SANTA CLARA – Second-year guard Brandon Thomas spoke in the 49ers’ auditorium Tuesday afternoon. Here are selected quotes.
Q: How did it feel to play football after not playing for a year?
THOMAS: It felt really good. It’s been a long time coming. I was excited to get back out there and show what I could actually do. It just felt good. The first hit kind of took me into the game, and then I was like, “OK, I can do this.”
Q: You played on the left side in college. Now you’re playing right guard mostly. What has the progression been like?
THOMAS: It’s basically the same thing, just opposite techniques – that’s how you have to look at it. Playing offensive line, you’ve got to know both sides, every position. That’s how you have to look at it. You have to know all of the techniques.
Q: How do you feel physically?
THOMAS: I feel good. I feel real good.
Q: Did you feel that way through the offseason program and the early part of training camp? Could you tell that it wasn’t all there and it was going to take a while to get back into shape?
THOMAS: All summer I worked with the strength staff. We knew it was going to be a process. Early on, everyone could tell I was playing straight-legged. I needed to work on changing direction. But as time moved on I felt like I got better. It’s still a long way to go, but I feel like I’ve gotten better in the process. You have to understand the process, and I think we all understand it.
Q: What there a point in camp where you felt like this is working, this is coming back?
THOMAS: In OTAs I felt like it was coming back. It was just going to take some time.
Q: You played straight-legged because your legs were underdeveloped from having dealt with the knee injury, or you were subconsciously trying to protect your knee?
THOMAS: I’m not sure what it was. I just know it was probably a comfort thing – getting back in the stance, staying in the stance the whole time, bending at the waist and playing that low again.
Q: You talked about the process, but at this point in your mind do you feel you’re competing for a starting job?
THOMAS: I feel like everybody is competing for a starting job. This is the NFL. It’s training camp. Everybody wants to play. Everybody wants to make the 53.
Q: Was there one play Saturday night you’re particularly proud of?
THOMAS: I can’t recall one play, but I know a couple plays I was proud of, a couple pass sets I was happy with. I saw the game they were bringing and I was pretty proud of it. A couple run plays that we had, the combination blocks looked pretty good.
Q: There was one where the linebacker was coming up the middle and you redirected him in the interior. Do you remember that?
THOMAS: I do remember that play. The linebacker was coming in the A-gap, it was a five-man rotation and I redirected him across the line.
Q: Was that intentional to get that lane open? Did you know where the runner was going?
THOMAS: I was keying the guy the whole time. That’s just part of our blocking scheme.
Q: Have you done much work at tackle this offseason.
THOMAS: It’s been primarily guard, but if they want me to play tackle I could.