The Charlotte 49ers opened the 2014 Spring Practice season, Tuesday at their two practice fields. The 49ers will practice for four weeks and the spring season will culminate with the annual Spring Game, April 5.
Head coach Brad Lambert and the 49ers are preparing for their second season of FCS football. Charlotte enjoyed its inaugural season, last year, with a 5-6 record against a schedule that included four nationally-ranked FCS opponents. In fact, in just its first season, Charlotte posted its first-ever FCS Top 25 victory with a 53-51 come-from-behind win over #24 Gardner-Webb.
The 49ers have been through conditioning workouts and time in the weight room this semester, but now that the calendar has turned to March, the players were anxious to get onto the field.
"Everybody's excited to be out here and ready to get back to work," said 49ers senior offensive lineman Daniel Blitch.
"The pace should be good," said Lambert. "They had a good offseason. The guys have worked extremely hard in conditioning and weightlifting. That started January 1st with our 2014 football team. Now's the next phase of that -- the actual football part of it -- this is where it all starts."
Charlotte had signed two recruiting classes prior to its inaugural season. This spring, they want to continue to develop the players in that first class, the bulk of which competed in 2013 as red-shirt freshmen while evaluating the members of the second class, the bulk of which sat out the 2013 season as red-shirts.
"We really want to find out who's that group of playmakers," added Lambert. "Is there a group that we red-shirted -- we've got 4 or 5 new guys in -- we kind of want to see them infused into our roster and see how they're going to affect our football team. We're looking for that next group of playmakers."
Evaluation and improvement. With Year One in the rearview mirror and Year Two ready to kick off in August, spring practice is the perfect time for both.
"The goal for spring is to get better," said senior Defensive Back Desmond Cooper. "Everyone says it was a good season for an opening season but to me that's subpar. It's 5 and 6. We've got to get better from there."
And as Lambert said, spring practice is where it all starts.