After a month of three-a-week workouts and scrimmages, the Charlotte 49ers will wrap up their spring football practices Saturday night with the fourth annual Green-White Spring Game.
Game time is 7 p.m. at Richardson Stadium.
Last season, the 49ers’ record was 2-10, 0-8 in their first season in Conference USA. It was Charlotte’s worst finish in three seasons under coach Brad Lambert.
Here are five things to watch in Saturday’s game:
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Starters vs. reserves
It’ll be Charlotte’s first-teamers, on offense and defense, against the reserves. The first-teamers will wear green jerseys; the reserves will be in white.
Lambert also opted to keep the Green-White Game as close to real-game conditions as possible but with variations. They will play four 15-minute quarters but on a running clock. There also will be longer-than-normal breaks between quarters and at halftime.
Who’s the quarterback?
Junior-college transfer Kevin Olsen, younger brother of Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, was chosen Thursday as the team’s starting quarterback for 2016.
But the guy to watch might be White team quarterback Hasaan Klugh, a redshirt sophomore who transferred from N.C. A&T.
Klugh, a Concord native and 2013 Shrine Bowl selection from Central Cabarrus High, is nominally Charlotte’s No. 2 quarterback while 2015 starter Brooks Barden recovers from a broken collarbone.
A solid performance Saturday could set up an interesting battle for the No. 2 job between Klugh and Barden during workouts in August.
Phillips back in backfield
Senior running back Kalif Phillips, second-team All-Conference USA in 2015, returns for his final season and looking to regain his 2014 form after a disappointing finish in 2015.
Phillips, who played at A.L. Brown High in Kannapolis, ran for a school-record 1,436 yards and 20 touchdown in 2014. He was on track for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2015, but an ankle injury against Texas-San Antonio limited his touches the final three weeks (10 yards on four carries), leaving him with 961 yards and five touchdowns.
Now that Phillips has had the offseason to heal, his return should help an offense that ranked near the bottom of the conference last season.
Who’s not playing?
In addition to Barden, four other returning starters will be sidelined as they recover from injuries or offseason surgeries.
Returning starters who won’t dress out:
▪ Nose tackle Larry Ogunjobi, All-Conference USA second-team last season.
▪ Linebacker Nick Cook, the 49ers’ leading tackler in 2015.
▪ Defensive back Terrance Winchester and offensive lineman Jamal Covington.
Whom to watch
▪ Matt Johnson: Redshirt senior making transition from quarterback (he’s the 49ers’ all-time passing leader) to running back.
▪ Austin Duke: Charlotte’s career receiving leader will be asked to shoulder more of the load, adding punt-return duties.
▪ A.J. McDonald: Redshirt freshman is the frontrunner to fill safety slot opened by Branden Dozier’s graduation.