The Charlotte 49ers football team opened its first spring practice season, Monday, on a day that looked more like fall than spring, what with the rain and cool temps. 

After 15 minutes of stretching and sprints, the team went about its 12 periods of five-minute segments on the stadium turf.  The practice lasted just over an hour and included position drills as well as offense-defense matchups.

"I thought our tempo was really, really good," said head coach Brad Lambert.  "We're trying to play fast and when we went against each other offense and defense I thought the kids did a nice job handling the pace.  They did a good job of playing fast and practicing hard - which is what we are looking for."

With spring practice underway, the intensity has been racheted up a notch.  Practicing with the inaugural game in sight, the 49ers have moved passed the phase of laying the foundation and into the phase of game day preparation.

"We want to execute and we've got to learn to do that at a fast pace -- that takes a lot of work," Lambert added "Just because you want to play fast doesn't mean you can allow your execution to suffer -- we want to learn to execute at a fast pace.  We've got to execute in all three phases of the game."

The climate at practice added to the intensity.  Cool temperatures at the start of practice fell throughout the late afternoon and by the time the position drills were complete, the slight rain had become steady.  The only reason to be out on the field was to get better.

"Our guys, they have the mentality of 'hey this is the day we've got -- let's go attack today and get something done'.  It doesn't matter what the weather is.  Don't worry about the elements, just come out here and get our work done."

With a productive practice, characterized by high energy and fast pace, the 49ers took their first step of the spring.

Spring practice will culminate with the 49ers first Spring Game, to be held Saturday, April 20 at 1 pm.  Charlotte's inaugural season will come this gall, with the first game slated for Aug. 31 vs. Campbell.