The 2018 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Charlotte 49ers.
No. 128: Charlotte 49ers
Spring Game: April 21
Charlotte Prespring Status
It’s been a rough run for Charlotte.
In early November of 2016, the 49ers were 4-5 and one of Conference USA’s biggest surprises. Since then, they’re 1-14 with the lone victory a 25-24 battle with UAB last season.
The offense crashed and burned last year, there weren’t enough big defensive plays, and there were too many big mistakes in too many key spots to turn the season around.
But there’s hope to turn the program into a player in a big hurry with a big spring. There’s experience, there are a few options, and head coach Brad Lambert is still in place.
Charlotte Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Wide receiver. The 49ers need playmakers everywhere, punter Arthur Hart – one of the team’s few positives – has to be replaced, and they need the quarterback play to be stronger. But receiver is one of the key spots that needs immediate attention.
Trent Bostick only came up with 357 yards and three scores, but that led the team. TL Ford was a starter, and now he’s gone, too. Mark Quattlebaum is a decent veteran, and Workpeh Kofa was second on the team with 25 grabs, but the team needs a star target to emerge.
Charlotte Biggest Issue
Third down conversions. Charlotte was dead last in college football on third downs, converting just 26% of the time. In 2016, the 49ers weren’t great, but they converted 40% or more of their chances four times. and just once last year.
How do you fix this? Completion percentage.
The running game wasn’t all that bad, and QB Hasaan Klugh can move, but the passing game couldn’t get the job done, with the Niners completing just 47% of their throws.
Charlotte Biggest Positive
All 11 starters return on defense. It was a rough year for the defense with no pass rush, not enough happening in the backfield, and with just two interceptions. However, there’s a whole lot of experience coming back this year, and a whole lot of depth to battle for spots.
12 of the top 13 tacklers are back, with the young linebackers of last year now – hopefully – ready to start making more big things happen under new defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. The play has to improve, and the recruiting class needs to add an infusion of talent to the mix, but start with everyone on D knowing what they’re doing and go from there.
Really, Why Are The Charlotte 49ers Ranked Here?
Just how quickly can the team go from awful to okay?
Again, the experience is there to make a big push up in a hurry if a few things go right offensively, but a positive identity needs to be found. The team needs something it can count on.
Yeah, most of the starters are back, but they’re still the players who lost to North Carolina A&T, it’s still the team that went 1-11, and it’s still the team that failed to score more than 14 points seven times.
There’s a lot of work to do.