Photo Credit: Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez, Charlotte Observer
It is week one of the college football season, and the 49ers have already played their first game; a game that they will try to quickly erase from their memory as they dropped their season opener to Florida Atlantic. This week, the Tribe of William & Mary come to the queen city to do battle with the Charlotte 49ers.
This will by no means be an easy week one game for the Niners as they have not yet seemed to have found their stride on either side of the ball, especially the defensive side of the ball. Compounding the problems for the green and gold is the fact they will be playing without their sixth-year quarterback, Chris Reynolds.
Reynolds was banged up on a play about midway through the opening half last week against FAU. Despite returning to that game, the injury was still aggravated. Head coach Will Healy said Tuesday that Reynolds would not be ready to go by Friday night, so it is James Foster, the Texas A&M transfer getting the start.
“Chris got obviously banged up but felt go enough to go in the second half on Saturday but he will not play this week,” Healy said. “We are excited about having James Foster start for us and Chris is one of those guys who I’m sure will be bugging me to go play on Friday night. But, we want to make sure he is healthy.”
Is Foster Ready?
From what little bit I was able to catch of practice on Tuesday, Foster looked pretty solid. He had one pick and got off to a shaky start, but really fastened things up connecting for a few touchdown passes later on. Foster has a ton of potential and he was a four-star coming out of high school for a reason. Senior wide receiver Victor Tucker feels the team just needs to have his back.
“The biggest thing for the receivers is just talking to him (Foster) when we aren’t at the facility and just understanding certain looks, where he wants to put the ball, where he wants us to be, and just the little things like that,” Tucker said. “He can ball, that is the reason why he is here. It is nothing too big, but just the little details we want to get clean.”
Defensive woes or just a bad week zero?
It is no question that the first game under new defensive coordinator Greg Brown did not go as planned and left many 49er faithful wondering if there were any changes made at all. Despite giving up 43 points to FAU in the season opener, linebacker Derek Boykins is very confident and assures that the performance against FAU will not happen again.
“For the defense, our spirits are always going to be high,” Boykins said. “We know we didn’t put on what we needed to put on, on Saturday, and that won’t happen again, I can promise you that.”
The redshirt sophomore linebacker made a bold claim on Tuesday, so it will be on him to get his squad rallied and ready to go for a tough test against William & Mary who are ranked in the top 25 in FCS coming into the year.
Looking to Gameday
Charlotte heads into the game as the favorite to win, but the 49ers can’t get complacent against a team that likes to run the ball. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2. You can catch the game on the ESPN app on your phone, computer, or TV. Or, tune in to ESPN 730 the game for play-by-play coverage.