When the Jayhawks take on Coastal Carolina for the first time in school history this Saturday, they’ll be facing a team that is only in its third year as an FBS opponent.
The Chanticleers made the move from the FCS to the FBS in 2017 so this marks just their 26th game on the FBS level. (In case you were wondering, a Chanticleer [pronounced SHON-ti-clear] is a proud and fierce rooster that comes from a story within Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.) The Chanticleers have an overall record of 8-17 in FBS play.
The Chanticleers play in the Sun Belt Conference and are led by head coach Jamey Chadwell. Chadwell served as offensive coordinator and interim head coach in 2017, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2018, and was officially named head coach on Jan. 18.
Despite their inexperience on the FBS stage, the Chanticleers come in to Lawrence as just 8.5-point underdogs. I spoke with play-by-play voice of Coastal Carolina football, Joe Cashion, to get his insight on what the Jayhawks can expect against the Chanticleers this weekend as the Jayhawks look to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2011.
What’s the transition been like from the FCS to the FBS?
Cashion: Slow going to start. When we made the move in 2017, our head coach took a medical sabbatical right on the eve of fall camp. That thrusted our current head coach, Jamey Chadwell into the interim role. We won our first game and then lost nine in a row.
Last year we were 5-3 after eight games and right on the cusp of being bowl eligible, and then lost the last four games. We’re still trying to climb that ladder and get better each year and get the athletes that we need to compete on this level.
We’re putting in offers to athletes we probably wouldn’t think we had a shot at before with 3-star and 4-star recruits. We need to get bigger offensive linemen and bigger defensive linemen, because that really makes the difference. We have had to step up our recruiting game and get into it with regional FBS teams around us.
One big thing that helps us is our location. We are right by the beach and it’s a great place to come play, enjoy the weather (when there aren’t hurricanes), and get a good college education.
What can you tell us about sophomore QB Fred Payton?
(Payton was 29/43 for 304 yards with 2 TDs and 4 INTs while rushing 3 times for 5 yards in a loss against Eastern Michigan.)
Cashion: Two of the interceptions that Payton threw last week were jump balls that he threw to make something happen. He will run when he has to but Bryce Carpenter is more of our running QB who will come in for some wildcat plays. I think at this point Fred is the more polished passer.
That was only his eighth game and only his fifth start in his college career so he has a lot of room to grow and I think he’ll be a good quarterback in time. That was the first game though that we had someone throw for over 300 yards since 2017, so as long as he can limit the mistakes I think he has a chance to have some success.
What type of offense should we look for from Jamey Chadwell and the Chanticleers?
Cashion: If we are running and executing the way we want to then you’ll see an even balance of run versus pass. We didn’t run the ball well on Saturday and if we don’t rush successfully it will be tough for us to win.
When we are under 100 yards-per-game that typically doesn’t result in success. We rushed for under 100 yards three out of the four final games last year and lost all four – granted, we were facing three future bowl teams. Coach Chadwell doesn’t prefer to throw it 43 times like we did on Saturday.
CJ Marable is our lead running back and we’ll try to get the ball in his hands as much as possible. He’s a really good pass-catching back also so we look for him a lot in the throwing game.
Davis: So would you say the running game is the offense’s biggest weakness?
Cashion: After game one I would say yes. The running game and run blocking appear to be an issue for us right now. Eastern Michigan’s defensive line and front were good on Saturday. They put a lot of guys in the box to try and make our sophomore QB beat them and they did a good job of that.
What can we expect from the Chanticleer defense?
Cashion: We play more of a 3-4 defense and we did a decent job containing the run against Eastern Michigan, keeping them to 103 yards total as a team – which we will need to do again against Pooka Williams and the Kansas running game.
If you asked our head coach, he would likely tell you that the secondary is arguably the biggest question mark on the team. We have two senior cornerbacks in Mallory Claybourne and Chandler Kryst but we have two new safeties starting behind them.
Special teams a strength?
(WR Ky’Jon Tyler had two punt returns for 42 yards and one kick return for 16 yards. Kicker Massimo Biscardi went 3-for-4 and tied a school record with a 53-yard FG.)
Cashion: Biscardi is really good. He’s on the Lou Groza Award watchlist for college football’s top kicker and he was a semifinalist for the award last year.
Tyler can be really explosive. He’s a fifth year senior and has been making contributions since his freshman year. He’s a guy that can definitely make some things happen.
Players to watch?
Cashion: Our best defensive player is junior weakside linebacker Silas Kelly. He had six tackles on the day and forced a fumble at the goal line against Eastern Michigan that resulted in a touchback for us. He’s a smart kid and all makes plays over the field.
Cashion: Coastal will win if we can run and not turn the football over. Kansas will win if they can run and turn us over. I think we can hang in there and have a chance to win if we take advantage of opportunities.
Time/TV: Kansas takes on the Chanticleers at 6 p.m. this Saturday in Lawrence. The game will be televised on ESPN+.
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