Simply put, the time is now
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, Charlotte has two big questions heading into the weekend:
- Will Chris Reynolds play? If not, give that earlier in the week only Chris Reynolds and Xavier Williams were reported as practicing by our own Cam WIlliams (Tuesday prior to weekly media session)
- Can the defense get on track? Through the first quarter of the season Will Healy and Greg Brown’s defense has allowed 551 yards per game, 313 via the air and 238 on the ground. These aren’t sustainable in order to turn the tide this year. With the volatility at QB, 4 have played so far, the defense has to get fixed, and it needs to happen now if there is any glimmer of a bowl bid.
In my opinion I think you have to play Chris Reynolds in this game, even if he’s 80-90%, and then rest him next week if you feel the need. Frankly, the season is on the line, if you drop to 0-4, with a roadtrip to South Carolina coming up, realistically you’re staring 0-5 in the face. The path to a bowl would then be winning 6 out of 7 games, which would take a an incredible turnaround, especially when you consider the program is 7-14 (as of now) following up the 2019 bowl bid in Healy’s first season. Xavier Williams has absolutely shown flashes of his potential, but he’s also struggled at times, which is to be expected for such a young and inexperienced Quarterback. Reynolds knows the ins and outs of this offense, the playbook is in theory more open with him, and the familiarity with the first team offensive guys is there. He gives Charlotte the best chance on offense to get clicking and pull out a road win down in ATL on Saturday night.
Now for the defense. Markees Watts has to show up. Through 3 games he’s been credited with just 1 solo tackle, while assisting on 3 others. The defensive captain has to be a leader with his production on the field as well, and this program & staff desperately need that to show up this weekend. Coming into this matchup Georgia State has dropped contests versus South Carolina, and UNC Chapel Hill. In those 2 contests they have ran for over 400 yards, but haven’t been as successful via the air with just 297 yards and a completion percentage of just 43.4%. The Panthers offensive line has only allowed 2 sacks, so the defensive line clearly has their work cut out if they want to get on track.
Should Charlotte not be competitive again on Saturday, I think it becomes reasonable to look at what staff and/or responsibility changes can be made in-season to help point things in a better direction. If Charlotte finds a way to right the ship and comes back to the 704 with a win, it’ll be a huge weight of their shoulders and cracks the door open a bit more—albeit it still uphill—for a bowl bid.
Catch this one Saturday night at 7pm on ESPN+, or listen to Bobby Rosinksi and crew on ESPN730 AM.