THE FINAL 49:
During the final 49 weeks until Kickoff 2013, we will take a moment each week to look at various aspects of the football program.
Game Day is Coming
Apr. 14, 2013
By Tom Whitestone
Game day is coming.
This past Saturday, the 49ers' practice included two 15-minute running time periods of scrimmage. The team approached the day like Game Day. Stretching in units. Following a pregame routine. Heading back to the locker room before taking the field. It was good and necessary practice.
This coming Saturday will be as close to Game Day as anything Niner Nation will see between now and Aug. 31. This coming Saturday will be the 49ers first-ever Spring Game. Thousands of fans are expected. Tailgating begins at 9:00 a.m., four hours before the spring's final practice/Spring Game begins at 1 p.m.
The newly-installed video scoreboard is expected to be operational, as is the audio system. April 20 will feel like a 49ers football Game Day -- and that is music to the ears of so many 49ers fans.
This past Saturday was an opportunity for the team to prepare. Referees on the field. Fans in the stands. Stats in the press box. So many people trying to get a chance to practice all that game day will include.
This coming Saturday, many, many more will get that chance. The Spring Game has been called a dry run for this coming fall -- and that is true for the team, administration and fans alike.
FSL holders will park in their designated lots. Fans coming to the university will be directed to the proper campus entrance depending on their parking location. Niner Nation will tailgate.
Just as the team goes through the process of game prep, and school officials go through the process of game operations -- fans will go through the process of their own Game Day rituals.
They will learn where to enter campus. They will learn the lot that they will park in. They will carve out their special tailgate location and then, they will make their path to the stadium, grab their seat and get ready for some football.
This coming Saturday, when the 49ers take the field for their first-ever Spring Game, with thousands of fans in the stands, grills cooking across the campus, concessions and merchandise for sale on the concourse and the stadium operations in full swing -- Charlotte will get a true glimpse of 49ers football.
Things have come along way since 2007, when Chancellor Dr. Philip Dubois appointed a Football Feasibility Committee to look into the prosect of adding football. Things have come a long way since 2008, when students and alumni marched through campus carrying a goalpost in advance of Dubois' recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Things have come a long way since 2010, when the last hurdle was cleared and the path finally opened to bring football to the 49ers. Things have come a long way since 2011 when Brad Lambert was named head coach and ground was broken on the coming Stadium. Things have come a long way since 2012, when the 49ers signed their first class of football recruits and held their first football practices.
And, when Saturday April 20th hits, things will have come a long way since even this past month, when the video scoreboard was installed and the 49ers Fight Song first blared out of the speakers to test the audio system.
So much has happened. So much will still happen. We have uniforms to unveil. New players to welcome. Starters to name. Opponents to measure.
Saturday may be a dry run or a dress rehearsal. It may be a chance to work out some kinks. It may be a practice or a scrimmage.
But in reality, it is still a Game Day. A Charlotte 49ers Football Game Day. And Niner Nation has waited a long, long time for this.
Niner Nation, the wait is nearly over. Game Day is coming.