49ers running back Raheem Mostert riding best wave of career slide image

MIAMI — Raheem Mostert glides.

Most running backs dart around the field with short, choppy steps — think Barry Sanders, starting and stopping and starting again. Raheem Mostert doesn’t dart. He drifts at high speeds, like a surfer who cruises along a high-powered wave.

Mostert is a surfer at heart. He grew up in New Smyrna Beach, Florida — 250 miles north of Miami — and learned to surf before he learned to play running back.

“He’s got such a unique stride to him,” fullback Kyle Juszczyk said. “It’s just so smooth, something that I would picture a guy who’s good in the water would move like. He’s very deliberate. Doesn’t hesitate. He gets the ball, hits the hole and hits it fast. That’s what I love about blocking for him. He’ll never hesitate, so I really don’t have to hold my block as long as I would for a slower guy that is indecisive back there.”

Before a play starts, Mostert stands in the backfield and surveys the line of scrimmage the way he would survey the ocean for waves. “I see guys working hard and doing their part in order for the run game to open up,” Mostert said. “Then I find a hole and hit it, just like I would on a surfboard when I find that wave and ride it.”

What does Mostert think when he hits the hole?

“I’m thinking about scoring every time,” he said.

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This article has 46 Comments

    * It’s being reported that running back Tevin Coleman returned to practice Wednesday.
    Doesn’t say if it’s NO contact.
    * Dee Ford is off injury report

        1. I would rather Mostart get more carries… its the superbowl.
          I would rather Wilson get more carries…
          and yes, even if it was between Breida and Coleman I would rather Breida run the ball.

      1. I said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t want Breida carrying the football unless it’s an emergency. He’s not running with patience, plus he’s not carrying the football high and tight. Way too loosey goosey with the football. Let him gun on special teams and assist corralling Mercole….

        1. I’d be shocked if Brieda gets any substantial carries. Super Bowl is not the time for someone to regain confidence and brush up their ball carrying abilities.

        2. Its really weird, the vast majority of the 49ers team has thrived under the pressure and gotten better as the season has progressed and stakes raised. That is a great indicator of the mettle of the players as well as the quality coaching and leadership in the building. But there are a handful of guys that have wilted under the pressure – Breida, Pettis and Witherspoon in particular. With Breida it might just be a bad period of low confidence after a few mistakes, and maybe next year he’s fine (though I wouldn’t trust him in this game), but the other two I don’t trust at all moving forward. End of the day you need guys that rise to the occasion if you have visions of winning big games.

          1. Spoon has made a couple of good plays already on special teams. As a DB, he has to figure out a solution in the offseason to his problem of his technique lapsing in pressure situations.

  2. 2 thoughts:

    The surfer analogy may be corny but I think it’s valid. The skill set required to read sets of waves and pick the best spot to catch a good ride seems transferable to RB. A RB must read waves of defenders and pick the best spot to catch a good ride. Mostert is blazing fast but the skill that has impressed me most has been his vision. Mostert is the 49ers fastest RB but not by much. Mostert and Coleman run the same plays and Coleman ends up in traffic quickly but Mostert finds gigantic holes. That has nothing to do with the speed variance between the 2 RBs. Thats all vision.

    I’m hopeful the 49ers still use Mostert as the gunner on special teams. I don’t want them to rest him on S/Ts because he’s carrying the ball more than normal on offense. IMO a key to this game will be stopping Mecole Hardman in the return game. That guys is absolutely electric. The Chiefs aren’t the best in the league in returns but Hardman can take any kick to the house. Key will be Wishnowsky getting exceptional hang time and our Gunners getting downfield fast. I’m looking for Wishnowsky to average at least 4.75s in hang time in this game. He seems like he’s had a tired leg lately so hopefully the 2 weeks off has allowed him to recuperate.

    1. From an old surf dawg, reading the swell, tide, and rips is done from the beach.
      The lineups for the spot to catch the wave become obvious from the water. That info lets you anticipate and take the correct drop.
      When you drop in is when the speedy reactions and improv kick in. That’s the part to me that equates to RBs vision and reacting to blocks on the fly. Happens very fast. The improv is that every wave is unique, you have to adapt in the moment. If you catch 12 waves in an hour, you’ll get 12 distinct rides.
      The threat of Mostert’s speed causes defenders to over pursue and allows for cut back lanes.

    1. Previous years of Breeland I really would, but he has been pretty good this year.

      I expect the 49ers will attack the middle of the field more so than the edges. Hardly a hot take of course – that is usually what the 49ers do. But in this game it also happens to be a case of the 49ers are best over the middle and that is where the Chiefs have struggled the most to defend.

      1. I’m thinking of third and long where the Chiefs may have bracketed/double covered Kittle and perhaps, also Samuel.

  3. Man, this is Super Bowl week but this blog is dead as doornail. Maybe the regulars followed Grant to South Beach or have already begun the party. I’ll make an effort here:

    When I read the predictions and analyses for the game, nobody appears to be talking about the importance of the players’ mental state going into the game. Or the importance of the execution of the special teams. Or the importance of coaches being in tune with their players and pushing the right buttons for each player going into the biggest game of their lives. Also important are the in-game personnel decisions that the coaches make based on a player’s confidence level and performance.

    These are valuable lessons that the Niners learned earlier in the decade. In the NFC championship game against the Giants in 2012, special teams coach and assistant HC Brad Seely had to replace Ginn with Kyle Willams for punt returns after Ginn missed the game due to injury, IIRC. Williams fumbled an early punt but was able to recover. Williams also fumbled a catch and turned it over in the first half, IIRC. Harbaugh nor Seely seemed to recognize that Williams’ confidence was shot. Finally at the end of the game, Williams fumbled again deep in the Niners half and turned the ball over. Giants a kicked a field goal, won, and went on to win the Super Bowl. Game, set, match.

    In the next season when the Niners went to the Super Bowl, they were uptight, too highly wound up, and over-amped after squeaking through a championship game against the Falcons. Donte Whitner has said multiple times how he regrets not being mentally prepared and not playing at their best. Then there was the Culliver interview. Harbaugh’s hyper-enthusiastic rah-rah style ran into a brick wall against his brother’s cooler and more collected player management approach.

    On Sunday, Niners pass rush will pressure Mahomes who will still throw for multiple TDs. But the game will probably come down to one or two overlooked players making a big play or two, or a couple of glaring mistakes (e.g., Dee Ford’s NZI in the Chiefs-Pats game last playoffs).

    I like to think that the Niners’ players are in a better mentally-prepared state than the Chiefs. Their performance in the first two games shows that they may have played the toughest post-season-level in the “second season” (second half of regular season).

    1. Great points Mood.

      I recall in the 2012 season feeling like the team under Harbaugh was very nervous and tense heading into the big games. Not confident and relaxed. And they played like it. I think that was very much a reflection of their coach, who also seemed nervous and tense.

      This year the team has seemed ultra calm and confident. Not over-confident, or fake confident, just a strong sense of belief in themselves and their teammates. And very much a mood of being excited to play in the big games rather than nervous. That is the type of mentality you need to play at your best in pressure games. It is a very different feel to this team than the 2012 team.

      I’m not sure how that compares to the Chiefs tbh – I haven’t really followed that side of things on their end. For all I know they might have the same feel to them.

      1. From what I’ve heard all year,the players have the utmost confidence and belief in Shanny that he will call the game to win it.
        Defensive players are heard on sound bites calling Shanny a “wizard”.
        I hate repeating this, but this year and this team feels like a team of destiny. I’m confident but not gonna lie, I might need therapy if the Niners lose.

        1. I might need therapy if the Niners lose.

          Would hurt….but I just believe we are going to win…….if we lose, the team is set up for future playoff appearances….

          1. Yeah because that one trick pony QB last time we had in the SB blew it.
            Took many years to recover from that.
            He was a joke just like you!

      2. Thanks, Scooter.

        The Niners veterans seem to have played an important part in getting the young players mentally ready.

        I’d think that the Chiefs would also be in a good place with the experience they have in winning over the last few seasons, if not playoff experience.

    2. Man, this is Super Bowl week but this blog is dead as doornail.

      Mood, I’m guessing PDs ill advised spam filter is driving away those who’d normally be posting. I had to jump through hoops this morning to post.

  4. I do believe the Niners are going to play their best game of the season and make it look easy 38 -24. With a victory a new dynasty is born, some just don’t know it yet.

  5. The calm before the storm.
    I wonder if Grant and Rib can connect up before the game.
    On defense, the Niners will probably play some dime, because the Chiefs will bunch 3 and put Kelce on the other side. I wonder if they will play Marcell Harris. TKB on KNBR think they will use Tarvarius Moore. Moore is faster, but they may want Harris for his run defense. I really expect Reid to force the Niners into the nickle or dime, then run the ball.
    I guess the Chiefs will make Witherspoon play against them with their 3 WR sets, and wonder if they will target him relentlessly.
    Bosa and Ford are critical for the Niners to succeed. If they can contain Mahomes, and get a pass rush on him, the Niners may dominate.

    1. Seb, Grants here to work, I’m here to party! What part of town are you staying in Grant? (As a first timer here, like I’d know if that was anywhere near me… lol)

      Wife and I connected with 49Reasons recommendation for Larios on the Beach, Gloria Estefan’s place. Great for taking in the scene/circus on Ocean Drive. Considering a celebrity owned place, Food was pretty darn good, mojitos even better. Going by the worn merch, Chiefs fans look to outnumber Niners fans so far. Those corn fed midwesterners definitely out pound for pound Niners fans.

      1. Guess I do not want him walking alone at night.
        Maybe he can get you some media access, behind the scenes.
        Do not worry about The Chiefs fans. They only have Football ( and the Royals) back there. They also only need to travel half as far.
        Hope you have a memorable time, and I expect you to write about your experiences. The Quest for 6 may be fulfilled, and it feels great, Baby!

        1. Guess I do not want him walking alone at night.

          Seb, even though I’m 6’4” 210, I doubt I’d be much good as Grants bodyguard against any criminales determinados

  6. One of the most common manifestations of obsessive-compulsive disorder is the need for reassurance. In the lead-up to the game Sunday, you see it repeatedly on this blog: 49er fans constantly seeking support for their belief that the Niners somehow can and will win against a historic, once-in-a-lifetime QB and the unprecedented offense he commands. Please, do yourselves a favor. Give it a rest. It’s not going to happen against Mahomes and Reid this Sunday. Reid, Mahomes and the Chiefs have a date with destiny. Chiefs 42-Niners 28.

    1. Naw, the Niners are confident while you are desperately trolling, trying to convince yourself that the Chiefs have a chance. You certainly are not going to convince any Niner fans about your fantasies.
      They said the same thing about Marino, and the Niners dominated him. I will let you in on a little secret- Defense wins championships.
      I am leaning more towards what Donte Whitner believes. He thinks the Niners are going to deliver more than a 3 TD beatdown, 51-28.

      1. Seb I don’t agree with you often, but I’ve been thinking about that superbowl myself this week. Marino and the Mark’s brothers seemed unbeatable. Marino being a generational talent the likes we’d never seen before and all. He was great, but he couldn’t get it done. Guess we’ll see if Mahomes can.

        1. Couldn’t get it done and never so much as sniffed a super bowl again. The thrashing the Niners gave him and his team must have left a career long mark. So much for these generational talents.

          Interesting stat from the Barnwell piece on ESPN, the team with the lower rated QB has won 60% of all QBs and the last 9 in a row. Our troll Rob should be afraid. Very afraid.

          1. It just goes to show that it takes a TEAM. Peyton Manning was lauded for throwing a record setting amount of TDs for the Broncos, and the Seattle defense eviscerated him.
            Yes, Marino is in the HOF, but his defense sucked, so he never got a ring.
            This Niner team is complete. Good offense and stout defense. Chiefs only have a good offense. Mahomes may have a great passing game, but the Niner pass defense is tops in the league.
            The problem for the Chiefs is that the Niner offense just ran for 285 yards, and the Chiefs run defense was ranked 27th in the league.

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