Coastal Carolina’s 2022 season ended horrendously.
The Chanticleers lost to James Madison 47-7 in their regular-season finale but qualified for the Sun Belt Championship because JMU was ineligible for postseason play. Coastal Carolina was demolished by Troy 45-26 in the SBC title game, before falling 53-29 in their bowl game to East Carolina.
To make matters worse, head coach Jamey Chadwell bailed to take the same job at Liberty.
Enter Tim Beck.
Offense Still Loaded
Beck, a former offensive coordinator at Nebraska, Ohio State, Texas, and North Carolina State, understands that side of the ball well. With Grayson McCall returning at quarterback, there’s reason to believe the Chanticleers could boast one of the Sun Belt’s most dynamic offenses.
In three college seasons, McCall has completed 70.6% of its passes, while throwing for 78 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He’s about as efficient as any quarterback in the country, and Beck inherits an offense poised to score a bunch of points with McCall leading the charge.
Assuming McCall stays healthy, Coastal Carolina should be a contender in the Sun Belt East because of its offense. The Chanticleers won regularly under Chadwell, and they could battle for a 10-win season again in 2023.
Defense Needs Work
The Chanticleers were the second-worst scoring defense in the Sun Belt in 2022. Sun Belt East peer Marshall topped the league, and JMU wasn’t far behind. The Sun Belt, often referred to as the “Fun Belt,” draws headlines in part for flashy offensive play, but the league’s defenses are underrated nationally.
Make no mistake, the best teams in the Sun Belt have stellar defenses. That’s Coastal Carolina’s weak spot.
Tim Beck’s initial task as head coach will be to improve the defense. The offense has plenty of weapons to score points, but if Coastal Carolina’s defense doesn’t take a major step forward, the Chanticleers aren’t winning the East Division.
Experienced assistant Craig Naivar feels like a strong hire as defensive coordinator, and he’ll work closely with rising coaching star Dan Carrel. He recently served as a defensive coordinator for a USFL team, and he should bring a unique energy and approach to his role. Coastal Carolina’s coaching staff is solid, which should help the team return to its winning ways in 2023.
The team’s schedule in 2023 isn’t overly tough, with a season opener at UCLA offering an early chance to snag a major victory. Games with Jacksonville State and Duquesne should help the Chanticleers ease into the season after the high-profile opener with UCLA.
The Chanticleers face Marshall and JMU at home in 2023, which could prove valuable as the three programs battle for the divisional crown.
Beck isn’t the flashiest hire on the planet, but he’s a well-respected coach who brought in solid coaches on his staff in hopes of steadying the offense and fixing the defense. If Beck can bring immediate stability to both sides of the ball, there’s no reason Coastal Carolina shouldn’t be one of the better Group of Five teams in the country in 2023.
Bennett Conlin is a college football contributor for HERO Sports, and he works full-time covering sports betting industry news and legislation for Sports Handle and US Bets.