This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
First off, how’s LB Aldon Smith’s foot? Is it minor?
“He got it stepped on. He had it stepped on earlier in OTAs. So, then he got banged again yesterday, that’s all. It’s aggravated. We’re not going to push it. He’s got the ice bags on and there’s really nothing else to do, just ice bag. But, he got stepped on. If it was something in the season, we’d play right through.”
But, you won’t shut him down for this minicamp?
“Yeah, well today, initially today, talking to Ferg [Vice President of Football Operations Jeff Ferguson], Ferg was talking about him doing some individidual. No. Right now, no.”
I saw LB Corey Lemonier and LB Eli Harold were getting a lot of reps because of that at that right outside linebacker spot. How have those guys done this offseason?
“Really good. I wouldn’t say because of that, they might have gotten a couple more of his. I would never say it was because of that. Those guys, particularly Corey, he’s really doing well and I’m excited for Corey, I am. Any young guy that works so hard too you know? He’s coming along. He’s doing a great job with knowing the defense and he’s bending and moving, you can see there. You’re watching the same thing I’m seeing. He can get off the rock.”
He didn’t do much dropping back into coverage in college and he’s having to do that? How is he doing with that?
“The movement-wise, we have to keep cleaning that up. But, the assignment-wise, he’s really grabbed. That’s what I’m talking about.”
You talked about G/T Alex Boone yesterday at right tackle, but he was actually at left guard quite a bit yesterday?
“Yes. You know what, [Vice President of Communications] Bob [Lange] said something to me about that. I hope I didn’t allude to the fact that he was, we have him slotted and working at left guard. That is the plan. [T Erik] Pears, I like Pears at right tackle. I got to tell you that. We’re not saying anything’s in stone right now, but I do like that guy at right tackle.”
What do you like about Boone at left guard as opposed to right?
“Well, again, we’re working him at the left guard position, and again, you start talking about creating some depth. The stance is the same if you did left tackle. So, having some depth there and your footwork’s the same. So, that’s what we’re looking at and he’s comfortable there. So, we’re getting some work there. And again, I don’t want anybody to hold us in stone that that’s where he’s staying. Boone can play the right guard, the right tackle position. And Boone is getting a little bit of work at the left guard position right now. Again, that’s more for the footwork and the stance and looking to create some depth at the left tackle spot.”
What are you seeing out of RB Reggie Bush on the field, what he’s brought to you?
“Reggie’s really moving around. You’re asking that because you saw him moving around yesterday. Reggie’s a spry guy. He has a lot of energy in his legs and in his body and his attitude. What a wonderful addition in all aspects. He’s another guy you’ve got to pull back. We’re definitely talking about rep counts on Reggie. But, he’s doing really well, he’s moving great and we love having him here.”
GC: It seems the offense is practicing a lot of roll out passes during team drills, more so than the past few years. Is that a fair assessment, fair observation?
“You’re absolutely right, yes. But again, yesterday we were working the boot game. So, when you start seeing these things come out in chunks, there are certain things that we’re emphasizing that day. You might see one period where it’s boots. We’re going against ourselves, so we’re looking to, defensively, ‘Hey, we got to work the edge a little bit here. Backside, inside zone and the boot off it.’ So, we’re working for those guys to get the visual of that defensively. And then offensively we want to work it, so we put that all in one period. I can’t say the whole practice, but you’re going to see chunks of that happen throughout the practice.”
GC: Is it more of an emphasis in this offense this year or do you not want to talk about scheme?
“I don’t believe we are talking about schematics. The bootleg is something that comes off if we’re going to run a zone scheme. We’re not solely a zone scheme, you all see that too. There’s no secret to that. That is something we’re working. And we can work it more. You work the gap scheme stuff with no shoulder pads on. Now you start getting piles, you start getting a bunch of clogged up stuff and a lot of bodies in it. You’re running the power and you’re running on the inside, the iso, those ones are predicated on getting movement. Without pads on, we’re trying to do a little bit more.”
GC: Does rollouts complement QB Colin Kaepernick’s skill set?
“Yeah, well, him moving his feet it does, yes. Again, I don’t want to make too much of it because in fairness, today and tomorrow you’re going to see more drop back, you’re going to see us in the pocket. That’s just the different phases that we’re working.”
I don’t think CB Tramaine Brock or CB Shareece Wright participated in team drills yesterday. What’s their status? Is there anything to that?
“No. They both were tight. Shareece was just a little tight. Legs were a little tight out of there. Brock has been in and out, we’ve been going back and forth there. Just making sure we’re bringing that full load back with his legs. But, Tramaine’s doing well. ”
Is he coming back slow because of maybe the toe injury last year?
“Well, yeah. The toe and the legs, just getting everything back on him. His offseason program with the running and the lifting has been really good. And there’s other guys we want to look at. There’s some other guys we really want to see.”
DT Darnell Dockett has talked a couple times about you and him would have midfield meetings after every game when he was with Arizona. Sounds like there was a lot of mutual respect between you two. Can you just talk about what you admired about him from afar?
“Yeah. And again, I can’t tell you I ever knew Darnell personally. My job, I watch a ton of film. And watching Darnell on tape, I’ve just always had a ton of respect for how hard he plays the game. That was it. He’s a talented individual. But, just how hard, how important you could tell it was to him or is to him. That’s my respect with that. Any time I see guys like that and you get an opportunity to tell them you admire what you see. That was just all it was, really. Now he’s here, but that’s where that all starts from.”
He was known as a real 49er antagonist. He’s a pretty loquacious guy and needling the 49ers–?
“In their minds and where he was he saw this as the great foe. And he was going at it. Some of that stuff, on the receiving end of it, you get kind of a kick out of it, listening to that stuff. It’s not the way we want to do business. But, yeah I heard bits and pieces of it. I hear the guys talking.”
Do you tell him when he comes here that this is how we do business?
“Yeah. We’re not into a lot of what we don’t do. We’re trying to spend a lot more time on what we do do and how we do it.”
What kind of communication have you and [defensive line coach] Scott Brown had with DL Arik Armstead? Is it permissible for you to call him?
“Yeah, everything within the rules. We have not touched, we are not going to mess around with the rules. We knew, when he was drafted we knew he was on the quarter system. You get an Oregon guy, you get a Stanford guy, their on the quarter system. That’s the rules. And we’re not going to, I’ll make that clear. There were some points there where you could Skype earlier on. We did some of that. But, we’re not going to do that. There’s no need to. That’s just the way it is and we’re going to play within the rules.”
What’s the biggest improvement you’ve seen in RB Jarryd Hayne in the short time that he’s been here?
“You know what, he’s starting to get it. Early on, you’re seeing him, again, especially yesterday, you saw him catching punts at the end. The guy’s a, he’s a world-class athlete. And when you come into our practices, it was a lot slower at the beginning. He’s getting the ball as a running back and he wasn’t moving as fast. Now you’re starting to see his speed show up. As he’s attacking the line, running his tracks and attacking the line and feeling more comfortable that way. Also, the pass protections. He’s never had to do any of that. When you take football, we’re crammed in more. He’s used to playing that wide open game. Now, it’s all crunched up. In there, that’s where you get used to the run game. And then pass protections, obviously, he’s never done anything like it. All that stuff is really good, he’s doing really well.”
You said one of the things obviously is his running style. He’s always been up high because of rugby, he needs to get lower. You say he’s doing better but–?
“We’re not hiding behind that now. I let him know there could be a play where you come through there and you’re tree-top tall and 53’s [LB NaVorro Bowman] going to hit you in your chest and I’d like you to listen know before you get the wind knocked out of you. We all know it, one of those is going to happen and we’ll be fine and we’ll get up. It’s just a little reinforcement.”
He seems like a natural on catching those punt returns, you were right in front of him yesterday. Does it seem like he’s made for that kind of duty and also will he do kickoff returns?
“Well, I mean, you saw. We are doing some of that. He is catching some kickoff. But, the punts right now, he’s been doing it all his life. And you can tell that. I know where that question is coming from because yesterday, he’s fielding those things. He and Reggie, really two guys that are really solid, really good at fielding that ball.”
You continue to emphasize tempo in these practices. Is that going to be kind of an identity of this offense or is this just something that you’re emphasizing now for when games slow down you guys will be better prepared?
“There’s no secret to it. We want to be able to move in the game offensively, you’re on offense, you’re on the offensive. You want to be able to do it on your terms. So, if we want to go faster, we want to be able to go faster. If we want to slow it down, we want to be able to slow it down. Right now, we’re more or less working the operation of it and giving different, 22 seconds we started at, now we want to go to 26, let’s get on the ball. I want to push it, I’ll say 30. We’re just trying to change just that idea of how we’re moving and operating from the thought of the play call, through that operation, to the quarterback’s ear, to the huddle. So, we’re trying to do that and we want to be able to. I think that’s all offenses, you want to be able to move at the speed in which you want to move for that particular time in the game or that situation and if we see a defense that’s struggling getting people on the field, can we speed up? That’s simply what we’re working on.”
GC: Are you cutting down the verbiage the quarterback says in the pocket so they can get out of the huddle quicker?
“We have cut down verbiage as we’ve installed. Again, I’m not comparing it to last year or anything like that. But, as we started it was longer and then as guys started understanding it and getting concepts, you can shrink that and it can go to five, six, seven words instead of starting off with 12, 13. So, that’s the intent.”