NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Charleston Southern coach Jamey Chadwell believes his team is more talented than it was his first two seasons. He's not sure yet if that means the Buccaneers can take the next step forward.
Chadwell's teams have gone 10-3 and 8-4 the past two seasons, posting the most successful two-year stretch in school history. But Charleston Southern has been locked down behind Coastal Carolina in the Big South, something Chadwell is eager to change.
"If we take the take that talent and combine it with the same mentality we've had to have be successful, then great things can happen," Chadwell said. "If we don't carry over that mentality, we'll be right back where we were, middle of the pack. And we're trying to get beyond that."
It will not be easy. The Buccaneers were picked third in the Big South preseason poll, again expected to finish behind Coastal and runner up Liberty.
Things to watch for with Charleston Southern in 2015:
FASTER OFFENSE: The Buccaneers were experts in ball control, leading the country in time of possession the past two seasons. They are looking to be more explosive this season behind senior quarterback Austin Brown and returning wideouts Kevin Glears Jr. and Larry Jones III.
KORN CONNECTION: Former Clemson quarterback Willy Korn is the Charleston Southern receivers coach and one of his players is his younger brother, Colton. The younger Korn has his brother's knack for playmaking with 21 of his 27 catches last fall going for first downs. Willy Korn finished his college career at North Greenville after stops at Clemson and Marshall.
QUARTER CENTURY: Charleston Southern is celebrating its 25th season of football. The Buccaneers have had just five winning seasons in their previous 24 seasons, including the past two campaigns.
FIELD IMPROVEMENTS: Charleston Southern added lights to its field a year ago. This season, the school is replacing its natural grass field with artificial turf. Athletic director Hank Small said the work on schedule to finish up before the Bucs open the season against North Greenville on Sept. 3.
WE'RE GOING WHERE?: Charleston Southern ends its regular season in a big way, heading to Alabama to face the Southeastern Conference powerhouse on Nov. 21. A year ago, the Bucs threw a scare into Vanderbilt before leaving with a 21-20 loss. The Crimson Tide will be the second Football Bowl Subdivision opponent of the season for Charleston Southern, which goes to Troy on Sept. 12.