Charlotte didn’t accomplish anything last year, routinely getting blown out by C-USA opponents outside of the lone overtime win against UAB. With two new coordinators and 15 returning starters, there is reason to expect a couple more wins for the 49ers. Their over/under is still far from a bowl at 3.5 wins with odds to win the Conference at +30000 (as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook).
In a new pro-style attack led by coordinator Shane Montgomery (formerly at Youngstown State), freshman Chris Reynolds had the leg up on the starting quarterback gig after the spring. He was competing with last year’s starter, Hasaan Klugh, who struggled to complete passes in 2017 and was more active on the ground with 532 rushing yards. A couple more options, including Miami grad transfer Evan Shirreffs will compete for the spot. Either way, Charlotte can only go up from the 14.2 points per Game it scored. That should be more than possible no matter how the quarterback performs. With an experienced line and Four starters returning, the running Game should be just as good behind Benny LeMay (732 yards) and Aaron McAllister (458 yards). Those two led the way en route to a team 4.7 yards per carry, which is a solid rate considering they couldn’t score. Receiver isn’t outstanding, but Mark Quattlebaum (343 yards) and Workpeh Kofa (338 yards) at least have experience.
The defense is in a similar situation and will now work under former OK State coordinator Glenn Spencer in a 5-2-4 scheme after allowing 32.8 points and 454 yards per Game. Like the offense, there is plenty of experience to work with as seven starters return. That includes all of the top tacklers from linebackers Juwan Foggie (74 tackles) and Jeff Gemmell (106 tackles) to safety Ben DeLUca (102 tackles). Everything starts on the line in stopping the run and creating pressure with Alex Highsmith and Tyriq Harris on the ends. Multiple players return at each level, so improvement is a possibility.
Reaching Four wins will be difficult due to a tough Schedule that doesn’t have any freebies outside of the opener against Fordham. And outside of the early home Game against ODU, the rest of Charlotte’s Conference home Games come against teams expected to finish near the top of the standings. Even the road Games are difficult as the 49ers travel to the three best teams in the East division. To get to Four wins, they’ll likely have to steal a Game on the road at either UMass or UAB. Charlotte may improve in what could be Brad LAmbert’s final season in charge, but unless they improve in leaps and bounds on both sides of the ball, reaching a bowl won’t be in the cards.
2018 Charlotte 49ers Football Schedule
Sept. 1 vs. Fordham
Sept. 8 vs. Appalachian State
Sept. 15 vs. Old Dominion
Sept. 22 at UMass
Sept. 29 at UAB
Oct. 13 vs. Western Kentucky
Oct. 20 at Middle Tennessee
Oct. 27 vs. Southern Miss
Nov. 3 at Tennessee
Nov. 10 at Marshall
Nov. 17 vs. Florida International
Nov. 24 at Florida Atlantic