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Thomas McGaughey talks Bradley Pinion, DeAndrew White dealing with growing pains

The San Francisco 49ers special teams coach met with the media earlier this week to discuss the state of the unit. With Bradley Pinion and DeAndrew White having some hiccups in Week 2, there is plenty to learn. We've got a full transcript. You can listen to audio here, and view video here.

When you take a look at the young guy, Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson from Northern Iowa, what do you think of him and was that opening return, was that more of the blocking scheme or how much responsibility does he have in that?

"He is very, very good. He's a very talented kid. He was one of the top kickoff returners we had identified in the draft last year. Big, strong, physical, straight-line runner. Has natural ability. Good young player, good young player. They blocked it up really well. The backside safety on that play kind of had a bad angle, or had a good angle but wasn't squared up and he stuck his foot in the ground and made him miss and outran everybody else."

It seems like he's was very patient on that.

"He is. He's a very good, young returner that has good vision and good patience."

How do you feel about how your young returner did, WR DeAndrew White?

"I wish he could have been a little bit more productive and I've had these conversations with DeAndrew. He has to take advantage of those opportunities when he gets them. He has to be more decisive as a returner back there. And, like we talked about before with these young players, there's a maturation process that they have to go through. They've got to touch that hot stove and bump their knee, bump their head on the concrete sometimes and realize that it's hard."

So, if he's going to bring it out from eight-yards deep he better get to the 20 at least, right?

"He better be decisive about bringing it out eight-yards deep and not kind of wavering about it. That's the one thing that he has to, he was limited in doing it in college. He was back there, but he's more of an off returner. But, once you get up here and you get these opportunities, you've got to take full advantage of them."

Is it kind of general, I mean, around the league that once they moved the kickoffs up, and there's so many touchbacks, that the return man has carte blanche, whether it's seven-yards deep, eight-yards deep or nine-yards deep to bring it out?

"It really depends on the hang time of the kicker. There's some guys that will kick you a 3.7-3.6 ball just trying to drive it out of the back of the end zone and those are the ones that you want to bring out as opposed to the one that's 4.2-4.3, hanging up in the air. Those are the ones you want to take a knee on because by the time you catch it and cross the goal line, normally the coverage team, most of the good coverage teams in this league, they are crossing the 20, crossing the 15. So, it's almost, you're almost dead in the water that way."

So, those guys really do have to have, almost literally, a clock in their head?

"Exactly. It has to be a clock in their head and they have to have a feel for it."

Are your other options besides, WR Bruce Ellington remains out with the ankle, are the other options RB Jarryd Hayne and WR Quinton Patton? No disrespect to DT Tony Jerod-Eddie.

"No, no. We've got a couple other options. We're just going to try and make due with whoever we have out there, coach them up and hopefully make good decisions when those things come about. So, just got to keep plugging. Whoever we've got back there is who we've got and we're going to keep rolling."

Why was that, DeAndrew White returned that punt. Why did you insert him into that role?

"DeAndrew deserved that, to be honest with you. I mean, we talked about it in the preseason, DeAndrew led our team in punt return in the preseason. He had over 20-yards per return. So, I mean, I think he earned that right to be out there on the field. And, he just has to, again, young players being in key roles like that, he has to make sure that he's decisive and he's getting up the field."

What's been your assessment of P Bradley Pinion through two games?

"Again, young player. You know, young players are going to go through those growing pains. Bradley has done a really good job of kicking off, that's truly a strength of his and that's why we drafted him. He's been inconsistent with his punting as far as hitting that consistent ball all the time. And he knows that. He knows he needs to get better with that and that's something we're working on with him. But, the kid works his tail off and his heart is in the right spot and moving forward, I think the sky's the limit for Bradley."

Arizona Cardinals WR J.J. Nelson is possibly out with a shoulder injury. CB Patrick Peterson, you coached him back at LSU, does that give you some kind of advantage in the return game knowing what his tendencies are going into this game?

"Well, actually, I didn't coach Pat. But, I saw enough highlights while I was there after, because, Pat left the year before I got there. But, I saw so many highlights of Pat when he was at LSU, so I kind of do know who he is as a returner. Big, strong, physical guy that can run. He runs like a line, runs like a running back back there as a punt returner. Powerful, can make you miss out in space and he can just run through arm tackles. I mean, he's just, I was literally just watching some clips from ‘11 when he returned four in one year and it's scary to watch."