Another historic first took place for the Charlotte 49ers football team as they held their first open scrimmage at McColl-Richardson Field. It was the first opportunity for the community as a whole to see the Niners in action, as well as the football stadium itself. Here’s some of what we observed during our time there.
–The scrimmage was fairly well attended for the relatively small amount of publicity that it received from the college itself. In UNCC, defense, up until Wednesday it wasn’t known 100% that the scrimmage would be held, but with the stadium’s inspection receiving a passing grade, all systems were go. An unofficial count was around 1,500–again, a pretty good crowd that would have been a lot bigger with more publicity.
–The Green squad was made up of the offense while the While squad played D. For the Green squad, Matt Johnson (8) was the first team quarterback and looked a bit shaky early before getting it going a little later. Lee Mc Neill (5) took snaps with the second team and Karsten Miller (17) went for the third team. Miller was able to showcase his mobility a few times throughout the afternoon.
–However, the QBs need to learn to contemplate all options, not lock in to a single receiver. At one point, Johnson converted a short yardage play for a first down near the red zone, but Will Thomas (2) was wide open 10-15 yards down the field and could have scored if Johnson had seen him.
–Speaking of Thomas, he is fast, consistently the first one back in his group during sprints at the end of the scrimmage. He was listed as a QB, corner and RB in high school but it looks like the coaching staff will use him as a receiver. His speed will certainly help him break some big plays.
–I liked what I saw from Ja’quil Capel. He made some great plays, including a couple catches of 54 and 34 yards. Austin Duke also stood out to me as well. However, they did have their share of easy catches that were dropped.
–Only one touchdown was scored, and that was by Alan Barnwell (24) who stuffed it in on a 1-yard carry.
–Defensively, the White was able to stave off the Green in several red zone situations. They did give up a few big plays early but stiffened throughout the course of the day. Mark Pettit (11) recorded two sacks while Larry Ogunjobi led the White team in tackles (*h/t to Josh McKinnon from NCPreps.com on those stats).
–OT Daniel Blitch (76), the Wake Forest transfer, is a beast. He looks every bit of his 6’6″, 310 pound frame.
–Kicking was another story, and that’s a big thing this team must work on. The kickers need to learn to read the wind better, especially from outside of the hashes. With practice, though, they should get it together.
With all of that said, it’s hard to pick up everything because it is a scrimmage and we won’t know a ton until things start up for real. But let us know if you were there and tell us what you saw, as well as who stood out to you.