Cardinal Authority: It’s a new program and just the second year in FBS for the 49ers. How much will they be improved?
Trevor Wilt: Every team hopes to improve each and every season off of their experiences from the seasons before. With that being said, the 49ers went 2-10 last year, losing the last 10 games of the season. I believe that playing bigger Division I programs such as Kentucky and Temple this past year has helped them know the speed of "Big Boy" football, although they were not able to get any victories against those teams. They have added more pieces to the puzzle over the last year, including the first ever 4-star recruit out of high school, RB Robert Washington. These new recruits on offense and defense will be learning from guys who have played FBS football now for a full season, which will help them know the speed of play at the Division I level in practice leading up to games, instead of having to learn during the games like they did last season.
CA: Coach Lambert said he thinks the program is farther along than he expected. What do people expect of them this year?
TW: I do believe that the team is farther along than expected as well. Although the 2-10 season last year would suggest otherwise, Coach Lambert and his staff are already bringing in big recruits and bringing in transfers like Kevin Olsen. This season, I know the University, the team, and the coaches are expecting more wins then 2. No one is saying national championship but improvements are coming and are being made, which should lead to a more confident team going into each week, knowing that they will have a fighting chance to win each game they play in.
CA: Kevin Olsen is a name people remember from Miami. Any idea of how he’s been in fall camp? I would think he’ll be an improvement at QB.
TW: Kevin Olsen's camp has gone probably better than expected. No one really knew exactly what Charlotte was getting from Kevin Olsen, understanding that he had not had great success at his past schools, mostly because of the off the field things that went down. But Olsen has one heck of an arm and has a very high IQ of the game of football, most likely past down from his older brother and dad. He has developed a strong relationship with his receivers, tight ends, running backs, and also his coaches, who only have high praises for the transfer QB. With not knowing what you were going to get from the past QB's such as Matt Johnson, Brooks Barden, or Lee McNeil, you know that you will get a QB in Olsen that has been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt.
CA: Can you say Ogunjobi? Ha! I know doesn’t matter if you can say it, Larry Ogunjobi is the 49ers best player correct?
TW: The name is tough to pronounce, no question about that, but man is that kid good! Being one of the senior leaders on the team, Ogunjobi has stepped onto the scene as one of the best defensive players in the Conference USA, collecting tons of accolades, while also getting national recognition. He is a true run stopper and tackling machine, which will work well with the new guys coming in on defense. I would say that overall, Larry Ogunjobi would have to be the best and most consistent player for the 49ers, giving the fact that he has never missed a game in his first three years. Just a tremendous guy.
CA: How big is it for Charlotte to be playing on a Thursday night against a top 25 team?
TW: It is HUGE! The hype around this game is incredible in the Queen City right now and all around campus. I have been talking about where I am going to watch this game with my buddies for weeks now. Being on national television is always a great thing for a program, and playing a Thursday night game where there will be less college games going on will be even better, knowing that more people will be watching the game. Playing a top 25 team like Louisville is huge as well because like I said before, its good to be in these big environments playing "Big Boy" football at the FBS Division I level. The 49ers have not really played at an atmosphere like Louisville, so it should be a fun experience for the coaches and the players to learn and see if they can't pull off an upset in the first game. Everyone around campus is pretty reasonable when seeing the 39.5 points that Louisville is favored by, but hey, the Cardinals and the 49ers both put on their helmet and pants the same way, so never say never.