“Today was a good day,” rookie wide receiver Kyle Williams said in the locker room after practice today.
The on-field session had ended with punt returns, and that didn’t go particularly well for Williams and his cohorts as the ball moved and twisted in the breeze. So why was he so jazzed about the day? Three reasons:
1) He got more reps than usual. Several other wide receivers, including Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan and Jason Hill, were delayed getting on the field when they had to submit urine samples for drug tests. That meant rare opportunities for the young receivers.
“As soon as they got out there, I told them I appreciate it, because I was able to actually get some reps in,” Williams said with a smile. “That’s the easiest way to learn the offense, is doing it physically.”
2) He was back in the slot. The first couple days of practice, the 49ers didn’t run a lot of three-receiver sets. So when Williams did get on the field, he was usually at the X or the Z, traditional positions he didn’t play a lot at Arizona State.
Williams: “When I was out wide the past couple of days, it was really learning a whole new route for me. It was like I was a freshman all over again, trying to learn how to do it. But when I got in the slot today, I mean, I’ve been running those exact routes for years. So it was like coming home a little bit. … Real comfortable in there, and I was able to just play football. At that point you let all the other stuff go out the window, the fact that you’re lining up across from whoever, and whoever’s throwing you the ball. It’s just football at that point.”
3) Williams made the most of his opportunity. I saw him miss one Nate Davis pass that wobbled after it was tipped at the line of scrimmage. For the most part, though, he looked decisive and super-quick on short crossing routes – just the type of play he’d be most likely to run for the 49ers out of the slot.