Year Two of Charlotte 49ers football begins in earnest, Saturday, April 5 as the program 2014 Spring Practice season concludes with the second Green-White Spring Game.
The bulk of the 49ers 2013 roster returns along with the addition of five players who signed in December and enrolled in January: 6-2 defensive end Josh Manley; 6-0 safety Branden Dozier; 6-2 inside Linebacker Nick Cook; 6-3 H-back Richard Murphy and 6-3 quarterback Brooks Barden. Manley is a transfer from Syracuse who is the nephew of former NFL star Dexter Manley. Dozier and Cook were teammates at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas while Murphy comes to the 49ers from Butte Community College in California. Barden was a three-star recruit at Cartersville High School and has started his freshman season with the 49ers.
The 49ers Coaching staff underwent some changes in the offseason. Tight Ends coach Johnson Richardson was promoted from a graduate assistant position and former NFL star Aaron Curry was hired on as a defensive graduate assistant. Head coach Brad Lambert has taken over the Inside Linebackers coaching position, to replace Drew Dayton, who resigned to take a position outside the field of collegiate athletics.
The 11-game 2014 Charlotte 49ers Football schedule includes four schools that were ranked or receiving votes in the final 2013 FCS national polls and eight teams that appeared on the inaugural 2013 schedule. The 49ers have six home games and five road games. Three of the six home games are against teams that were ranked or receiving votes in the final FCS National polls: Charleston Southern, James Madison and Coastal Carolina. The 49ers will enjoy bye weeks Oct. 18 and Nov. 1.
The Charlotte 49ers first season included an impressive 45-point victory in the inaugural game, a fourth quarter comeback over #24/#25 Gardner-Webb for a 53-51 victory, a 45-21 road win at FCS Presbyterian and a 61-point record-setting outburst in the season finale at Morehead State.
Charlotte’s first season slate boasted six ranked opponents, including four FCS top 25 teams. The victory over #24/#25 Gardner-Webb will stand as the 49ers first-ever over a nationally-ranked FCS opponent.
QB Matt Johnson (2581 yds; 21 pass TD; 3 rush TD; 2999 total offense) was one of 21 finalists for the Jerry Rice Award, given to the top first-year player in the FCS. Among the six quarterbacks nominated, Johnson was tops in passing yards and total offense and 2nd in passing TDs. He finished 11th in the balloting and was 4th among the six quarterbacks.
Charlotte put up over 500 yards of offense five times. Four of those 500+ games came against FCS scholarship programs, including 501 at #3/#6 ranked Coastal Carolina. The 49ers scored 45 or more points in each of their five wins and over 50 points three times.
Charlotte ranked ninth in the FCS in takeaways (31), fifth in fumbles recovered (16), 25th in interceptions (15) and 29th in tackles for loss (6.9/gm). Charlotte averaged 448.5 yards of total offense (20th) and ranked 26th in the FCS in rushing offense (206.8 yd/gm), 27th in scoring offense (33.4 pts/gm) and 11th in fewest sacks allowed (0.91).
Among the 49ers records established in 2013: Most points in a game (61 vs. Morehead State), most yards rushing (439 vs. Morehead State), most yards passing (342 v. NC Central and Gardner-Webb), total offense (586 v. Gardner-Webb). A total of 93,244 fans (11th in FCS) turned out to Jerry Richardson Stadium to catch the six home games (15,541 avg; 10th FCS)