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2019 Reviews: Charlotte

ClubLIT was a thing all season and whatever you thought of Lane Kiffin, it rivaled the Lane Train but had more unmitigated joy to the whole thing. It reminded me of PJ Fleck and his Western Michigan and now Minnesota thing: at first it seemed a bit like of someone trying too hard but then you see it is just the way they do things.

Charlotte had a nice little season last year and this one could have been a scorched-earth rebuild but instead it is a bowling season. The only team in CUSA maybe having more fun than FAU right now is Charlotte and it is fitting because that is when the season turned for both teams.

Charlotte began this year with a surprisingly good offense that came back down to earth for a bit, before reappearing again vs North Texas in a huge comeback. Head coach Will Healy said they had gotten away from their “culture” things and a return to that mindset helped the 49ers return to the confident team they had in the beginning.

At media days, Will Healy had the aw-shucks attitude that the youngest coach in the league would likely have, but his record at Austin Peay and here speaks to a guy that deserves every bit of praise. It is easy — and frankly a bit lazy — to start over-praising him now. Remember national reporters beset Frank Wilson after his first year, asking him (basically) when he was going to leave for a big gig. Just last year Seth Littrell turned down the K-State job, and the MSU one (rumors) before that.

Lane Kiffin had lots of hype after 2017, but little after 2018. Now? Well, he took the gig at Ole Miss when the iron was hot. The point is that we do not know how good he is and how much of this was circumstance and good fortune. The signs point to “He Good” but again, we must hold back.

Charlotte had universal praise from players at media days for the beautiful campus. There is a lot to like about the program and the circumstances that surround it. Winning can be done at UNCC (they hate that name) and these last two seasons were evidence of that.

Healy told me he has to find a QB that wants the attention of leading the program because that is what it is going to take. He got good production from his guys but they also helped bring about some losses. Finding a QB is the job.

There will be no Benny LeMay to lean on, and that will be a big change. Sean Kugler at UTEP could not replace Aaron Jones and that cost him his gig (among other things). Dancing with your shirt off is hella fun, but that can look really silly without steady progress.

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