Kevin Olsen was supposed to be the Miami Hurricanes’ starting quarterback in 2014, but that didn’t happen.
Olsen, whose brother Greg is a two-time Pro Bowl tight end with the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers, was also supposed to be the starting quarterback this Saturday when his Charlotte 49ers (2-4, 1-1) play host to FIU (2-4, 2-0) in a Conference USA game.
But that didn’t happen, either.
Olsen, a junior, lost his starting job to sophomore Hassan Klugh, who led Charlotte to its first-ever Conference USA win, ending an eight-game league skid with a win at Florida Atlantic on Sunday.
Klugh responded to his opportunity by completing 14-of-17 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns with one interception against FAU, adding 54 yards and one touchdown rushing.
He was named Conference USA’s Co-Offensive Player of the Week, and Olsen has been banished to the bench yet again.
Sports writer Bill Kiser, who covers the 49ers for the Charlotte Observer, said he was surprised Olsen didn’t get benched sooner.
Olsen has completed just 51.6 percent of his passes this season and has six touchdown passes and three interceptions. His efficiency rating (101.8) is way below Klugh’s 177.5 rating.
“In practice, things would look good,” Kiser said of Olsen. “But in games, the offense wouldn’t click or took awhile to click. He didn’t have pocket presence. He couldn’t tell when trouble was about to descend upon him, and he lacked timing with his receivers.”
Back in 2014, Olsen had been expected to emerge as UM’s starter after Stephen Morris graduated and Ryan Williams got hurt in spring ball.
But Olsen, a highly rated redshirt freshman, was beaten out by true freshman Brad Kaaya. Soon after that, Olsen transferred to a junior college before arriving at Charlotte.
“The Charlotte offense just seems to run better with Klugh,” Kiser said. “He can extend plays and make things happen with his arm and his legs.”
▪ FIU running back Alex Gardner ranks sixth in the league in rushing with 548 yards (5.4 per rush).
▪ Charlotte will counter with running back Kalif Phillips, who has rushed for more than 100 yards three games in a row. For the season, he has 351 yards in five games (4.8 per rush).
▪ FIU is minus-six in turnovers this season, ranking next to last in the league.
▪ Charlotte senior wide receiver Austin Duke went over 3,000 yards in career receptions on Sunday. He ranks eighth in the league this year with 408 receiving yards.