As his Charlotte 49ers get back to work after last week’s bye, coach Brad Lambert has a simple message for his team:
“Let’s finish what we started.”
Through the first seven weeks of their inaugural college football season, the 49ers (4-3) have worked to set in place the principles of what they want their program to be about. They’ve done so while winning – and losing – their share of games in a schedule that has included competition from different levels.
“I think we’ve done a good job of establishing how hard we play,” coach Brad Lambert said. “We’ve done a pretty good job on penalties, our turnover margin is on the plus side. Now we just want to represent this university in the right way as we go forward. We’re going to play hard going down the stretch. So let’s finish what we started.”
Next up is a game at the Big South’s Charleston Southern (7-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday, the 49ers’ first action since losing to Division II UNC Pembroke 45-22 on Oct. 12.
The 49ers played seven consecutive weeks before getting the first of two bye weeks this season. They have games the next three weeks – also at Coastal Carolina on Nov. 2 and home to Division III Wesley (Del.) on Nov. 9 – before taking another week off and finishing the season at Morehead State.
“We’ve been going since July 1, and we’ve been on point,” Lambert said. “But we needed some time off. Now it’s time to get ready for this end stretch.”
The 49ers practiced three times last week before taking the weekend off, then worked on conditioning Monday. Tuesday was their first practice in preparation for the Buccaneers, who have spent time in the Football Championship Subdivision’s Top 25 this season.
“It’s going to be good to get our legs back,” 49ers offensive tackle Danny Book said. “The break helped us a lot, but it didn’t undo anything for us. We’ve just got to stay consistent.”
• Charleston Southern’s 43-10 loss at Colorado last Saturday was the Buccaneers’ first and only defeat of the season. The Oct. 19 date was originally a bye for both teams, but the Buffaloes were looking for a game after their Sept. 14 contest against Fresno State was canceled due to historic flooding in Boulder. Colorado paid Charleston Southern $400,000 plus travel expenses to play.
• The 49ers are 2-0 against Big South teams – beating Presbyterian 45-21 and Gardner-Webb 53-51, with unbeaten and third-ranked Coastal Carolina still to come after Charleston Southern.
• Saturday’s game will be a homecoming of sorts for 49ers redshirt freshman H-back Justin Bolus, who is from the Charleston suburb of Folly Beach, S.C. Bolus said his mom has come up with 40 tickets for friends, family, former coaches and teammates.
• Bolus said he’s friends with several Charleston Southern players, including quarterback Daniel Croghan, who played at Charleston’s Bishop England High. Croghan missed last week’s game at Colorado with a concussion, but has been cleared to play against the 49ers. The Bucs were down to third-string quarterback Kyle Copeland against the Buffaloes with Croghan and senior starter Malcolm Dixon, who injured his knee in a victory against Appalachian State, out. Coach Jamey Chadwell hasn’t announced who will start Saturday.
• Lambert said he expects center Thomas La Bianca to return Saturday. La Bianca injured his knee against Gardner-Webb three weeks ago and didn’t play against UNC Pembroke. Junior linebacker Tyler DeStefani, who broke his hand in the preseason, might also play for the first time.
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