Coastal Carolina is the Cinderella of the 2020 college football season. The Chanticleers remain undefeated after a 22-17 victory over number 13 BYU. It’s time to take the Coastal Carolina football team seriously. Head coach Jamey Chadwell has put this program on the map.
Coastal Carolina was picked to finish in last place in the East division of the Sun Belt Conference. You don’t get picked to finish in last place if you have a bunch of highly rated recruits walking through the door. Coastal’s success has Chadwell’s fingerprints all over this.
There’s an interesting parallel building with Chadwell and his success. Mike Leach is known as the Air Raid god. Leach is a mad scientist and changed the way Big 12 football is played forever. Let’s spread everything out and let it rip.
Leach’s best disciple is a man by the name of Lincoln Riley. Maybe you heard of him? The current Oklahoma Sooners coach got his feet wet by working for Leach as a graduate assistant at Texas Tech. Riley later moved on to become the offensive coordinator at East Carolina. It didn’t take long to realize something special was brewing.
Riley had me convinced that Shane Carden was a draftable quarterback. Riley had taken the Air Raid system and tweaked it into his own. Riley created his own system and has since dominated the conference after joining the Sooners.
It’s a nice story but we’re not here to talk about Riley. It just feels the same with Chadwell. The triple-option has been part of college football for a long time. We’ve seen many forms of the option in college football including Rich Rodriguez with West Virginia and Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech. Hell, Army still runs the triple option.
Chadwell has taken a college football staple and tweaked it into his own version. The only difference is, Chadwell is proving you can win on a large stage with his model. Instead of having the quarterback under center with multiple backs behind him, Chadwell has his QB in a pistol formation with an extra receiver on the field.
The goal of the option is to find holes in the defense. Depending on how the defense is aligned can dictate which side of the ball you want to run. However, it’s become a bit predictable and defenses can adjust.
Defenses have played Cover zero 67% of the time against the service academy schools this year. Safeties play low in the box prepared to stop the run because the threat of the pass simply isn’t there. Well… Chadwell’s version of the option provides a real passing threat. Stacking the box is no longer an option.
On the season, Coastal quarterback Grayson McCall has 1,832 yards passing with a TD to INT ratio of 20-1. That’s not a stat line of an option quarterback. The threat of the pass has now become a viable alternative in the option. Uh Oh!
This doesn’t work without a smart and instinctive trigger man. Did I mention McCall is just a freshman? McCall has the ability to make those quick decisions on who to pitch the ball to in the option game and make quick strikes down the field in the passing game. I’m not sure any of this works without him.
McCall has proven he’s an accurate thrower of the football. Sure, he doesn’t have Josh Allen juice on his fastball, but the ball is on point and on time. That’s the most important quality because often times Chadwell has schemed wide open throws in this unique offense. McCall has an uncatchable pass rate of 19.8% on all throws beyond the line of scrimmage. That’s the 10th best mark in the FBS on all quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs.
A quarterback with McCall’s ability ordinarily would never be asked to run the option. An accurate quarterback isn’t required in the option system. Chadwell has been so creative running his own version. All of the throws available in the spread offense are there with his option attack. Defenses are constantly off balance because you can no longer stack the box and play Cover 0.
Look at the way the safeties are playing. They’re scared shitless of the pass. No longer are teams able to just keep everyone in the box. The second Chadwell’s offense sees this alignment from BYU, the running game is in full effect.
Look at how many receivers are on the field in the latter half of the gif! How are you supposed to stop this ground attack with the field so wide open? If the safeties aren’t going to be in the box and the linebackers are this far off the line of scrimmage, the run attack will be there all day.
McCall has been a great trigger man. Especially limiting turnovers in a system that requires you to think fast. However, CJ Marable is proving he just might be an NFL back himself. On the season, Marable has 724 yards rushing on 142 attempts (5.1 yards per attempt). Yes, a lot of his runs have been schemed open but Marable has proven he’s talented.
Marable has made his own fair share of nice runs. He’s also a proven pass catcher out of the backfield with plus speed, good size, and the ability to create yards after contact.
If you have a running back and quarterback that can execute a system like this, you’re going to be very successful. Coastal also has a defensive end Tarron Jackson who’s secured a Senior Bowl invite. Add it all up and you get the beast that Jamey Chadwell has his fingerprints all over.
The Chanticleers deserve a hell of a lot more respect than they have been given. Coastal Carolina is 13 in the polls moving up from 18 after beating BYU. It’s still not high enough. Coastal beat the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns 30-27. Louisiana beat Iowa State 31-14 earlier in the season. Iowa State is ranked number 7 in the polls. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!
Jamey Chadwell is building a winner with Coastal Carolina and should be recognized as one of the young bright stars in the college football landscape. The spread option could be the next big thing in college football.