Photo credit: Charlotte Athletics
The home slate for Charlotte in 2023 is over, and in the end the Niners went 1-5 at home, dropping all five FBS contests at Jerry Richardson Stadium. In the postgame interview, Head Coach Biff Poggi was asked to assess the season as a whole by Scott (Fowler?), and his answer is worth a listen. The question comes around the 3:20 mark into the presser below:
Biff is candid as always, and it’s clear he’s disappointed (and surprised) in where Charlotte is as a program at this point in the season. He questions the toughness and consistency of our play. Later he’s asked about what he told the players in the locker room (I think, since those asking questions don’t have mics it’s really hard to hear them.
“I try to be honest with the kids all the time, I told them I was very disappointed in their performance, and I told them that there will be a number of them that wont be back next year, whether it’s graduation or my decision to move on. But I also told them it doesn’t mean I don’t love you and care about you, because I do. But I’ve been hired to do a job, and I’m going to do that job. And that goes to everyone in the building by the way, including me.” – Biff Poggi
Another interesting comment was when he was asked about quarterback play, and he mentions that it is what it is and we need an upgrade at that position. CLT loses Jalon Jones to graduation, and that’s clearly not a vote of confidence for walk-on QB Trexler Ivey. Ivey’s flashed at times, but has been marred by a lack of consistency.
Charlotte currently has a freshman QB that’s redshirting, Carson Black (recovering from surgery and recently started throwing). As of now the 2024 recruiting class also includes high school QB commit, Deshawn Purdie, a three-star prospect from Maryland. Given the QB issues this season, and Micah Bowens not getting an opportunity, it’s pretty apparent that Charlotte will hit the transfer portal for a QB. I’ll be interested to see if they pursue more than one transfer QB. As Poggi said earlier in the year, to win in the AAC, you need an offense capable of scoring 30-plus a game, and there is no bigger piece to that than a QB.
Back to Rice
Before we look too far ahead to the offseason, let’s talk some more about today’s contest. When I saw that JT Daniels would be out for Rice, I felt (like most of you) that Charlotte’s odds shot up significantly to win. Yet another reason why I don’t gamble! coming into the game Rice was an air it out team that struggled to run the ball, but they dominated the line of scrimmage and ran for 240 yards on the ground. Even with forcing three turnovers, Charlotte just couldn’t get over the hump and make this a game.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t just Rice’s offensive line that dominated, their defensive line did too. Charlotte has 31 carries for 84 yards, the run game was just shut down. Add in the 11-25 performance through the air for 74 yards and 1 interception, and we saw an offense get shut down similar to what we did to ECU a few weeks back.
Simply put, Rice dominated Charlotte in all phases. Today’s player of the game for CLT would have to be Grant Gonya, and as good as he is, the punter is never who you want to be highlighting for such an honor.
The Niners will head into the season finale at USF with a bad taste in their mouth, and facing a Bulls team that was emphatically beat this week as well, but a win will make them bowl eligible. What’s in it for Charlotte? Personal pride.