SANTA CLARA – Vance McDonald spoke with Bay Area reporters Tuesday afternoon. Here’s what he said.
Q: You’ve had two days in pads. How much have you worked on blocking technique?
McDONALD: That’s the big emphasis. You can’t do as much as you want in shells. Getting out here and re-teaching technique and going over specifics now that we have the pads on, it was a big emphasis the last two days. Just a lot of one-on-one focus with the coaches.
Q: How’s that going for you?
McDONALD: It’s going well. It’s been seven, almost eight months now for me since I put the pads on. It’s a long time coming and it felt good.
Q: Do you think blocking ultimately could determine what your role on this team is?
McDONALD: It certainly can raise the bar exponentially. You don’t ever want to have just one role, unless you’re just the best there is in the league. I’d like to be known as 50-50. You can split him out wide and he’s good out wide, or you can put him inside and block.
Q: What are your strengths as a pass catcher?
McDONALD: I would say using my size to lean on guys and create separation rather than beating them with pure speed. In certain schemes that is an option for me but I’ve always enjoyed using my body, especially the last two days with the pads on. They’ve tried to teach me to use arm and hand techniques, and I’m like, “Coach, I just want to run through them. Come on! What are you talking about?!” But that’s all a part of it. I’m going to have to learn that as well here shortly in the next few weeks. I just think I use my size to my advantage.
Q: Do you have a basketball background?
McDONALD: Yes, I loved basketball back in high school. I wish I could have played dual in college, but the coach didn’t want me to spend those precious moments in the offseason playing basketball. But yeah, love the game. Played center.
Q: How does that translate to your football game?
McDONALD: I just say it’s muscle memory. When you’re playing full speed you almost have to work on instinct, so having a basketball background, you go up and get rebounds with your hands and use your body in the paint. That all can be applied to football.
Q: You played center?
McDONALD: Yeah. We were a small 2-A high school. I don’t want to brag too much. But we were pretty good, man.