Every young football program experiences them and UNC-Charlotte had its fair share of pain throughout the 2015 season, a season in which they finished 2-10 (0-8 in Conference USA).
To say Charlotte's inaugural season in Conference USA didn't go as planned would be an understatement. They were the only program in Conference USA that failed to win a game in conference and ranked near the bottom of the conference in many statistical categories.
Charlotte's 2015 season started strong with back-to-back wins against Georgia State and Presbyterian but the program was quickly brought down to Earth with a devastating 73-14 loss at the hands of Middle Tennessee. Charlotte failed to record any victories in their remaining nine games and were outscored 332-139 in the process.
There were bright spots on the roster including wide receiver Austin Duke who lead the Charlotte receiving corps with 53 receptions, 534 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. Kalif Phillips was also a bright spot for Charlotte, leading their backfield with 961 rushing yards with an average of 5.1 yards per carry.
The troublesome aspect of Charlotte's offense was the constant quarterback carousel, a problem that persisted throughout the season. Time was split between Matt Johnson, Brooks Barden and Lee McNeill with none able to solidify their spot as starter.
Not a single quarterback on the roster posted a positive TD-INT ratio or threw for over 100 yards per game. McNeill led the way averaging 73.2 passing yards a game but had a 1-10 TD INT ratio. The QB carousel must stop in order for Charlotte to succeed in the 2016 season. One of the three must solidify their spot as starter if the team is to succeed this season.
As for the defense, the secondary showed promise in 2015 as Charlotte ranked 4th in pass defense, allowing only 228.4 yards per game through the air. The secondary accumulated 10 interceptions, good enough for 8th in the conference. The defensive line had a rough year as they ranked near the bottom of the conference in rush defense (11th), only had one player who ranked in the top 20 in sacks for CUSA, and missed a ton of tackles.
The 2015 season was one to forget for the UNC-Charlotte football program but growing pains were expected during their inaugural season in Conference USA. If the defensive line solidifies itself as a game factor and the QB carousel comes to a stop, Charlotte may be able to avoid a repeat of the 2015 season.