing streak in the process.
Shorter, like The Citadel, runs a triple-option offense and had great success last season with the running game. Shorter returns its leading rusher from a year ago, fullback Brandon Moon, and its starting quarterback, junior Eric Dodson.
“They are well-coached and very good at what they do,” said Chadwell. “We will have to be ready to play. But I’ve told the players, this is not about who we are playing. This is about CSU and being focused on what we are doing every day to become a successful program. We are 1-0, but we have a lot of things we can improve on, and that’s been our focus.”
Chadwell would like to see more consistency from his offense, a unit that totaled 280 yards last week but struggled mightily in the first half. The coach also wants his team to tackle better.
“We preach consistent effort and consistent focus, those are two big things,” said Chadwell. “We have to have urgency in our approach every day, every practice. I thought we had great effort last week. I’m interested to see if that carries over. If it does, we have a chance to be improved.”