Charlotte faces Gardner Webb after a great week one showing
Photo creditBrian Westerholt, AP
Emotions were high after last Friday’s win over the Duke Blue Devils. Anyone who was in the stadium would concur with that statement. Now it is time for the real test. The real test being, preparation. Head Coach Will Healy emphasized this in the team’s mid-week press conference.
“Our guys have to respect, understand, and stay consistent with our process to have a chance to have success on Saturday,” Healy stated.
Gardner-Webb is a team that Healy will not overlook at all. Healy has coached against the head coach of the Bulldogs, Tre Lamb, in different capacities before and Healy knows how good of a coach that he is. “I’ve known Tre Lamb for a long time and have so much respect for him,” Healy said. “The excitement that he has brought to that program has been awesome.”
Gardner-Webb passed for over 350 yards in their opening week matchup against Georgia Southern, and this will be something to keep an eye on for the 49er defense. With the status of defensive backs, Geovante’ Howard and Tank Robinson still unknown for Saturday’s game, the passing game could be something the 49ers struggle against on Saturday.
A few keys to the game
-Key One: Stop the run
This is something that the 49ers did not do well last week against Duke. They will likely have an easier time this week against Gardner Webb being that they tend to pass the ball more, however, Charlotte needs to be aggressive with their run defense this week. If the 49ers can force Gardner-Webb into a pass-only team, then they will become predictable and easier to cover.
Key Two: Utilize your weapons
It proved to be a huge help having Grant DuBose step up in a big way against Duke. The coaching staff will likely expect that every game in the future. When Chris Reynolds, who was recently named the C-USA player of the week, is able to move the ball around it opens up WR1, Victor Tucker to move a little more freely and not draw as many double teams. Victor Tucker spoke to this reality in the team’s mid-week press conference.
“It is a big joy to me to know that we have multiple guys who can get the job done, and we don’t have to rely on me all the time. We have other guys who want to make plays and are expecting to make plays,” Tucker said.
If Charlotte comes out with the same fire and enthusiasm as they did in week one, they will run away with this game. Charlotte wins 49-14, and the 49er faithful will get to see some of the second-string players get live game action.
How to catch the action?
The 49ers take on the Running Bulldogs at home on Saturday, Sep. 11 at 6 p.m. You can catch the game live on ESPN3 or listen live on ESPN 730 The Game.