CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The second season of Charlotte 49ers football officially began on Wednesday morning with the first fall practice of the 2014 season. This season will mark the final year as a FCS Independent team before starting Conference USA play in 2015 with an opportunity to gain full FBS member status with bowl eligibility in 2016.
“It feels really good to be back,” remarked redshirt sophomore quarterback Matt Johnson. “We’ve been waiting for this for a really long time. I know a lot of us guys, about 50 of us, were here for the first session. We’ve been running and lifting every day and working as hard as possible just for this moment right here.”
Head Coach Brad Lambert brings back 16 starters among the 53 returning letter-winners. The roster has seen a boosted with the 49ers third signee class over the past year.
“I think the biggest thing for us in camp is we’ve got to develop depth,” commented Lambert. “To grow our roster and develop those backups that’ll end up playing for us and just develop the depth as we go forward. We’ve just got to make some tough decisions playing guys, redshirting guys and things like that. It’ll all work out, it always does. Every August it shakes out about who’s going to end up playing, who’s not. Somebody will step up. It’ll work out.”
The Niners started their inaugural season of 2013 with a home-opening 52-7 victory over Campbell and will face the Camels again for the 2014 opener in Buies Creek. Charlotte will quickly make more program history playing its first-ever Thursday night game at Campbell on August 28th. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.