49ers: Lambert Sticks with Two QBs for C-USA Opener

CHARLOTTE, NC (WCCB Charlotte) — Charlotte 49ers head coach Brad Lambert is sticking with a two quarterback system for the Conference-USA opener at Middle Tennessee State.

Lambert used Duke’s head coach, David Cutcliffe, as an example of a two quarterback system that gave him trouble when he was the Wake Forest defensive coordinator.

“I really like the feel of it,” Lambert said. “I thought Matt (Johnson) was really calm. He played extremely well when he went in. (Brooks Barden) has had a good spring and a good camp so we want to get him involved.”

Lambert believes the more game action Barden will get, the better he will be. Barden, who will likely be the first quarterback to play on Saturday, completed 11-of-17 passes for 77-yards and a touchdown. Matt Johnson, who has 20 career starts, provided the spark for most of the first half against Presbyterian in his change-of-pace role. Johnson threw a pair of first half touchdown passes and finished 8-of-11 for 187 yards.

“Matt has too much ability to stand over there with me,” Lambert said. “We have a plan for Matt when we put him in the game.”

Lambert declined a possible position change for Johnson.

“Right now, we see him as a quarterback.”

To continue in a theme of ‘firsts’ for Brad Lambert’s third-year Charlotte 49ers program, the team plays a first conference game on Saturday night at Middle Tennessee State. Charlotte was picked to finish last in Conference USA.

“We want to prove ourselves,” junior wide receiver Austin Duke said. “We want to prove that we are very capable of playing with the Conference USA guys.”

Middle Tennessee State opened with a 70-14 win over Jackson State where the Blue Raiders put up 605 yards of total offense. As expected, MTSU was held in check by No. 2 Alabama last Saturday in a 37-10 loss.

“It will be the best offense we have faced in the history of this program,” senior defensive back Branden Dozier said.

Charlotte will be without left tackle Jamal Covington who has a fractured toe. Covington has started all 24-games in the history of the program. Lambert expects center Thomas La Bianca to return–he missed the game against Presbyterian.