SANTA CLARA – After practice, the 49ers P.R. staff invited the media out to the field to interview a few players. Most Niners were already in the locker room, but sixth round pick Jason Slowey stayed out on the field with Joe Looney and Colin Kaepernick to do some extra work. Slowey lined up at center, Looney lined up at right guard and Kaepernick took about 20 snaps from Slowey, rehearsing drops and pantomiming handoffs.
Briefly after they finished, Slowey discussed with reporters his transition from left tackle to center, from Division II to the NFL, and which transition has been more difficult for him. Here’s a transcript.
Q: Are you mainly playing guard now?
SLOWEY: I’m playing more center, just want to get it down. I’m doing all the inside stuff, just trying to be ready anywhere they want me in the inside.
Q: How’s the transition?
SLOWEY: It’s pretty good. I got the center down pretty good now. I’m having a blast and learning a lot.
Q: Have you ever played center before?
SLOWEY: I’ve never played center before I got here. I was a left tackle in college – I could be a little smaller there because it was a Division II – and in high school I was a guard. It’s a little tough picking up the snapping, but I’m enjoying it.
Q: Is the toughest part doing the shotgun snap?
SLOWEY: It is tough – keeping the ball on a straight path and stuff like that. Every day we’re getting better and that’s the plan.
Q: Is the idea for you to be able to play all the inside positions?
SLOWEY: Yeah, exactly. They put at center first because when you learn center you also learn some of the guard, and that’s the hardest position to learn. They want me to be able to play all three inside positions. That’s the plan.
Q: Coming from a Division II school, is the jump in competition as dramatic as you expected?
SLOWEY: It’s a transition. I don’t think it’s as bad as I thought it would be. Football is football to a certain extent. I think the biggest transition hasn’t been the change from Division II to the NFL; it’s been the change from tackle to center. I’m a pretty fast player. The speed is faster here, but it’s not as tough for me to adjust to the speed and the physicalness, it’s been the position itself.
Q: You’re known for your gym prowess. How do you stack up with these players?
SLOWEY: I’m a pretty strong guy, but I’m no Justin Smith or Ray McDonald, I’ll tell you that right now. Those are guys I look up to and gauge myself for where I should be. It’s hard work, but I think I’m a pretty strong guy for a rookie.