Future Remains Bright for CSU Football after Tough 2010 SeasonNovember 30, 2010
By CSU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Although the record in 2010 was not what anyone hoped that it would be, the future continues to look bright for the Buccaneer Football team as they build off the individual success of this year.
“The story to me is that Charleston Southern University has become synonymous with winning football games,” said Coach Jay Mills. “We have transformed and transcended from a program that had 13 consecutive losing seasons to a place where it is equated with winning football. I think it is indeed a compliment and a credit to all of those who have been part of building this current tradition. Now we are at the point that it has come as a surprise, not that CSU is winning, but that CSU had an off year and did not win as many games.”
As a team, the Buccaneers threw for at least one touchdown in all but one game, while the rushing attack continued to improve throughout the season, carrying the ball for 140 yards against Kentucky and a season-best 197 yards the next weekend against Presbyterian College. The 389 passing yards against Mars Hill was the seventh-highest single game total in CSU history. The Bucs had seven honored by the Big South Conference following the season and 14 players earned at an individual honor, whether it was a CFPA performer of the week, CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District honors, or Big South Player of the Week.
“The reminder about the high-impact game of football is that injuries can interrupt the best plans and highest hopes for any football team at any time,” said Mills. “We have been blessed to remain fairly healthy over the years and you can’t always be in control of those factors, but they can always intercede and send us down a different path. One of the benefits of this is that we probably played more freshmen this year than just about any other year since early in our program. This is going to add to the 16 starters that we return and will allow us to transition into a more experienced team being fielded in 2011 than otherwise would have occurred.”
Although the Bucs will say goodbye to 18 seniors, CSU will return a total of 16 players who started at least one game for the Buccaneers, including 10 on the defensive side. Four of the five offensive linemen will return after starting every game this year for CSU. One of those freshmen that benefited from other’s injuries was quarterback Malcom Dixon, who played just three games as a quarterback but completed 77.8 percent of his passes for 236 yards and four touchdowns. He was the Big South Freshman of the Week and was a CFPA Division I FCS honorable mention performer of the week.
Defensively, three of the four starters on the defensive line will return, and two of the three starting linebackers, led by sophomore Cornelius Sterling, who played in all 11 games and finished the year third on the team with 57 tackles. In all, seven of the top 10 on the team in stops will come back, including sophomore Brad Sweatt, who earned CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District honors, starting in 10 of 11 games. A preseason all-conference selection, junior Chris Kuzdale will also return after missing a pair of games in 2010 with an injury.
Sophomore defensive back Charles James tied the school record with six interceptions this year, leading the nation in that category. After just two years, James has tallied eight interceptions and is just three shy of the career record.
The kicking game continues to look solid for CSU as Andy Brown stepped in this season to take over the place kicking duties in addition to his normal punting task. This season, Brown posted the sixth highest average per punt against Mars Hill, booming four punts for an average of 43.5 yards per punt. He also finished a perfect 19-19 on PATs and 1-1 in field goals, making a 43 yarder against Coastal Carolina in the season finale.
“I’m very proud of this staff and this team because during the adversity of this past year, life lessons were learned such as perseverance, unity that was second to none within the team and the staff,” said Mills. “I have been very impressed with how they have pulled together and everyone assumed the responsibility and the accountability each and every week and showed a real maturity that is sure to benefit these young men with valuable life lessons.”
The Buccaneers have suffered just two losing seasons in the past seven seasons under Mills, and have not had back-to-back losing seasons under his direction. It took just over six years for Mills to become the winningest coach in CSU history, accounting for well over half the school’s total wins.
Additionally, Charleston Southern has faced more FBS opponents than anyone else in the Big South, with plans of kicking off the 2011 season with two more FBS opponents in Central Florida and Florida State. Despite that schedule, from 2005-2009, CSU posted the most wins of any team in the Big South conference.