Much has been made about the Charlotte 49ers’ young offensive line, which consists of three redshirt freshmen (LT Jamal Covington, left guard Mason Sledge, center Thomas La Bianca), one redshirt sophomore (Danny Book) and one redshirt junior (RG Daniel Blitch). Only one, Blitch, had played a down of college football (at Wake Forest); Sledge, the Albany transfer, redshirted his freshman year and never saw the field for the Great Danes.
So how did the front five do in their first game in Niner green? Not bad.
Quarterback Matt Johnson was barely tested, given plenty of time to make plays and read the Campbell defense. The result? Nearly 300 yards passing and three touchdowns, with the only time he was in real trouble coming on their third drive of the 3rd quarter. And with the offensive line pushing back so well against Campbell’s four man attack on D, that should make any signal caller happy.
“I’ve really got to put it all on the o-line (today),” Johnson said after the game. “The o-line (doing) an amazing job of keeping guys out of my face was a massive thing.”
Coach Brad Lambert certainly was pleased with the unit’s effort in the win, noting that the positive energy generated in practice had carried over well to gameday.
“Our offensive line…(has) come in and done an unbelievable job, and they really played in the game like they’ve been practicing,” he said. “They’re everyday guys. They just really played well–I was really proud of them.
“They came in…(and) stayed on task on the sideline. I’d go over there and they were into the next play and the next series…(thinking through) how (they) were going to get points on the next drive. That was a good thing for them.”