THE FINAL 49:
We take a moment during each of the Final 49 weeks until Kickoff 2013 to look at various aspects of the Charlotte 49ers football program.
May 19, 2013
By Tom Whitestone
Saturday morning, head coach Brad Lambert and the bulk of his staff were back out on the stadium field running players through drills.
It was not an additional chance to get extra practice time in for the 49ers.
The 49ers were hosting a free youth clinic in conjunction with the Belk Bowl and NCAA football.
This was the third year that Lambert and his staff have participated in the clinic, but the first that the event could be held on the stadium turf, which was completed in October.
The previous two years it was held on the campus recreational fields off John Kirk Drive. This year it was held in the center of the university's CRI campus, just beyond the baseball stadium. It was yet another opportunity for the 49ers to connect with the community and attract additional people to a key section of campus.
Several of the campers, and the parents that brought them, had been to the stadium for the Spring Game. Several had not.
So the cameras were out in force, once again, unlike the previous two clinics at the recreational fields. When the entire group of campers came together at midfield for a large team photo, staffers took the photo from the back of one of their equipment-carrying ATV's.
Lambert then asked that the ATV be moved, so that parents in the stadium seats could get a good, unobstructed picture as well.
Then the fun began.
The crew was broken into age groups and circled through stations: throwing, tackling, running, footwork. Coaches pushed them to complete the drills correctly, to concentrate on details, and to not take shortcuts.
There was plenty of conditionning, plenty of water breaks and plenty of attaboys.
Along the way, the 49ers made more friends and more fans, the university opened more eyes and both the program and the school got just a little bit stronger.
Who knows when the 49ers will play in their first bowl game. Regardless, the 49ers have a already found a bowl partner. One that comes with a lot of kids' smiling faces -- and a greater appreciation for the program that is growing in their own backyard.
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