Higgins' defensive unit ranked 103rd in scoring defense (32.8) and 90th in total defense (389.4 ypg) last fall, but a portion of those numbers are due to youth, inexperience and a rough stretch of injuries. The Bulldogs return 10 starters, including All-SoCon performers Terrence Reese and Dewitt Jones on the defensive line. Where The Citadel will struggle against its FBS opponents is in the size department – Reese is the only lineman expected to start that checks in above 260 pounds and weakside linebacker Mel Capers boasts a 5-foot-9, 175-pound frame. The Bulldogs were unable to create many turnovers last season (15, 102nd nationally), partly due to an inability to pressure the quarterback (93rd in sacks, 111th in tackles for loss).
Player Most Likely To Make the Headlines: Andre Roberts If you're looking for a burner to excel in a spread offense, Roberts is your guy. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior wideout earned 2008 first-team All All-American honors after totaling 95 receptions for 1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns, and also led the nation in punt returns (19.2 ypr, 3 TD). The Columbia, S.C. native caught a school record 14 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns against Wofford, but also showcased his talent against Clemson, grabbing nine catches for 153 yards and a touchdown at Death Valley.
Newcomer to Watch: Remember the name B.J. Phillips? The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Bulldog tight end opted to graduate early from North Carolina last fall, and will have two years of eligibility remaining. Former UNC head coach John Bunting recruited Phillips as a quarterback prospect, but Butch Davis moved the Columbia, S.C. native to tight end shortly after his arrival to Chapel Hill following the 2006 season.
Interesting Fact, Part I: The Citadel played two FBS opponents in 2008 (Clemson and Florida) and lost by a combined score of 115-36.
Interesting Fact, Part II: The Bulldogs have reached the FCS playoffs only three times in the program's history, and not since 1992.
Key Game: Furman on Oct. 24. The Citadel has lost five straight and eight of the last 10 contests in the Southern Conference's longest-running rivalry, including last season's 34-20 defeat. Furman leads the series, 55-30-3.
2009 Schedule Sept. 6 @ North Carolina Sept. 19 @ Princeton Sept. 26 Presbyterian Oct. 3 Appalachian State Oct. 10 @ Elon Oct. 17 @ Western Carolina Oct. 24 Furman Oct. 31 Samford Nov. 7 Wofford Nov. 14 @ Chattanooga Nov. 21 @ Georgia Southern