The San Francisco 49ers media sessions have involved head coach Jim Tomsula and both coordinators, but on Wednesday they went a little outside the box. Special teams coach Thomas McGaughey took to the podium to discuss how things are coming along with his unit.
McGaughey confirmed that rookie punter Bradley Pinion is competing with Phil Dawson for work as the kickoff man. Dawson has handled kickoffs in his time with the team, but Pinion's leg brings serious power. There have been numerous compliments about it, with Nick Moody mentioning that Pinion booted a punt 65 yards before it hit the ground. McGaughey acknowledged the strength of Pinion's leg, but pointed to Phil Dawson's ability to pull out all sorts of tricks of the trade. Of course, given the shorter kickoff distance, pure power might be all we need to worry about at this point.
In discussion Pinion, McGaughey brought up some interesting information. He said that a league-wide value is to have the punt hang time match the distance. By that, he means a 45-yard punt should have a hang-time of 4.5 seconds, a 46-yard punt should be 4.6 and so forth. We hear all about hang time, but this is the most specific information I recall learning about hang time.
The 49ers have had several Australian media in attendance early in camp due to Jarryd Hayne's presence. They have had questions about Hayne for virtually everybody at the podium. Given Hayne's potential work on special teams, they had a few for McGaughey. He did not go into a lot of detail, other than to say Hayne has done some good things, but there is more development in the works. Hayne is getting work at running back, but he will be pushing for the return job. Bruce Ellington is dealing with a leg strain this week, so that opens the door for more opportunities for Hayne. It remains to be seen if that's enough to earn a roster spot, but it certainly will not hurt him.