SANTA CLARA –
Backup tackle Alex Boone spoke this afternoon. Boone is hands-down the most talkative offensive lineman on the team, so we asked him questions on a variety of topics.
He starts by discussing his own progress, then he moves on to Justin Smith’s chop-to-bull rush, then Aldon Smith, then last Friday’s game against New Orleans.
Q: Last time we talked to you we discussed you becoming the backup swing tackle. Have you taken steps to solidify that job?
BOONE: I think so. I think after that first game’s performance I showed that I can play the left side and back up Joe (Staley). I’m trying to get some more right-side reps.
Q: You got a lot of right-side reps yesterday in practice. Did it feel weird?
BOONE: At first it did. My muscle memory was a little messed up, but it felt better today.
Q: Do you think there’s any chance that you could start on the right side?
BOONE: I don’t know. I just know that right now they’ve got me playing left and right, and whatever the coaches think is how we’re going to roll.
Q: Harbaugh and Roman have said that the five best offensive lineman are going to start. Do you think you’re among the five best?
BOONE: I’d like to. Obviously I’ve got to take great strides to get there. Just keep working, keep practicing, focusing, dialing in. These three hours practices are long and you’ve got to be there for every minute of it. At the end of the camp, I guess you would hope to be one of the best five.
Q: Are you a part of the jumbo package?
BOONE: Yeah, the beast.
Q: You haven’t done that in the past, have you?
BOONE: No. But it’s all the same blocking assignments. I told them I wanted to go on some deep routes, but I think right now we’re just going to keep it to blocking until I can really solidify the hands (laughs).
Q: I’d like to see you against a 5’10” 180 pound cornerback.
BOONE: I would too, you know? I would bust him up. I would.
Q: How have you improved from last year?
BOONE: I just feel more confident out there. That’s one of the things you get from playing with guys like Justin (Smith) and Ray (McDonald) and guys like that. It’s funny, you practice against a guy like Justin all week, and then you go out in the game against another defensive end who’s a hundred pounds smaller. It’s completely different. You don’t have to worry about speed-to-bull, or bull-to-speed, you just have to worry about one thing, and that’s speed. That’s the one thing I love about being here is you get to practice against the most elite guys. So when you get into a game, that’s kind of easy for me.
Q: What is his move?
BOONE: Everything. People think that Justin’s more of a power rusher. He actually has a lot of speed, and when he wants to hit the jets, you’d better be ready for it. He’s very famous for the chop-to-bull, which kills everybody. Once you set your hands on him you’ve got to be very firm with him, as opposed to another defensive end where you just kind of put your hands on him. It’s not as hard, because Justin’s 300 pounds.
Q: What’s the chop-to-bull?
BOONE: The chop-to-bull is when he chops your arm and then he throws his shoulder into you. You shoot your hands, and he’ll chop your hands, you tend to lean forward, and then he bulls you back. If you watch the film he’s get everybody with it. It’s pretty impressive. You know it’s coming but he still gets you on it somehow. It’s unbelievable.
Q: Does anybody else in the league do that?
BOONE: I’ve never really seen anybody do it as well as Justin, and it’s funny because now most of our guys do it because they see how good it is, but when you can be effective with it it’s pretty amazing how good it is. A lot of guys chop, but they never chop-to-bull like Justin can.
Q: With Aldon Smith, he seems like a speed guy, but he’s very effective with the inside club move. Did that surprise you?
BOONE: A little bit, because when you see him with a sweatshirt on he doesn’t look very big, but when he gets out on the field he looks pretty big. So, I think we all expected that he would be more of a speed guy, a Manny-Lawson type, but then he gets out there and he hits you with the bull rush and you’re pretty stunned at how strong he really is. He conceals it pretty well.
Q: Did the second-team offensive line see as many blitzes against New Orleans?
BOONE: We got blitzed every play. It was unbelievable, and that was the one thing I don’t think were really expecting. We had talked that they might blitz, be prepared but it, but then to blitz every down was pretty impressive.
Q: Did you make adjustments?
BOONE: You have to make adjustments, especially when they’re throwing that much stuff at you, you have to be ready for it. We kind of went in saying this is what we’re going to do, if they do this we’ll change to this. When then, all of a sudden we had to go to, alright, now this is what they’re doing, now we need to do this more.
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