Brad Lambert had a simple piece of advice for his players after Charlotte’s season-opening loss to Louisville last week – think about your next game.
A sound piece of advice from the 49ers’ coach, whose team plays their home opener this weekend, hosting Elon (0-1) on Saturday night at Richardson Stadium.
“Our guys have done a good job of getting on to the next game, and preparing the right way,” Lambert said Tuesday. “They’ve done a nice job of doing that ever since we’ve been here, and this week will be no different. Our guys will be ready.”
Charlotte (0-1) has had nine days to prepare since its 70-14 opening-game loss to the then-No. 19 (now No. 13) Cardinals last Thursday.
“We came in prepared, but we have to work on our mental toughness,” junior wide receiver T.L. Ford said. “We have to go in expecting to do good at all times, no matter who the opponent is.
“We just have to go in prepared, do like we do every week, stay mentally prepared and not make mental mistakes during the game.”
While the Phoenix – a Football Championship Subdivision team playing in the Colonial Athletic Association – may appear to be a night-and-day difference from Louisville, Lambert said that kind of thinking can be dangerous.
“I tell our team all the time, ‘Everybody has good players; if you don’t think so, just turn the film on,’” Lambert said. “The intensity level will be there from Elon’s standpoint.
“The key is for us to realize that it’s our next opportunity to win a game, and we need to be prepared to do that. So there’s plenty of motivation on our side.”
Charlotte starting left tackle Jamal Covington will sit out Saturday’s game, wide receiver Trent Bostick will miss his second straight game and cornerback Terrance Winchester’s status is “day to day.”
Covington, a redshirt senior, reinjured the right knee that cost him four missed games in 2015, and Winchester, also a redshirt senior, suffered a separated right shoulder. Both occurred in the first half of Charlotte’s loss to Louisville.
Bostick, a senior, is recovering from a concussion suffered in practice three days before the Louisville game. Lambert said there is no timetable for his return.
Redshirt sophomore Chris Brown will start in place of Covington at left tackle, while redshirt junior Anthony Covington will step into Winchester’s place at cornerback. Redshirt sophomore Workpeh Kofa, an Independence grad, will make his second start of 2016 in place of Bostick.
In addition, freshman running back Robert Washington, who suffered a sprained right ankle in the second half of the Louisville game, has been cleared to play Saturday.
About the Phoenix
▪ Elon, picked to finish 10th out of 12 teams in the CAA this season, opened with a 31-6 home loss to Gardner-Webb last Saturday.
▪ The Phoenix were among the nation’s worst FCS teams in total offense (112th, 257.2 yards per game) and scoring (117th, 13.4 points per game) last year.
▪ Elon won its first meeting against Charlotte, beating the 49ers 20-13 in 2014 at Elon College.
▪ Fourteen Phoenix players are from Observer-area high schools: defensive backs Alex Alvarez (Myers Park), Zack Dudan (Hough) and Khalil Moore (Davidson Day); offensive lineman Rev Ford (Country Day) and Matt Kowalewski (Charlotte Catholic), wide receivers Cole Bloomer (Charlotte Country Day) and Corey Joyner (Lake Norman), quarterbacks Chase Ferguson (Butler) and Graham Pruette (Concord), linebacker Trevor Darby (Davidson Day), running back Brandon Gentry (Piedmont), defensive lineman Dondre Howell (Mooresville), tight end Alex Parker (Charlotte Christian), and long snapper Marshall Simmons (Country Day).