Coastal Carolina stays one step ahead of Dorian as it heads to Kansas

Jayhawks coach Les Miles knows what it's like to coach football while dealing with the impact of a hurricane.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Les Miles had some idea what Coastal Carolina has been dealing with this week as the Chanticleers prepared to visit Kansas while also preparing to face Hurricane Dorian.

The school in Conway, South Carolina, was in the path of the storm as it churned toward the Eastern seaboard. So early this week, Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell decided to pack his team in buses and headed inland — to Greenville and Clemson, among other places — for some practice before hopping a plane to Lawrence on Friday.

It’s not unlike what Miles did in August 2005, when he was coaching LSU amid the impact of Hurricane Katrina. The Tigers wound up having to adjust to life away from the Gulf Coast.

“I wish them the very best,” Miles said, “because I know that they’re traveling to enjoy the rest of their practice schedules, considering they’ll have this time away from home and away from college.”

The Chanticleers lost their opener 30-23 to Eastern Michigan, undone by penalties, turnovers and overall sloppy play. Getting those issues straightened out during a road trip forced by a hurricane?

Not exactly an easy challenge.

“The efficiency part of it makes it harder, but as far as doing the job or getting the things done you need to get done, we’ll figure it out,” Chadwell said. “You work hard to get them in a routine, now you’re out of it. How do we adjust to that? Then being the first time on the road. That’s the biggest difference, when you have to evacuate. That’s the biggest challenge, in my opinion.”

Still, Chadwell said the Chanticleers aren’t going to make excuses when they visit the Jayhawks, who needed a final-drive touchdown to avoid an upset loss of their own last week.

Indiana State had them on the ropes with the lead in the closing minutes. Kansas needed to march 75 yards in hurry-up mode and Carter Stanley needed to throw a clutch touchdown pass to avoid a humiliating loss in Miles’ return to the sideline.

Given that, Chadwell knows that Miles will have the Jayhawks prepared Saturday. He intends to do the same thing.

“Coach Miles is bringing a different mindset and mentality there,” Chadwell said. “They’ve got some quality players that he inherited. They’re trying to be a mix, I believe, between a Big 12 team throwing it around but then also his SEC days. They’re trying to line up and do some things, being physical and tough. He’s got them really playing confident.”

HURRICANES NOT NEW

The Chanticleers had to evacuate last September, too, when Hurricane Florence hit. They spent 12 days on the road in North Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. With their hometown still flooded, players wound up spending another week in hotels in Myrtle Beach, keeping them away a full three weeks.

POOKA RETURNS

Top playmaker Pooka Williams, who was suspended for the Jayhawks’ opener for a series of off-field issues, will be in the backfield again Saturday. He ran for 1,125 yards and totaled 10 TDs last season, providing a big lift on both the ground and through the air.

“We’ll have to incorporate him into the team again,” Miles said, “and yet he’ll give us some Pooka plays. We’re looking forward to having him back. I can tell you that. He’s enjoyed by his teammates. We’ll enjoy him in the huddle.”

OTHERS GO MISSING

Jayhawks safety Shaq Richmond did not play last week after the senior was arrested on failure-to-appear charges. Then early Sunday, walk-on linebacker Tom Barrett was arrested on “suspicion of contributing to a child’s misconduct and displaying or possessing a fictitious ID.” The school said it is gathering facts and would handle any discipline internally.

OH-FOR-EVERYTHING

Coastal Carolina is in its second full season as a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision, and it has never beaten a Power Five school. But the Chanticleers came close against Arkansas in 2017, when they lost 39-38 in Fayetteville. Their trip to Lawrence will mark their first game against Kansas.

LES KNOWS

So what is a Chanticleer? Miles wasn’t stumped.

“It’s a rooster,” the Jayhawks’ coach said, “that handles the barnyard with real moxie, and tough and smart.” The rooster is also a prominent character in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” In fact, the school’s mascot is named Chauncey the Chanticleer.

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