During San Francisco 49ers media availability, head coach Jim Tomsula discussed the progress of the offensive line, which has been a concern for many of the Faithful. With Alex Boone and Joe Staley being the only returning veterans with consistent playing experience, the remainder of the line has been in flux. Players have been shifting positions as they try to find the best fit.
Tomsula took responsibility for some of the struggles in recent practice. Rookie OL Ian Silberman played center for the first time in a scrimmage situation after previously doing only individual drills. Tomsula sees huge potential for Silberman but cited the learning curve of going from G to C as the reason for his struggles. He may be seen even more as C during camp as Tomsula wants to see how he develops under pressure. 7 of 9 of the snap issues during Friday's practice occurred when the nose guard came to Silberman's snap hand.
Tomsula had positive things to day about Boone and Staley next to each other on the line regarding their spacing and how the two are coming along nicely as a team. His most effusive moment, however, was regarding Erik Pears. "I'm a big Pears guy, ok? He's one of those tough-nut Colorado dudes who climbed out of some...either got off a horse or climbed out of a mine, you know? That's just what he is. Doesn't say anything. He's got his wife, and his four kids and that's about it. You've got that and football, so he's my type of guy." Tomsula seems content sticking with Pears at tackle. He mentioned that Pears has played a lot at tackle, so switching to guard would have required some adjustment.
I think he's moving better. And again, he's played a lot of tackle. So, the challenge there was going to be playing the guard, getting that set up for him. But, he's moving better than I've seen him move and he's strong. And, I think our offseason program here and the way he dedicated himself to it will show up on the field, or is showing up on the field.
Marcus Martin, who has not played RG since high school, is adjusting to not snapping the ball. Although Tomsula said that should make his world easier, by having both hands available, it's more about having more space on the line which changes his timing. Martin did rotate back to C during practice yesterday along with Dillon Farrell and Joe Looney.
Tomsula isn't going to tell anyone who is playing where because he hasn't determined the best combination yet. Although he stated that they are "starting to move like a big thing of columns" there is a lot of fluidity as the players adjust to playing in new positions.