I don't know -- maybe every preseason is like this and I just don't remember clearly. It just seems different. More energy. More optimism. More hope.
The questions revolve around the new guys of course --and that might be the reason for the increased attention. The roster of newcomers includes Shamari Spears and Shamarr Bowden -- and that in and of itself gives fans plenty to talk about. Both have been around the program for a year, so they don't seem like newcomers, but they have yet to play, for real, in a 49ers uniform in Halton Arena.
After so much talk, fans are ready for that show.
But there's more -- so much more. Raves continue to flow for combo guard Derrio Green and first impressions have likewise been strong for forward KJ Sherrill. That's not to mention the top signee in the class, Chris Braswell, a top 60 recruit who has the physical size and strength to make an immediate impact. A fourth player, Gokhan Sirin, has been getting less of the preseason attention, but his particular skill set will be a surprising sight for Niner Nation.
So let's go 5 on 5. DiJuan, Ian, An'Juan, RaShad and Phil (with Dewey and Barnett coming off the bench?) against, say, Derrio, Shamarr, KJ, Braswell and Shamari (with Gokhan as the sixth man?).
Any way you slice it, that's a lot of talent. Athleticism, depth, versatility -- all assets coach Lutz has been known to thrive with. He loves changing up lineups, throwing opponents curve balls and catching them off guard. This roster gives him that ability.
Meanwhile, the 49ers have the opportunity to play various styles. Up tempo, naturally. A power inside game? It's there. Threes? Back with a flourish.
I think that's what's spurring the excitement we've felt at the early season gatherings. So many options. So many possibilities.
Next up are Madness (Oct. 22) and Fan Day (Oct. 24). And soon enough the season will be upon us. And soon enough, we will get to see what we've been waiting for.
Soon enough? I wish it were tomorrow.