Monday, August 7, 2023

Preseason Previews: Game #9 - Wofford Terriers

Throughout this preseason, we will preview all of  Western Carolina's 2023 football opponents. For the ninth game of the season, the Cats travel to Spartanburg to face the Wofford Terriers in their homecoming game. This comes on the heels of the Terriers playing the Cats in last season's Homecoming game in Cullowhee.  

Their interim head coach topped off the 2022 season with a 3-3 record, beating The Citadel, ETSU, and VMI, but losing to WCU, Samford, and Furman. 

        Game #9 
                   Wofford Terriers

When: Saturday, November 4, 2023
Time:  3:00 pm
Where:  Gibbs Stadium, Spartanburg, SC
   -announcers:  Gary Ayers • Daniel Hooker  Producer: Jeff Bryson
Game Notes:      Western Carolina    -    Wofford
Mascot:  Terrier
Colors: Old Gold & Black
Enrollment: 1800
Message BoardWofford Fans

The Series: The Cats are 16-28 overall against the Terriers in a series that started in 1952, The Cats Terriers have played a total of 44 times, and the Cats are 5-16 in games played in Spartanburg. Western's win in Spartanburg in the 2021 season broke a 4 game Terrier win streak over the Catamounts.  

The last game played vs. WoffordNovember 5, 2022 -  Catamounts Rally Past Wofford in the Homecoming Rain, 36-29 - Cullowhee, N.C. – Jalynn Williams scored the go-ahead touchdown on a six-yard rush off right tackle with 2:53 remaining in regulation and the Catamount defense stood tall on Wofford's final possession as Western Carolina rallied for a 36-29 Homecoming Day victory over the Terriers on a rain-soaked Saturday afternoon at Bob Waters Field / E.J. Whitmire Stadium.

Head Coach:  Shawn Watson (Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator)  - Former Wofford College head football coach Josh Conklin announced on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, his resignationShawn Watson was immediately named the interim Head coach, and on December 1, 2022, the interim title was dropped. . Watson joined the staff as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator on January 13, 2022. He was named interim head coach on October 6, 2022. A veteran with over 35 years of coaching experience, he most recently was the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Northern Iowa. He recruits nationally for the quarterback position, along with the Rock Hill area of South Carolina.

Shawn Watson's record vs. WCU:  0 - 1
Kerwin Bells' record vs. Wofford:   2 - 0

Last Season's Record (2022 Wofford):  3-8 overall, 3-2  home, 0-6 away, 3-5 SoCon.  

Offensive Formation:   Pro spread offense
Defensive Formation:   Multiple 3/4 
Starters Returning/Lost: 14 / 11
Offensive starters returning/lost: 5 / 6
Defensive starters returning/lost: 7 / 4
Special teams returning/lost: 2 / 1
Newcomers:  23 (9 offense, 13 defense, 1 specialist)

In the 2023 Southern Conference Preseason Polls, the conference’s nine head coaches picked Wofford to finish seventh, while the media picked the Terriers to finish 8th in the 2023 final standings. 

Shawn Watson took over the reins of the Terrier program on Thursday, Oct. 6, with the resignation of Josh Coklin, and led the team to a 3-3 record in the final six games of the season.  

The Terriers return a total of 14 starters from last season, five of which are on the offensive side of the ball. The Terriers will be in the second year of operating a pro spread offense.  With the departure in the portal of Jimmy Weirick at QB, the Terriers have a somewhat inexperienced stable of quarterbacks on the roster. Competing for the starting quarterback responsibilities this fall will probably be Cade Rice, Bryce Corriston, and Western Carolina transfer Samuel CornettIncluding Weirick, the Terriers lost a total of 6 from their starting offense of 2022. The defensive side of the ball does look somewhat better the loss of only 4 starters.

Wofford lost a total of 13 players to the transfer portal after the 2022 season:  Al Hogan (OL); Camden Gray (LB); Devin Mathews (WR); Irvin Mulligan (RB); Jimmy Weirick (QB); Landon Parker (WR); Micheal Mason (DL); Miles Richardson (DB); Tahir Annoor (DB); R.J. Brunson (DB); Ezra King (P); Jaheem Hazel; Carlton Terry (WR).

“Defensively, we have some good talent and I am excited about the prospects of that side of the ball in 2023…I’m looking at our defensive board and we’ve got two and three deep at some positions with the competition and every program I’ve ever been a part of…the championship programs… has been about competition in the room…everyone…and I think we are developing that,” Watson said. “Defensively we want to be a team that creates havoc and that’s a scheme I wanted and I believe that we have a pretty salty defense…downside…we’re a little young but that’s ok and that’s never a bad thing.”

"I think we are in a good progression right now," said co-defensive coordinator Andrew Warwick. "We have a lot of guys that played a lot of snaps as freshmen and sophomores and they are starting to get a little older so I am excited where we are at. We have a way to go and have to get a lot better but the guys have the right mindset and are working hard. I think we are starting to build a lot more depth and the guys are starting to push and compete to get a starting role. In the secondary, I really like the young class coming in as they are an athletic and physical bunch."  On the defensive line, two starters are back for the Terriers, at linebacker, all four starters return, and only one of the four starters in the secondary will be returning.  

2022 Wofford Statistics (11 games)

Rushing Offense: 1048 yards
Yards per game: 96.3
Yards per rush: 3 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 62
TDs rushing: 16
Passing Offense: 2484 yards or 225.8 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 7.5 yards
Passing 1st downs: 108
Passing Att-Comp-Int: 331-188-8
TDs Passing: 12
Total Offense: 35420 yards or 322 per game
3d Down Conversions: 52 of 155 (33.5)
4th Down Conversions: 9 of 14  (64.3%)
Field Goal: 6 of  11
On-side kicks:  2 - 2
Red Zone Scores: 27 of 33
Red Zone Touchdowns: 24 of 33
PAT: 26 of 27
Punts: 70, Avg per punt:  38 yards
Points per game:  20

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