Boone confident he’ll catch up by start of training camp

Niners offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye has a little rule about his playbook. Basically, the book is not allowed to leave the building at 4949 Centennial Boulevard – for fear it might fall into the wrong hands.

So while undrafted rookie offensive tackle Alex Boone was ineligible to take part in the 49ers’ offseason program for most of the spring because Ohio State had not yet held its graduation ceremonies, there was not much Boone could do to remain in the loop.


It was OK for Boone to attend the post-draft minicamp in early May. He learned a little at that time and took some notes. But when he was finally able to rejoin his new 49ers teammates last week, he was far behind.


“We’re not allowed to take our playbooks home with us,” Boone said. “I wanted to do that so badly because I knew I’d be behind. I tried to write down as much as I could. When I got back out here, they had installed another 200 plays. I’m like, ‘What’s going on?'”


Boone (6-foot-7, 328 pounds) and running back Kory Sheets were the team’s top signings among the players who went undrafted. He was a left tackle at Ohio State his final three seasons of school, but he is moving to the right side with the 49ers.


With a solid showing in training camp, Boone has a legitimate chance to earn a roster spot. He plans to remain in the South Bay and work at the 49ers’ practice facility for most of the time before training camp. That should enable him to catch up on everything he has missed, he believes.


“I’ll be here all of July,” he said. “That will help. I’ll catch up. Talking to coaches and players every day is really going to help me out.”


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In addition to learning the offense, Boone is also re-learning to play right tackle. He played the past left tackle for the Buckeyes the past three seasons.


“I feel I’m a natural lefty, kicking to the left side,” Boone said. “But I’m working on right tackle. It’s coming back to me. It’s going to take some work.”


At the same time, Boone said he completely understands why he is lining up on the right side.


“I was talking to coach, he likes that I’m physical and I’m good with the run game,” Boone said. “I understand that. The truth is, as long as I’m playing, I’ll be happy. If they need a right tackle, I’ll play right tackle. If they need a wide receiver, I’ll play flanker.”


The 49ers wrapped up organized team activities on Tuesday. Boone saw his most extensive time in 11-on-11 drills, as he worked with the second unit at right tackle. (Adam Snyder lined up with the first team all offseason, as the 49ers have held out Marvel Smith from 11-on-11 action. Smith and Snyder are expected to compete for the starting job in training camp.)


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Q: Did you ever question going to Ohio State because of the late start you’d be getting with your professional career?

Boone: “No, you can’t do that. If you’re not going to go to a school because you get out late, that would be kind of weird. That’s one of the disadvantages that we have. Coaches have always told me that. I really didn’t think much about it, but then I got out here and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m way behind.’ It’s kind of different catching up, but at the same time it’s coming along smoothly.”


Q: How did you cope when you got back here?

Boone: “The whole offense is pretty much installed. I get out there and I listen to the calls. I know most of the calls. Once I hear the call, I can figure out what’s going on. It’s not that bad, but sometimes you have to know whether it’s zone or gap or 3-step or 5-step (quarterback drops). It’s kind of tedious to catch up on it.

“It felt good to get out there. I had to ask the guard what kind of play this is. There are so many that sound alike that I get a little confused. I’d look over at Jacob Bender and ask, ‘Is this a 3-step or 5-step?’ That was about. I made it hard on him because he has to listen to the center call and help me a lot. I appreciate all the help he gave me.”


Q: Could they send you video of installation or the practices that you missed?

Boone: “No, because what if somebody gets his hands on that – if somebody takes it from the mail or whatever.”


Q: Don’t you trust your postman?

Boone: “(Laughing) My postman is cool. We talk every day.”


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Training camp is scheduled to begin July 30, which is the earliest under NFL rules the 49ers can open – 15 days prior to the team’s first exhibition game.


Just as in the past, the 49ers plan to have dates open to the general public to view practices at the team’s training facility in Santa Clara. However, expect fewer opportunities to witness 49ers practices than in the past.


Last summer, the 49ers had 10 practices open to the public. The team has not finalized the number of practices that will be open this year, but one educated guess is that the club will have six practices open over the first two weekends of camp.


The reason the club is likely to scale back the number of practices open to the public is because of the ongoing construction project to expand the locker room and build a new dining area for the team.


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