Football practice is in full swing with the Spring Game on Saturday
Spring practices have been going on since mid-March and are being topped off by the Spring game this Saturday, April 22. The game allows players the opportunity to gear up and show the fan base what they have been working on over the offseason.
From new coaches, a tough schedule and faces to watch for, here’s some of the things you need to know about the 49er’s upcoming season.
Along with a new recruiting class, the program will welcome two new coaches to the team.
After the conclusion of the 2016 season, coaches Dean Hood and Joe Tereshinski both resigned. With the vacancies, there were switches among the coaching positions that left the offensive line and running backs without a coach.
Greg Adkins will join the 49ers as the offensive line coach. Brad Lambert and Adkins first met in West Virginia when the two worked for Marshall. In total, he has 25 years of coaching experience, including 11 years in the SEC, 12 bowl appearances and four NCAA Championship appearances.
Keith Henry will be supervising the running backs this season. Henry and Lambert got to know each other while they were coaching at Wake Forest. Prior to coming to the Niners, Henry was an assistant coach for three years at his alma mater Catawba College.
In their first season with bowl eligibility, the 49ers were two games away from qualifying for the postseason after going 4-8 and collecting three wins within the conference portion of their schedule.
The lineup for the 2017 season won’t be a cake walk for the 49ers, featuring six teams that appeared in a bowl game last season.
The schedule also marks the first time in the FBS that the 49ers will play the final game of the season at home when they host Lane Kiffin and FAU on Nov. 25.
Who to watch
Hasaan Klugh has put in work during the offseason to return in the fall stronger and faster to solidify his role as a dual threat QB.
In the running game, freshmen Robert Washington and Ben Lemay showed last season that they could step up and replace the legs of Kalif Phillips, who recorded seven games with 100+ all purpose yards.
Washington broke out last year in the contest against Eastern Michigan, recording 120 rushing yards. The freshman ended the season second on the team in rushing, averaging 40 yards a game.
Lemay offers another option for the 49ers after finishing last season fourth in the rushing statistic behind Klugh.
The duo of T.L. Ford, II and Workpeh Kofa will return to the field this fall. The two were second and third, respectively, on the receiving stat line behind senior Austin Duke. Kofa led the team in receiving touchdowns with five last season while Ford II had four to his name.
On the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers return many playmakers.
Linebacker Karrington King will look to eclipse a mark set by Larry Ogunjobi for career tackles. King was second on the team last season in tackles with 73.
Two players, Ben DeLuca and Tyriq Harris, were named to the Conference USA All-Freshmen team after the 2016 season. DeLuca went on to be named a Pro Football Focus Freshman All-American.
DeLuca set a single season record for true freshmen after recording 68 tackles on the season. He also led the team in solo tackles last season with 51.
Harris was third on the team with 6.0 QB hurries and was tied for second after having 2.0 sacks. Harris had six games where he had five or more tackles.