We are back to the endless stretch of road between spring practice and the start of the College Football season. In order to pass the time and to brush up on who PSU will be facing in 2008. I will be breaking down each of Penn State's opponents (poorly). These Break Downs will go in order of the schedule and, just like PSU's schedule, there will be one up every week.
First, PSU takes on the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in Happy Valley on 8/30/08. Coastal Carolina is a Div II school who plays in the Big South Conference. If you are terrified of PSU opening its season against a Div II school....I wouldn't be. That isn't to say that Coastal Carolina should be overlooked, however, they are not Appy. St.
I will attempt to give you a reasonable look at the Passing Game, Running Game, and Defense for your 2008 Chanticleers.
Coastal Carolina returns Sr. starting QB William Richardson who comes off a fairly productive Jr. Season where he completed over 57% of his passes, threw for nearly 1600 yds, 13 TDs, and 7 Ints. However, if you are fearing some sort of dual threat menace you can stop that right now. Richardson is a pocket QB with good size (6'5" 230) but he lacks the mobility to be a dual threat. Richardson carried the ball 67 times in 2007 for only 80 yards. While this may be significantly better than AMMO's 48 rushes for -13 yds it does not make Richardson a legitimate running threat.
Graduation has taken its toll on the Chanticleer's wide receiving corps. The two best receivers in 2007 have graduated. And by best I mean most yards, receptions, and touchdowns. Of those two, clearly the loss of Jerome Simpson hurts the most as he led the team in receptions, yards, yds/reception, and TDs (11). In fact, Simpson caught 11 of the team's 14 passing TDs (that's 78%, homes!).
Coastal Carolina desperately needs at least two WRs to step up to replace the yawning chasm of talent left because of graduation. Look for the Chanticleer's to go to WR Jamar Anderson who has shown hints of big play potential but seems unreliable.
CC lost their leading rusher from '07, Mike Tolbert, who racked up 748 yds, averaging 6.7/touch, and scoring 9 TDs. CC will probably look to two players SR RB Jaime Fordham and So RB Eric Oneal. Both should have solid seasons as, from what I can tell, every single offensive linemen returns for the '08 campaign. This should mean good holes for these two players to exploit.
The Chanticleer's gave up 25.9 pts/game in the Big South in 2007. They did not play a Bowl Championship Division Team. However, CC seems very young on the Defensive side of the ball so, if anything, I would expect and improved Chanticleer defense for the '08 Season.
How PSU and CCU Matchup:
PSU will be CCU's biggest game of the year. They will be playing in front of 100,000 fans and countless more on the BTN. These kids are going to be fired up. However, CCU does not run any sort of spread offense and will be undersized and out-gunned at virtually every position on the field. The PSU starters will not play past the first half giving some younger players some game experience. PSU will win and win big.