According to Chris Foerster, the 49ers offensive line coach/run game coordinator, Trent Williams is not tipping plays.
Foerster spoke with the media following Friday’s practice in Colorado Springs. Here is what he had to say on the topic.
This year it’s been noted that T Trent Williams’ outside foot has been a tip off for defensive players as to whether it’s a run or a pass. Is there anything to that? Have you kind of seen that at all?
“Yeah, I’ve worked with Trent since 2010, on and off in those years. And Trent is always conscious of it. Yeah, there are times when, not counting third downs and empty back fields where it’s obviously passing situations, we’re always monitoring to see where he is, and he was always working on it. Sometimes you just get in a situation where you start getting your stance, you realize what you need to do to get your job done, demands that you just say, yeah, whatever, I have to get my job done. And other times, there are times where he could be more conscious of it and so it’s a constant battle with every player. Every player could give a tip. Whether it’s Trent with his foot, whether it’s [T] Mike [McGlinchey] with his this, or [OL] Spencer [Burford] with this or the center with this, when he is going to snap the ball, we’re always looking at it. We’re listening to the TV copy; we’re listening to everything. We’re trying to see what the other teams may or may not get on it. If they think it’s a tip, again, we’re working on it, Trent’s working on it, so that’s about all I can say.”
What are traditional, typical tips that offensive linemen often have? Just where they are in their stances?
“It can be anything. Some guys have nervous ticks, like they’re moving their hand and then just before the ball is snapped, they stop it. Forget the tips of an offensive lineman, we had a formation tendency when I was in Baltimore once, where the tight end, if the tight end was off the ball, we had just gotten into a bad habit and every time he was off the ball, he was in protection. Every time he was on the ball, he was releasing on third down and a defensive coordinator, [former NFL defensive coordinator] Vic Fangio actually, every time the tight end was off the ball, they ran a three-man rush and dropped eight, we didn’t have enough guys out in the route, and they gave his fits all day. Every time he was on the ball, he rushed more than we could block just because of where we lined up the tight end, so I think everybody’s got something. Sometimes it’s just as much as the stagger of the feet. It can be where he puts his hands. It can be how he holds his head. It can be the center the way– there’s a million things and that’s why you have to stay vigilant with it. That’s why to say that, oh wow, that’s a surprise. We were always conscious of trying to work through all those things with the guys. At the same time, a guy has to do his job. There’s that constant balance. And I’m always making the point, hey, yeah, I got it for a player, this is good for you in this situation. It’s the same with fundamentals and techniques. This fundamental’s good, if all I have to do is block Jenn, I’m in great shape right here, but if all of a sudden this and this and this happens, I better be doing something different to make sure all those things are taken care of. It’s the same thing with this thing. It may be great for you to be able to block this guy, but with everything else that goes on, maybe it tips off that they change a coverage to know that it’s this, that, or the other thing, so it’s this constant balancing act. So, it’s not as simple as you get in the same stance every play, here we go, four yards and a cloud of dust and throw the ball on third down. It’s not that simple. There’s more to it than that, but it’s also as simple as, hey, you have to make sure there’s balance to it. That’s a long answer, but there’s a lot of questions about it.”
Is it one of those things where he’s so good he can almost tell you what’s coming and it’s hard to beat him regardless of knowing what’s happening on offense?
“I think that’s a great way to look at it. I think he’s like, yeah, coach, but I ain’t going to give that guy anything on me by getting in a stance. And I’m like, I got you Trent, but it’s also, what about McGlinchey on the other side where one guy says to the other guy, Hey, it’s pass and all of a sudden there’s no run keys on the other side, so there’s that balancing act that goes on, but it happens everywhere. It’s not just Mike. It’s not just them. It could be receiver splits; it could be the way the receiver stands. There are a million things the defenses are looking at trying to get a key.”
- Due to overnight snow in Colorado Springs the 49ers moved Friday’s practice to the Air Force Academy’s indoor facility.
- Arik Armstead and Charvarius Ward did not participate in practice on Friday. Armstead continues to work his way back from foot and ankle injuries. He is unlikely to play Monday night. Ward missed practice for the second day in a row due to a personal matter. Kyle Shanahan told the media on Thursday that he expects Ward to be ready to play against Arizona.
- Samson Ebukam returned to practice. The defensive end missed Sunday night’s game and practice on Thursday due to a strained quad and achilles soreness. He was a limited participant.
- Trent Williams, Nick Bosa and Danny Gray all practiced in full on Friday. Gray was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice, while Williams and Bosa each had rest days.