In preparation for this Saturday’s game at Charlotte, we were able to get Ross Smith from Agent 49 to answer a few questions for us.
- Charlotte’s season has certainly not gone like their supporters have wanted, but in a couple games the 49ers have been very competitive. In the FIU game specifically, what did you see from your team that nearly gave them the upset in Miami before ultimately falling 30-29?
Agent 49: FIU was our first game after Greg Adkins took over the offensive coordinator (OC) duties for Charlotte. The offense came out inspired and it seemed to click in the first half — Hasaan Klugh, Benny LeMay and Aaron McCallister all spearheaded the rushing attack. After halftime FIU made adjustments and Charlotte just couldn’t counter them, ultimately only scoring a field goal (short field from an FIU turnover) in the 2nd half.
- Do you expect starting running back Benny Lemay to return this week, and if he does how effective do you think the read option with Lemay and quarterback Hassan Klugh can be against UAB’s stout defensive front?
Agent 49: Per our beat writer, LeMay is “likely” for this weekend’s contest. Hasaan should also be back after missing the WKU game last week to an undisclosed illness. It’ll be a tough challenge against UAB’s front, and this could be a game where the Niners really need to use the passing game to soften things up for the ground game. We have, what I feel, is an underrated wide receiver squad. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get the ball into those guy’s hands often enough (more on that coming soon).
- Speaking of Hassan Klugh, he may be the most dynamic quarterback in the conference when he gets in the open field. In what areas of his game do you think he needs to improve the most?
Agent 49: Point blank, Hasaan needs to be more accurate. This season he’s completing just 47.2 percent of his attempts, that’s down from 53.6 percent last season. Couple the drop in his completion percentage with his increase in interceptions (8 so far this year, 3 total last year), the passing game just hasn’t materialized like any of us would have hoped.
- With the injuries Charlotte has suffered of late you can imagine it could be demoralizing for a team. Do you think Charlotte will have a sense of urgency or maybe a point to prove this week given that it’s homecoming and they’ve yet to get a win this season?
Agent 49: One thing is certain, the staff and players are all saying the right things. I know they’re chomping at the bit to get the first win of the season, and I think at this point in the season it is hard to keep kids from trying to do too much. If Charlotte can keep it close in the first half, I have a feeling it will be a tight one down the stretch and come down to either turnovers or special teams. Our kicking game has left a lot to be desired so far, don’t look for us to try anything over 40-plus yards unless it’s in desperation as the clock is going to run out.