Photo Credit: Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez, Charlotte Observer
Ah yes, it is the start of another football season; time for tailgates and football games with friends family and other alumni. For the 49ers, there is a lot to be excited about. So let’s dig in and give a little insight into just how good the 49ers could be in their final season in Conference USA.
Out with the old, in with the new
It is clear there have been plenty of coaching staff changes over the offseason. With Marcus West heading to Buffalo to coach the Bills’ defensive line, Healy was quick to bring in new guys to help get the defense going in the right direction.
This will be an area to focus on heading into this season. With Tyler Murray heading to Memphis, Charlotte lost a key player in our linebacker core. Along with Luke Martin graduating, it can only be assumed that Charlotte will be young in that area of the field. One key player to watch will be Derek Boykins. He will likely be the glue that holds the linebacker unit together.
Markees Watts was one of the key returners on defense who looks poised to have a great final year with the program. He is passionate about Charlotte and wants to leave a lasting impact on the program.
Just how good can the offense be?
Do you want the long version or the short version? The short version is, that they can be the best offense in Conference USA. They are just that talented.
Chris Reynolds has been around the block now going on six times with the program and will continue to be the leader for the team every snap when he is one the field. We have a receiving core that matches up with some power five schools in Grant DuBose, Victor Tucker, and Elijah Spencer. And in tight end, Taylor Thompson coming back off injury to the mix and teams can’t cover all the weapons that Reynolds will have at his disposal.
It will be up to the offensive line to be able to protect Reynolds long enough to get the ball to one of these guys though. One key loss on the o-line is D’Mitri Emmanuel.
Then we get to the running back room which seems to be getting even larger than last season. The two guys that will get the majority of the snaps will be Shadrick Byrd and Calvin Camp as they did last year. One guy that can make an impact in that room will be Henry Rutledge. He has good speed with a stocky build and could see some action this season.
Record Prediction: 7-5
Key wins coming against Georgia State and Middle Tennesse
The 49ers will play a close game with South Carolina till the gamecocks pull away in the fourth quarter.
All-in-all it looks like the 49ers should have a better season than last year. They have the talent to clinch a bowl game, the second in program history as well as the second under head coach Will Healy.