THE FINAL 49:
During the final 49 weeks until Kickoff 2013, we will take a moment each week to look at various aspects of the football program.
Apr. 7, 2013
By Tom Whitestone
Beneath the specter of the newly installed scoreboard, spring practice began again, with a little extra bounce, this week.
Under a brilliant sky that finally announced the season's arrival -- every thing about the practice cried "Spring!"
Due to the scoreboard installation, the 49ers were unable to practice Monday through Thursday of last week. They were able to hit the weight room before scoreboard work began each of those days -- meaning early morning workouts -- but they weren't able to practice in the afternoons.
So on Friday, they were able to get back at it. Which is kind of what spring is all about.
It's the season of renewed energy, of coming back to life -- of shaking off winter's cold and dark and breaking free into the sunshine.
Friday's practice felt like spring.
The coaches were animated, the players active and you could feel the team come alive, again.
"Make it happen," coaches encouraged.
"Drive. Drive. Drive."
Down time didn't exist.
After several days away from the field, practice was stuffed full of action.
Players bounced from drill to drill. Coaches pushed them to race into postion.
"Be engaged - ready to work."
The time to shake off rust - gone. The time to slowly emerge from a mid-winter's nap - over. Now was time for action, activity, energy.
And the team rarely stopped moving.
The practice was efficient and productive. Players hustled in and out of the lineup.
The repetitions of hitting, throwing, running routes, cutting, footwork were much of the same -- but the energy poured forth like the sun that finally burst on the stadium.
Thursday, sleet pounded the seats. Rain and chill.
Friday, was spring.
You could feel it in the air. You could see it in the effort. And as you looked up, you were reminded of what this spring, in particular, will lead to.
A huge crane was on the grounds all week, putting the final touch -- the video scoreboard -- atop the Rose Center in the south end zone of the stadium.
That video board will come alive in the fall. The stadium will be packed and cheers and chants will bound from every angle of the stadium.
And the energy you feel will radiate upward from the field.
Just like it's doing today.
Spring is here.
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