William & Mary vs Charlotte: What I’ll be watching

by Aug 30, 2022Football

Chris Reynolds is out for the home opener

Will Healy announced during his weekly press conference today that Redshirt Junior James Foster will start in his place. Reynolds left the opener vs FAU in the second quarter due to injury, before ultimately coming back after halftime for limited duty. Foster relieved Reynolds, though he didn’t have a great showing, going 2/9 for 21 yards and a pick-six that effectively sealed the game in the waning moments of the first half. Foster’s best pass of the game unfortunately slipped through the hands of Grant Dubose, which could have resulted in a deep TD strike.

Foster has now appeared in 6 contests for Charlotte but he’s yet to really find his rhythm in those games, going a combined 33 for 65 (51%) with 1 TD and 2 INTs. You have to imagine that Redshirt Freshman Xavier Williams will also get some reps with the first team offense this week in case Foster is to get hurt. With this being Reynolds final year of eligibility, Healy’s staff is no doubt evaluating for the 2023 season and beyond at the QB spot. Foster was billed as a “dual threat” QB out of high school, but in his time here he’s seldomly ran. I’m interested to see if we work in more RPO opportunities for Foster and take advantage of his mobility.

LYNN-SANITY

The offensive line struggled to contain FAU in the opener, our QB’s were constantly pressured and the running game was almost non-existent. I’ll keep an eye on the Tribe’s #99, Nate Lynn, who attended Vance HS here in Charlotte, happens to be one of FCS top defensive players. Lynn had 12 sacks last season in just 10 games, and also forced 6 fumbles.

DROPPED

Without Reynolds, we’ll need our wide receivers to refocus and eliminate the drops they had in Boca Raton. I look for that to be an area we can really separate ourselves vs the Tribe. Charlotte’s tight ends never got on track in the opener, looking for them to make an appearance with Foster potentially looking more underneath for easier connections.

JUST FELT LIKE RUNNING

William & Mary boasts a run-heavy offense, in 2021 they ran 67% of the time. Aside from one big carry from FAU, I thought Charlotte’s defense did a much better job vs FAU than they did previously in the 2021 campaign. It sounds as if both QB options for W&M are mobile, so it’ll be a test for our front 7. Given their offensive style, we’ll need the secondary to sharp and prepared for play action and getting beat over the top.

BYRD IS THE WORD

Special teams is a great way for FBS teams to showcase their talent and create separation vs FCS teams. Byrd was held in check on kick off returns vs FAU, would love to see him break free vs the Tribe.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Without Reynolds in the starting spot, and coming off of a subpar performance vs FAU, I feel this one can actually tell us a good bit about who we are as a team, and potentially, as a program. Given the scenario at hand, I’m more interested/curious in our overall performance vs William & Mary than I would have been with Chris Reynolds at the helm. FBS vs FCS affords certain advantages, one key being the number of scholarship players. In many instances FBS squads are able to use their depth and wear down FCS teams an pull away in the late 3rd and 4th quarter. Are we able to plug in a once highly recruited QB and impose our will, do we wear them down, or is it a dog fight until the end? If it’s a dog fight, or we just aren’t competitive on Friday night, that’ll be a quite ominous sign for the remainder of the 2022 campaign.

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