EMU notes: Coastal Carolina will break in new quarterback against Eagles

Art Brooks
Special to The Detroit News
Fred Payton

Coastal Carolina, Eastern Michigan's opening opponent Saturday at Conway, S.C., will be breaking in a new starting quarterback, sophomore Fred Payton, coach Jamey Chadwell announced Monday night.

The Chanticleers are coming off a 3-9 season and are in their third year in the FBS.

The forecast is partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers, a high of 86 and 74-percent humidity. During the 20-practice fall camp, EMU spent some time working in the St. Joe's Dome indoor facility to simulate expected heat and humidity.

Kickoff is 3:30 p.m., and the game will be on ESPN+ and WEMU 89.1.

Kilton Anderson was Coastal Carolina’s starting quarterback last season but he transferred to FCS William & Mary for his final season of eligibility.

Payton was in seven games a year ago. He was 49-of-75 for 677 yards, with two interceptions and six TDs. Payton ran 46 times for 142.

Malcolm Williams (47 catches, 724 yards, five touchdowns) is gone, and top pass rusher Jeffrey Gunter transferred to Syracuse. Junior end Tarrod Jackson had 58 tackles and three sacks last year.

The Orlando Sentinel rates all 130 FBS teams and has EMU at 102nd and Coastal Carolina at 119th.

Coastal Carolina, in the Sun Belt Conference, will visit Rynearson Stadium on Sept. 12, 2020.

Hutchinson is backup at QB

Sophomore Preston Hutchinson was listed as the No. 2 quarterback behind senior Mike Glass III when EMU released its depth chart Monday. He was in one game last year (Ball State), rushing once for a yard, and was 1-for-1 passing for a yard. Senior Shaq Vann was the lone running back; there were four wide receivers and no tight end.

O'Connor at outside linebacker

Former Eagle Pat O'Connor is listed as an outside linebacker instead of a defensive end with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rick Stroud, beat reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, said about O'Connor in an e-mail:

"They switched to a 3-4 under (new coordinator) Todd Bowles. So all the defensive ends or rush ends are now outside linebackers. He’s doing well and since JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) is out (neck fracture from an offseason car accident) ... undrafted guys like Kahzin Daniels (are) hurt (undisclosed left knee) and fourth-round pick Anthony Nelson has a knee injury (right MCL tear), he has a chance to stick."

O'Connor, a seventh-round pick of the Lions in 2017, has spent time on Tampa Bay's practice squad.

Some quick hitters

* Coach Chris Creighton, in his sixth season, started 3-21 and has gone 19-19 since with two bowl appearances. He is 4-1 in openers, winning his last three. Saturday will mark the first time the Eagles have opened away in his tenure.

* Other EMU TV games: at Kentucky on Sept. 7, 7:30, ESPNU; at Illinois on Sept. 14, noon, Big Ten Network; at Akron on Nov. 12, 7:30 or 8, ESPN2/ESPNU; at Northern Illinois on Nov. 19, 7:30, ESPN2/ESPNU. Other games could be scheduled.

* Besides Coastal Carolina, road games against Kentucky (Sept. 5), Missouri (Sept. 26) and Army (Oct. 17) are on next year's nonconference schedule.

Shepard back after Tigers

Matt Shepard, the TV voice of the Tigers, will rejoin the WEMU crew as play-by-play man after Detroit is finished Sept. 29. The first game after that is Oct. 5 at Central Michigan.

In the meantime, 23-year broadcast veteran Tom Helmer, a Saline native, will join color man and former Lions tight end Rob Rubick in the booth.

Shepard was a baseball walk-on at EMU before transferring to CMU to finish school.

Darius Jackson

And what happened to ...

Going into the final weekend of NFL preseason, here's a check on some other former Eagles ...

* Running back Darius Jackson is in his third stop with the Cowboys. He had been cut by Green Bay last season. Jackson is listed as a third-stringer. Ezekiel Elliott is the starter.

* The Steelers waived quarterback Brogan Roback on May 13 after he had been with the Browns. He's a free agent.

* Wide receiver Sergio Bailey is a free agent after Tampa Bay cut him May 6. He was a free agent last season with the Bucs but suffered an ankle injury in a preseason game against the Lions and sat out the year.

* Offensive left guard Andrew Wiley is a starter on the Chiefs' depth chart.

* Offensive tackle Cole Gardner is a free agent. The Bucs released him last season.

* Bronson Hill, a running back, was cut by the Packers last season, then failed to make it with Atlanta of the Alliance of American Football this spring.

* Defensive lineman Jeremiah Harris signed a free-agent contract with the Giants, who put him at linebacker, just after the April draft. He was later waived him because of an undisclosed injury.

Art Brooks is a retired Detroit News sports copy editor and longtime volunteer at EMU's student newspaper, the Echo.