Buffalo and Charlotte take next steps in preparation for Friday's game

Makers Wanted Team Helmets

Photo Credit: Kemuel Stubbs 

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Buffalo and Charlotte are taking two different approaches in preparation for the 2019 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl on Friday.

After a day off for both teams on Monday, the Bulls had a spirited practice on Wednesday morning at Roscow A. L. Davies Soccer Field near Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.

The 49ers are taking a different approach with a light walk-through at the Atlantis hotel on Wednesday evening.

With kickoff less than 48 hours away, both teams are turning their focus toward Friday’s 2 p.m. kickoff while still enjoying all that Atlantis and the Bahamas have to offer.

“Our kids did really good at practice today,” Buffalo defensive coordinator Brian Borland said. “We pushed them along and didn’t cut any corners or take any breaks. We made sure we moved around good today and the guys sweated and that’s good. This will help us on Friday - we will be in tune with the climate. Our guys are having fun (at the Atlantis) but they were having fun out here at practice, too. We spend plenty of time in the cold so it’s good to be in the hot and humid again.”

“We got our heavy work in before we got here,” Charlotte sophomore quarterback Chris Reynolds said. “We’ve been enjoying the past two days, Monday and Tuesday. But this afternoon, we’re going to dial in. We’ve got meetings and a little walkthrough and tomorrow we have practice. We’ll hit the switch tonight. We do a good job of that, we’re a pretty mature team. I feel good about us locking in once the meetings start.”

Each team’s game planning has been finished for quite some time, and it is just now a matter of fine-tuning the scouting reports and mental preparations.

“They (Buffalo) are a really good defense,” Charlotte offensive coordinator Alex Atkins said. “They’re sound, and they play fast. That’s the two big things you see in great defenses. Their kids don’t blink. They don’t look like they’re hesitating, they know exactly what they’re doing. That means they’re well-coached. It’s going to be one of the toughest challenges we’ve had all season.”

“We have been practicing for two weeks now on stopping (Charlotte’s) running game,” Buffalo sophomore Linebacker James Patterson said. “We are trying to stop their quarterback and running back - they are two good players. They also have a really good receiver. Their running back is comparable to our guy, Jaret Patterson, so we see that every day in practice. We are ready.”

Fifteen players and staff members from both Buffalo and Charlotte will join with staff from USA Football to put on the Youth Football Clinic sponsored by KFC on Wednesday afternoon.

Buffalo Quotes

Defensive Coordinator Brian Borland
On practicing today after a day off on Tuesday…
“Our kids did really good. We pushed them along and didn’t cut any corners or take any breaks. We made sure we moved around good today and the guys sweated and that’s good. This will help us on Friday - we will be in tune with the climate. Our guys are having fun (at the Atlantis) but they were having fun out here at practice too. We spend plenty of time in the cold so it’s good to be in the hot and humid again.”

On what challenges Charlotte’s offense presents…
“They have a very balanced attack that really starts with the running game. We will make sure we are fitting up those things we need to and hopefully get them into a passing game. I think it will be to our advantage if we can do that.”

On how to stop Charlotte running back Benny LeMay…
“We do what we do. We understand what schemes they are going to run and how our defense needs to fit up to those schemes. We need to be in the right places and tackle when we get a chance. If we can do those things, I feel pretty good about how things will go.”

On being the No. 1 rush defense in the MAC…
“Our guys take a lot of pride in that because that hasn’t always been the case for us in previous years. Our guys have grown in confidence and really believe in the things that we are trying to do. If we can hold our own against our own offense (in practice) I feel like we are going to be pretty good. When we go against ourselves in practice it is always a good battle and that helps us. ”

Sophomore Linebacker James Patterson
On dealing with the heat and humidity…
“I’m enjoying it. It’s snowing back in Buffalo right now so I’m not complaining. I’m blessed to be here.”

On stopping the Charlotte offense…
“We have been practicing for two weeks now on stopping their running game. We are trying to stop their quarterback and running back - they are two good players. They also have a really good receiver. Their running back is comparable to our guy, Jaret Patterson, so we see that every day in practice. We are ready.”

On what it will be like to play in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl on Friday…
“I can’t wait to play. I wish we could have played on Monday. But the game is on Friday so we will be ready then.”

On the potential of being the first Buffalo team to win a bowl game…
“It means a new beginning for Buffalo. We here to be the best Group of 5 team ever.”

Junior Defensive End Malcolm Koonce
On getting into game mode...
“We are focused on locking back in. We are enjoying the weather but now it’s time to get back to business and back to football. We came on this trip with a job to do - to win this game.”

On stopping the Charlotte offense...
“We are the No. 1 run stopping defense our conference, so we are going to do what we do.”

On the Bahamas experience...
“It’s nice. Different scenery, with palm trees and nice sunlight. Tropical waters. It’s a nice change up. The Atlantis is an amazing hotel. We got to hit the water slides and the beach - take advantage on what the island has to offer.”

Charlotte Quotes

Offensive Coordinator Alex Atkins
On his week in the Bahamas...
“It’s been an amazing experience. Me and my wife got a chance to come last summer for the first time, so we got a little bit of the lay of the land. It’s been awesome to bring these kids and our staff. It’s been awesome. We got some good food and we’re right here on the beach. The Atlantis resort is so wonderful you don’t even have to leave it. We’ve had some time to get some good meals and I’m a big man so I like to eat.”

On his morning at Signing Day...
“We were on the beach, we had a cabana, had the music going. I tell you what, it’s always good that Club Lit travels, so we had an amazing morning with the Signing Day festivities.”

On the challenges Buffalo will present defensively…
“They’re a really good defense. They’re sound, and they play fast. That’s the two big things you see in great defenses. Their kids don’t blink. They don’t look like they’re hesitating, they know exactly what they’re doing. That means they’re well-coached. It’s going to be one of the toughest challenges we’ve had all season.”

On the keys to the offense’s success…
“The number one thing is that we’ve been balanced. I think that helps a lot when we can run and throw the ball. We can attack you however we can, and the key is to play hard. One thing I’m excited about with our kids is their effort. And their attention to detail has given them an advantage so far."

Chris Reynolds, Redshirt Sophomore, Quarterback
On the team’s time in the Bahamas...
“It’s a great experience. This is awesome. I’m a big island guy, I’ve always dreamt of coming to an island. To come to an island to play a football game? Come on, you can’t beat that. Everyone’s having a good time going to the beach and getting on the water slides. It’s been so much fun. That Beach Bash yesterday was awesome. It was cool seeing both of the teams out there having a good time playing volleyball and throwing the football around, eating some good food. I thought that was the coolest part of the trip so far.”

On balancing fun and football…
“We got our heavy work in before we got here. We’ve been enjoying the past two days, Monday and Tuesday. But this afternoon, we’re going to dial in. We’ve got meetings and a little walkthrough and tomorrow we have practice. We’ll hit the switch tonight. We do a good job of that, we’re a pretty mature team. I feel good about us locking in once the meetings start.”

On the keys to the offense...
“The thing about our offense is that every week you’ll see a different guy step up with a big stat line. Whether it’s Victor Tucker, Benny LeMay, Tyler Ringwood, Cameron Dollar, every game it’s someone new. The way this offense works, you can distribute the ball to everyone uniquely and in different ways. When you have a workhorse like Benny LeMay who’s an absolutely unbelievable football player, it brings attention to him and allows other people to open up down the field.”

On Buffalo’s defense...
“They’re a great football team. They’re really tough on defense. They’ve got a great defensive front, athletic DBs. I think they’re going to try and stop the run and get us into long passing situations. I feel good about it, and if we find ways to push it down the field it’ll be fun.”

Benny LeMay, Senior, Running Back
On his first day in Atlantis...
“It’s been amazing. This is my first time out of the country. It’s better than what I expected. It’s fun being here. I actually know a couple people from the Bahamas so I got to see them and my family’s here for the game as well. It’s just a great time. There’s so much to do. My favorite things have been the water slides and the whole Atlantis resort has been a blessing. It’s great to just walk around and see the stores they have. Everyone’s so nice here, as well.”

On balancing fun and football…
“It’s not too hard. You come down here for a reason, it’s a business trip. You’ve got to remember the main goal and set a marking stone for the future and the players who are coming behind me. That’s something you’ve always got to keep in the forefront, as well as enjoying yourself and realizing this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be here for a week. It’s a good balance but you have to remember why you’re here.”

On the keys to the offense’s success…
“It’s special. I was talking to one of our former players, Austin Duke, and we were just reminiscing on the times we were so close and didn’t get there, and how happy he was for us, and how grateful and blessed we are to be in this position. It just goes back to the team. We worked so hard this year and made tremendous plays across the board. Coach Healy’s building the culture inside of this and helping us to be a better team.”

On getting the chance to go into Club Lit after the game…
“Oh, that’d be lit. That would definitely be lit. In the Bahamas? I think that would be the best Club Lit yet for sure.”

--MAKERS WANTED BAHAMAS BOWL--

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