Preview 2017: Charlotte 49ers

Preview 2017: Charlotte 49ers

Teams & Conferences

Preview 2017: Charlotte 49ers

Preview 2017: Charlotte 49ers


Previewing and looking ahead at the Charlotte 49ers season – and what you need to know.


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2017 Charlotte Preview: Patience, Patience, Patience
2017 Charlotte Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
– Charlotte Previews: 2016 | 2015

What You Need To Know About The Charlotte Offense

Leading rusher Kalif Phillips is done, but there’s a nice group of backs returning to keep the ground game moving. Add in the mobility of QB Hasaan Klugh, and the 49ers should improve and average close to 200 rushing yards per game – they averaged 177 last year – if the line comes together.

The JUCO ranks should help the front five, but the skill players have to do their job for an offense that that finished 101st in the nation and was the definition of dink-and-dunk when it came to the passing game.

Biggest Key To The Charlotte Offense

The ground game has to rumble. Klugh is good, but the passing attack isn’t going to carry the team. The four wins came when Charlotte ran for 180 yards or more, with 303 against Southern Miss and 219 against Florida Atlantic. While they lost a heartbreaker to FIU after running for 232 yards, they were close. When they didn’t run well, and they didn’t control the clock, the tempo and the game, forget it.

What You Need To Know About The Charlotte Defense

It’s very young, but that’s not a bad thing. The 49ers got destroyed in the secondary and didn’t make enough big plays behind the line, but for all the issues, it did a nice job of coming up with takeaways.

Losing Larry Ogunjbi on the nose is a killer, but three other starters are gone off the front seven. The secondary that had so many problems at least returns loaded with experience and depth, and the linebacking corps is promising. As long as the takeaways keep coming, the D will improve.

Biggest Key To The Charlotte Defense

There has to be a pass rush. The secondary was ripped to shreds by all the decent-to-great Conference USA passing games – and everyone else who could throw a forward pass – partly because quarterbacks got ten days to throw. Charlotte came up with just 14 sacks, and while things improved as the season went on – with 12 of them coming in the final six games – there needs to be a much bigger push into the backfield.

Charlotte Will Be Far Better If …

Explosion, explosion, explosion. Charlotte isn’t set up to grind out the clock, and it’s not built to keep up in a shootout. The passing attack averaged a horrendous 5.6 yards per throw, there wasn’t anything coming from the return games, and the big runs didn’t come often enough. While the offense was able to avoid coming up with a slew of turnovers, it has to open it up a bit.

Best Charlotte Offensive Player

QB Hasaan Klugh, Jr. – The quarterback gig is all his now. After the off-the-field allegations against Kevin Olsen – who started the first part of last season – Klugh is the main man who has to carry the attack, growing into the job as the season went on.

He might have been way too erratic as a passer – he didn’t hit 50% of his throws in any of the final four games – but he threw for 1,356 yards and ten scores with just three picks, and ran for 426 yards and eight scores. The 6-3, 185-pound former North Carolina A&T transfer isn’t built to take a pounding, but he can make plays.

2. RB Robert Washington, Soph.
3. OG Nate Davis, Jr.
4. WR T.L. Ford, Sr.
5. WR Workpeh Kofa, Jr.

Best Charlotte Defensive Player

LB Karrington King, Sr. – The team’s second-leading tackler last season, he didn’t make too many plays behind the line, but he came up with 73 tackles with two sacks, highlighted by a 13-stop performance against Marshall and with 11 against Middle Tennessee. The 6-0, 222-pounder came up with 132 stops in his first two seasons, and now he’s the leader the young D will work around.

2. S Ed Rolle, Jr.
3. LB Tyriq Harris, Soph.
4. S Ben DeLuca, Soph.
5. CB Anthony Covington, Sr.

Key Player To A Successful Season

DE Nick Carroll, Sr. – The 49er D line gets gutted, getting hurt mostly by the loss of Ogunjobi on the nose. Carroll is the only returning starter, and he might be the only upperclassmen on the front three – he has to play like it. The 6-5, 255-pounder didn’t do much in the rotation in his first two seasons, but he was okay with 22 stops with a sack as a junior. The line needs a pass rusher – he needs to become a force to work around.

The Charlotte Season Will Be A Success If …

The 49ers get to six wins and a bowl game. Can they be two wins better after a few close losses last year that might be turned around? They play six games against teams that didn’t go bowling last season, and they should be more competitive against the better conference teams. At least they’re getting closer.

Key Game To The Charlotte Season

Sept. 30 at FIU. Of course the spotlight will be on everything FIU does early on under new head coach Butch Davis, but the 49ers need this to kick off the conference season the right way considering what’s still ahead. With Marshall and Western Kentucky to follow, a loss in Miami could mean a rocky start before getting the UAB free space. The Golden Panthers won in a 27-26 thriller last year in a game Charlotte needed to win at home. Now it needs to win on the road.

2016 Charlotte Fun Stats

1st Quarter Scoring: Opponents 128 – Charlotte 48
Average Passing Yards Per Game: Opponents 310 – Charlotte 193
Fumbles: Opponents 18 (lost 7) – Charlotte 11 (lost 9)

2017 Charlotte Preview: Patience, Patience, Patience
2017 Charlotte Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
– Charlotte Previews: 2016 | 2015

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