3 com­pet­ing for QB job as 49ers in­stall new of­fense

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Sports - BY DAVID SCOTT [email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

Char­lotte 49ers foot­ball coach Brad Lam­bert said it won’t take long for him to name a start­ing quar­ter­back.

“Two weeks, that’s prob­a­bly our tar­get date,” Lam­bert said Satur­day dur­ing the 49ers’ me­dia day, which was held one day af­ter the 49ers’ first pre­sea­son prac­tice. “We want to see how th­ese guys com­pete and how they learn the sys­tem.”

Three play­ers are com­pet­ing for the start­ing spot - se­nior and re­turn­ing starter Hasaan Klugh, red­shirt fresh­man Chris Reynolds and ju­nior Evan Shirreffs, a trans­fer from Mi­ami.

Which­ever quar­ter­back wins the job, he will be play­ing in a dif­fer­ent sys­tem from last sea­son, when the 49ers went 1-11 and fin­ished at or near the bot­tom of nearly ev­ery of­fen­sive cat­e­gory in Con­fer­ence USA. New of­fen­sive coor­di­na­tor Shane Mont­gomery, com­ing from Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship Sub­di­vi­sion power Youngstown State, has in­stalled an of­fense that will mix a pro style with the spread.

“We’re go­ing to build what we do best around what­ever quar­ter­back wins the job does best,” said Mont­gomery, a for­mer quar­ter­back at N.C. State. “We’ve got ev­ery­thing in the of­fense that you can pos­si­bly imag­ine. We’ve got ev­ery spread imag­in­able and a lot of pro style. If we were run­ning a true spread of­fense, we’d need a run­ning quar­ter­back and that’s not for ev­ery­body. We want to get the ball to a lot of dif­fer­ent peo­ple in a lot of dif- fer­ent ways. We can build around whomever the quar­ter­back is.”

Klugh is the in­cum­bent and started 11 games last sea­son. Not ef­fi­cient as a passer (he com­pleted 48.3 per­cent of his throws), he was dan­ger­ous as a run­ner (342 yards rush­ing and seven touch­downs).

Reynolds had a strong spring prac­tice and was solid in the 49ers’ spring game, com­plet­ing 8-of-11 passes for 73 yards. But he’s never played a down of a true col­lege game.

Shirreffs is the wild card, com­ing to Char­lotte af­ter play­ing as a backup for two sea­sons for the Hur­ri­canes.

At 6-foot-5, Shirreffs - who has two sea­sons of el­i­gi­bil­ity - de­scribes him­self as a pocket passer who is pretty mo­bile.

“I like the of­fense; it’s a big rea­son I came here,” Shirreffs said. “I don’t know if this is re­ally a true pro-style of­fense, but it’s more pro style than most of­fenses in this day and age.”

Mont­gomery has an open mind.

“Those three are the top three guys,” Mont­gomery said. “We’ll try and get those guys as many reps as we can. My thing is to get each one with dif­fer­ent groups, not just the (starters or back­ups) all the time. We want to mix it up with each guy get­ting a shot with the bet­ter play­ers. I like our tal­ent there.”

More QB news: True fresh­man quar­ter­back Brady Pope (South Ire­dell High) will likely red­shirt. ... Brooks Bar­den, a 49ers quar­ter­back from 2014-17 who still had an­other sea­son of el­i­gi­bil­ity left, is still with the pro­gram as a grad­u­ate as­sis­tant ... Sopho­more Joe Thomp­son, who came to Char­lotte as a quar­ter­back, has switched to wide re­ceiver ... Red­shirt fresh­man Wil­lie Green is the son of for­mer Carolina Pan­thers re­ceiver Wil­lie Green Sr. ... Fresh­man Tyler Ratliff is the son of for­mer 49ers as­sis­tant coach Phil Ratliff, who died in 2015 ... Mic Roof, a fresh­man last sea­son, has left the pro­gram.

Banks to NAS­CAR: For­mer 49ers de­fen­sive line­man Bran­don Banks, who spent last sea­son with Wash­ing­ton in the NFL, has been se­lected for NAS­CAR’s Driver For Di­ver­sity pit crew pro­gram.

Kick­ing help? Fresh­man Jonathan Cruz said a 55-yard field goal he kicked last sea­son was a school record at Cartersville (Ga.) High. “Kick­ing is nat­u­ral to me,” he said. “Pres­sure is re­ally noth­ing to me. I can hit from 55 and any­thing in from there. It just de­pends on how I’m feel­ing that day.”

Pads com­ing: The 49ers will prac­tice for the first time in pads Sun­day as they pre­pare for their sea­son opener Sept. 1 against Ford­ham. “It’s been two days in shorts,” new de­fen­sive coor­di­na­tor Glenn Spencer said, an­swer­ing a ques­tion about his early take on the pre­sea­son. “But we can see how we’ve been pick­ing up on as­sign­ments and I’m pleased with our re­ten­tion from the spring.”

TWO WEEKS, THAT’S PROB­A­BLY OUR TAR­GET DATE. WE WANT TO SEE HOW TH­ESE GUYS COM­PETE AND HOW THEY LEARN THE SYS­TEM.

Char­lotte 49ers foot­ball coach Brad Lam­bert said Satur­day about how long it will take to pick a start­ing quar­ter­back

BEN­JAMIN ROB­SON

Quar­ter­back Hasaan Klugh and the Char­lotte 49ers were 1-11 last sea­son.

Hasaan Klugh

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