Charlotte football coach Brad Lambert said Tuesday he knows who his starting quarterback will be Saturday in the 49ers’ season opener against Fordham. He’s just no saying who it is.
“It’s not public yet,” Lambert said. “By the end of the week, (it will be) yes.”
Three quarterbacks are competing for the starting job - last year’s starter Hasaan Klugh, Miami transfer Evan Shirreffs and redshirt freshman Chris Reynolds. Shirreffs recently recovered from a hamstring injury and his absence from several practices delayed the decision. But now that the decision has been made, Lambert is waiting to reveal it.
Lambert said that whomever the quarterback is, he won’t have to look over his shoulder against the Football Championship Subdivision’s Rams on Saturday at Richardson Stadium. There will be no quarterback rotation or platoon system.
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“We’ll put a guy out there and see what he can do,” Lambert said.
Receivers news: Redshirt freshman Victor Tucker has won one of the three starting receivers’ jobs. He will join seniors Mark Quattlebaum and Workpeh Kofa in the starting lineup. Look for true freshman Rico Arnold, redshirt freshman Cameron Bent, sophomore Tyler Ringwood and redshirt freshman Cameron Dollar to also get playing time against Fordham. True freshman Justin Jeffrey might also play.
Punting competition: No decision has been made yet at punter, where junior Jackson Vansickle and sophomore Kyle Corbett have been competing.
Injury update: Lambert said defensive lineman Dantrell Barkley (shoulder) won’t play Saturday. Other 49ers nursing injuries and doubtful for Saturday are defensive linemen Tommy Doctor (foot) and Nick Martin (concussion).
Temporary stands: About 2,500 temporary seats have been added to Richardson Stadium for Saturday’s opener and next week’s game against Appalachian State. That will bring the capacity to the stadium to about 17,800. Tickets remain for the Fordham game; the Appalachian State game is sold out.
3 questions with…
Linebacker Alex Highsmith
Q. What’s the goal against Fordham?
“We’ve been practicing at a high intensity, so we want to come out and really try and hold them to no points. We’re going to come out and play aggressively. That’s what we’re focused on.”
Q. With a new defensive system and coordinator in Glenn Spencer, what’s been a point of emphasis for the defense in the offseason?
“At every practice, coach wants us to force three turnovers. If we don’t run to the ball, we get penalized. If we don’t get three turnovers, we’ve got to run extra. We’re practicing good habits: the first to the ball carrier has to wrap him up, then the second one comes in and tries to strip the ball out.”
Q. How else will that aggressiveness come through?
“We’re going to bring a lot of blitzes. It will be fun to see that.”
▪ The Rams, who play in the FCS Patriot League, were 4-7 in 2017. They have a new coach in Joe Conlin, who came to Fordham from Yale, where he was offensive coordinator for six seasons.
▪ Quarterback Luke Medlock, who split time at the position last season, when threw for 607 yards and two touchdowns in eight games. He completed 61.5 percent of his passes.
▪ Fordham has six starters back from a defense that struggled last season, allowing 34.9 points and 431.5 yards per game. Linebacker Glenn Cunningham, who was among the Patriot leaders in tackles (82), tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (5.5) is back.
▪ Austin Longi is dangerous as a punt returner. He returned one 90 yards for a touchdown last season and averaged 12.5 yards per return.