|A CONVERSATION WITH BRAD LAMBERT|
We caught up with Charlotte 49ers head football coach Brad Lambert and got his comments on various activities surrounding the 49ers football program.
On Stadium Construction:
"It's just so encouraging -- you come on campus like I come to work every day -- to see how it's progressing and how far they've come in a month and a half. It puts a level of excitement to it. It's big for the kids we bring on campus now. It's really, so to speak, 'made it real'. That's the fun part of it. Everything we've done so far has all been first class and I think this is going to be as good a stadium as anybody's got is in the FCS. It'll be a first-class facility. It's just exciting to be able to watch it being built."
On The Reaction of Visitors:
"The biggest thing for kids is to see not only the stadium but when they come on campus to see their facial expression and their reactions when they come on campus to all the construction. It's all been very positive and eye-opening for people that aren't here every day and come on campus for the first time. It's fun to see that reaction. Whether the guy is someone we're interviewing or a prospect or even just friends of the program. I've come across so many alumni that hadn't been here in a long time when they come on campus and it's just "Wow." I think the stadium is just an addition to that. With all the fine facilities and building and construction and expansion - it's fun for me it to see people's reactions when they come on campus. There's a lot of new things going on on-campus."
On Upcoming July 23 Belk Bowl Youth Clinic (which filled up in less than three days):
"It's an opportunity for us to get on the field and coach kids. It's a camp that we've done in the past - not this specific camp with the Belk Bowl - but a youth camp like this. It's a camp that I really enjoy and that our coaches really enjoy. It's a chance for people in the community to get to know us and see how we're going to handle kids and coach kids. It's one more step for people to get the opportunity to get to know us and get close to us and get a feel for how we're going to do things.
"I wish we had more room for more kids. We're just not set up for that yet. I'm glad they called us and wanted to do it. Next year at this time we'll have a couple weeks of youth camps. The main objective for us is to get on the field and work with kids and let parents and kids get to know us and generate some more excitement about the football program.
"Over the last month, we worked other people's camps. We did miss spring practice this year so this is a chance to get out and coach kids and teach kids the fundamentals of football. That's what we enjoy doing. This is one more opportunity to do that - and it's one more time for kids to come on campus, their parents to bring them on and get to know us. I've always said about kids, if you can get them excited about your football program they are going to want to come to games and bring moms and dads with them. That's important for us."
On Working other Summer College Camps:
"It's really been a chance for us to inform people. There's people that are still not clear on time frame so we answer a lot more questions. The more you're out, the more you have a chance to interact with them. To get our logo out, get our brand out and say "Hey, this is what we're all about. This is who we are" and kind of give them the lay of the land.
"It's fun to coach and be on the field and the reaction's been very positive. This weekend we will be working camps again. That was our plan going in.
"It's a chance for us to not only work the camp but talk with other college coaches and talk football - and stay sharp form that standpoint. We use it two-fold - we get the chance to work camps and we used it to talk football with other college staffs and other coaches - and that's been huge for us. It's been very nice of the universities in the state to let us come and work them."
On Upcoming Activities:
"The next big phase for us is to take some trips to other universities - we're going to San Antonio to talk to their staff about what they did and what they went through the last two years. In August, we will split up and go to schools to see how they run their (preseason) camps. We'll do that over the next six weeks and when Sept.1 hits, we'll be back on the (recruiting) road.
"In August we'll be seeing how they work and seeing how they set up their camps and we'll continue to do that in September and October -- go watch other people and how they get ready for a game since we don't have games. That will be our focus for the next six weeks and then Sept. 1 it will be recruiting.
"To answer the question -- that's the main focus - getting back on the road recruiting and see where we stack up -- seeing where we fit with guys. We've had some good interest and guys are really excited about it. We've had kids on campus and we will just continue that process. That's why we're pushing hard in June and July to get kids on campus. It's been a good number of kids that have been on campus and the reaction has been positive."
On Public Appearances:
"In August, September and October there are a lot of engagements in the community. It is an opportunity for me to get out and keep meeting people and let people get to know us and what we're doing and what we're all about. I've got to do that over the next few months. My schedule is a little bit different than the other guys. We do have an opportunity to go out and meet people: Touchdown Club; rotary clubs; golf outings - we'll continue to do that and work with the alumni association. My calendar does fill up pretty quick from that standpoint."
On Transition So Far:
"Everything's gone pretty smooth. That's been the nice thing for me. We have had three offices in four months but otherwise, everything's gone well. The thing that's encouraging for me is that the plan that was presented has really unfolded. Our offices here, which are only temporary for a year or so, are really nice. Everything has been first class. That's why it's important to get people on campus. It's nice to bring people in here and it gives us the chance to project out what our new facility is going to be like. That's the fun part for me. Now you're starting to see what it's actually going to look like. Now you can see where it's all coming together: OK, that's where we're going to be practicing. It's great to see how it's going to unfold. You can see it coming together."