Photo courtesy of Army athletics
On Sept. 3, Army will travel to Conway, S.C. to take on an up-and-coming Coastal Carolina program.
This is their first meeting on the football field. Many people have talked about this game as potentially the dark horse game of the week.
It will be interesting to see how Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell will do with a roster that has dealt with many players going to the NFL. Army, on the other hand, has been labeled by most as the best service academy football program since head coach Jeff Monken took over the program in 2014.
While the teams share few similarities, one is present — the option. Army runs an old-school version while the Chanticleers had found success with a modernized version.
The men of Conway will be bringing their new age offense consisting of run-pass options and spread triple options implemented by Coach Chadwell. This offense is beautiful to watch. When it is clicking, it is like watching a well-oiled machine.
It is also incredibly difficult to defend. Unlike the old triple option, defenses must account for the pass as well. However, Coastal Carolina will be running the show with just four returning starters on offense, including two on the offensive line.
It will feature plenty of new faces. However, quarterback Grayson McCall returns to lead the Chanticleers. He will be asked to do a lot, but he never backs down from a challenge.
He took over after a 5-7 season in 2019. In his first year as a starter, McCall led the Chanticleers to a perfect regular season and a top-10 finish. It was quite a finish for a program that had not had a winning season in three prior years as a member of the Sun Belt.
Coastal should feel secure with McCall running the offense. With just two returning starters, the bigger questions for the Chanticleers rest on defense. Opening against an offense like Army that requires discipline won’t make matters any easier.
Army has run the old-school triple option offense for decades. It’s under-the-center, hard-hitting football for those who like physicality and can be very entertaining to watch.
While some may disagree on the entertainment value, Army’s focus is on winning. The Black Knights won nine games last season, including a thrilling 24-22 victory over Missouri in the Armed Forces Bowl.
This season, quarterback Tyhier Tyler will be taking snaps under center. Tyler is among five returning offensive starters.
Under Monken, Army has been a disciplined, tough team to face. Six starters return for a defense that hopes to slow down McCall and crew in the opener.
Army had the second-best rushing attack in the country last season, averaging an outstanding 280.6 yards per game. Despite running a system that allows for fewer possessions, the Black Knights averaged nearly 33 points per game last season.
Coastal Carolina had the sixth-best rushing attack last season at nearly 229 yards per game. Averaging nearly 266 yards per game passing, the Chanticleers were one of the nation’s most balanced teams. Their 40.9 points per game ranked fifth in the country.
Analysis and Way-Too-Early Prediction
Both teams have the same agenda — run the football.
They both do so extremely well with each ranking in the top 10 nationally last season. Army is a great football program that gives bigger schools problems almost every year. In addition to beating Missouri, Army hung tough with Wisconsin and ACC runner-up Wake Forest.
Coastal Carolina showcases a flashy, new-aged triple option. With a ton of new faces on defense, however, Army will present a strong challenge in Week 1.
The contest is still nearly two months away, but it’s not too early to start talking upset.
Prediction: Army 28, Coastal Carolina 20