Thursday, August 1, 2013

Observations from Charlotte 49ers' first football practice

Observations from the 49ers' first day of football practice Thursday:

-- Practice began precisely at 7 a.m. under gray skies. The weather stayed relatively un-hot until the practice ended at 8:45 a.m., when the team's true freshmen left to attend an orientation session. The upperclassmen stayed behind for several minutes to finish working on other drills.

-- Most of the practice -- which was without pads -- focused on conditioning and fundamentals. There was a five-on-five passing drill midway through the session. Best catch of the day probably was by Austin Duke, who went up high over the middle to snag a pass from Matt Johnson.

-- From appearances, the most intense group appeared to be the offensive linemen, who received plenty of loud encouragement (and constructive criticism) from coach Phil Ratliff.

-- Two of the team's most recent additions were there: junior college transfer tight end Dmarjai Devine and returner/receiver Emmitt Afam.

-- A few quotes from coach Brad Lambert:

"I really liked the energy and the effort. We looked good. I liked seeing the new guys come in, that makes it kind of a fun day for us, like Dmarjai, (defensive end) Devon (Johnson), (linebacker) Mark  Hogan, getting them involved. Seeing (freshman) Justin Bridges-Thompson running around."

"We see the light at the end of the tunnel now. We're getting ready for something. The guys know it and they're focused."

"I've said all along, since the calendar turned to '13, we're on a normal schedule. But it's nice to have August practice. Now it's for real. We're like everybody else."

"We're way ahead (of schedule). We're in good shape. (Strength coach Jim) Durning did a good job with them this summer in the weight room preparing them."

"The big issue for us is what's enough and what's too much. We've got to get them to the 31st, so our focus is keeping guys healthy. That's what I worry about most."

--The last guys to leave were  Duke, who had did some extra conditioning with position coach Joe Tereshinski, and backup quarterback Patrick O'Brien, who threw to receivers Darius Smalls and E.J. Rhinehart. Ratliff also ran a few laps around the practice field.

-- Not only are the 49ers using a JUGS football passing machine, but they also have one that whips tennis balls at them, which is excellent for hand-eye coordination and all that goes with that. The football team is sharing the machine with the tennis teams.

-- There were a surprisingly few number of fans at the practice, which was open to the public. That might have had something to do with the early start time. The 49ers practice again at 7 a.m. Friday (also open to the public) and at 9 a.m. Saturday (closed).


49RFBN said...

David, is Afam able to play this year or does he have to sit out one year?

Anonymous said...

Afam can play this year, yes.
David S.

Anonymous said...

"There were a surprisingly few number of fans at the practice"

Where can fans find a practice schedule? 7:00 am on a workday wouldn't normally bring a large crowd.

Anonymous said...

Does the UNCC sports information office have you on the payroll yet Scott? Let's hear about some ACC/SEC football. No one cares about this fledgling team.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, David, what this newspaper really doesn't have enough of are articles about the ACC! How dare you write about the hometown team and put it in a blog that can be linked to from the front page of the website for approximately 2 hours and probably never appear in print! We need more ACC articles that already comprise 75% of all college sports news and will actually make it into the printed paper! Oh yeah, and of course don't forget about the SEC, which doesn't have a single team in NC! That's what a Charlotte newspaper should be reporting on, not a Charlotte team!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

3:05 PM

You are in the Charlotte 49ers Blog. Go somewhere else for other information. By the way, this is the Charlotte Observer, no ACC or SEC hometown teams here.

NinerLove said...

Pumped for football IN CHARLOTTE!!

If you have your team, then great.
If not and live in the Charlotte area, the 49ers are NOW YOUR TEAM!

Go Niners!

Anonymous said...

@3:05 pm

Wfnz radio for you. Idiot!

Anonymous said...

3:05 and 3:25 are trolls!


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Great coverage David. Don't listen to the haters. Go Niners!!

Anonymous said...

The idiot asking for acc stories needs to read one of the numerous daily articles on the tarheels. and he can read those articles in print too. Does unc-chapel hill pay the Observer to be pimped?

HeepsterMac said...

Actually Anon 3:25 isn't a troll. He was sarcastically responding to Anon 3:05.

Anonymous said...

When can we get an actual updated roster that includes this year's freshmen?

Anonymous said...

Great coverage, David! I'm glad to hear the guys are pumped up. Sounds like the assistant coaches are doing a good job.

It's awesome to finally have a team that's in the media during football season.

Can't wait until August 31!

Unknown said...

Man I'm so excited for August 31. I've been waiting on this day ever since I first stepped on campus August 2000. And now it here.

GO 49ers!!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, thank you, HeepsterMac. I was afraid my obvious sarcasm (3:25) wasn't obvious enough. It's fairly ludicrous to think that it makes more sense to have even more ACC articles than there already are. Nobody should have reason to complain about this silly little blog when it's all we get most of the time. Sorry to anyone who thought I was actually being for real! Despite my usual complaints, this was a nice summary of the practice. I love hearing how hard of a worker Duke is, being one of the last to leave! 8/31, get here soon!

Julius Peppers said...

AFAM is a gud mager. It payed off gud 4 me.