Here we go with the first game week press conference of the season (and the first in program history) as the media gathered to hear from Charlotte 49ers head football coach Brad Lambert and get his thoughts, primarily, on Campbell. Some quick hits from the over 18-minute media session…
Expectations from Campbell:
“There’s always an unknown factor when you have a new staff. One thing I know about (Camels head coach Mike) Minter is that they’re going to come in ready to play…He’ll have them ready when they come in, there’s no question.
“(Personnel-wise) They’re old in all the right spots–the defensive front, a lot of those guys are back, the linebacker (corps), defensive line…That’s really important when you’re playing a game. They have two senior quarterbacks–Dakota (Wolf) played for them last year and had a lot of success (and) they’ve got a transfer coming in. Their o-line (has guys that have) two, three, four years’ (experience), so that’s the biggest challenge they’ll present for us.”
Has he met with/spoken Minter before this?
“I have. I met (him) a couple different times…he was involved in the process of starting football here, so…he’ll probably know more people here Saturday than I do.”
What he’s doing right now to get the team ready for Saturday:
“The biggest thing we’re doing right now is just honing in on our game plan. It’s all about execution and…knowing (the plan) like the back of your hand. We’re finalizing all that and making sure we’ll be ready (but) these guys will be focused.”
On settling his team down:
“The key is (the older players on the team) leading us. It’s going to be emotional, and that’s OK. We’re all fired up and ready to get there, but (the older players) will be a calming force for us.”
From an overall team standpoint, what are some areas that might need a little extra attention or a little more focus?
“I’ve just been really pleased with both sides of the ball. One unknown is our long snapper–Keaston (Sinicki) is going to be our long snapper, and he hasn’t snapped in a game, so you never know from an execution standpoint on specialists.
“That’s probably the one area–the special teams part of it–that you don’t know because it’s harder to replicate all that stuff at game speed and apply the pressure to those guys that game day applies to them. But offensively and defensively I’ve been really pleased with the progress they’ve made.”
As far as redshirting, what’s his strategy behind who he’ll play and then redshirt for the rest of the season?
“I think it’s about half (of the incoming players–six or seven in all) that we’ll play (the first game) and redshirt.”
Has he had a chance to speak with Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe, who he coached under for several years?
“I (should) call him today as a matter of fact (laughs)…but I’ll probably call him tonight or tomorrow. He’s been great through this process (and) has been a huge influence on me and the way we do things. I just really appreciate the opportunity he gave me thirteen years ago to come coach for him.”