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Mike Davis ‘always gotta feel confident’ heading into potential first start

The 49ers could be giving Mike Davis his first career start in Week 7. We look at some of his numbers, and what he had to say this week.

The San Francisco 49ers head into Week 7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers potentially sending out a new starter at running back. Carlos Hyde will not play on Sunday, which leaves Mike Davis, Shaun Draughn, and potentially DuJuan Harris as the team’s running back options. Draughn and Harris got starts in place of an injured Hyde in 2015, but this week it appears Mike Davis will get the opportunity.

Chip Kelly went to Davis last week once Hyde went down. He later said Davis had shown some things in practice, which allowed him to move up the depth chart. He rushed five times for 13 yards, and had a six-yard reception in his Week 6 appearance.

Davis heads into potentially his first career start looking to prove he actually belongs at this level. As a rookie, Davis spent most of November and December on injured reserve. He was brought back, and in his six appearances before and after the injury, he rushed 35 times for 58 yards (1.7 ypc). This season, he has ten carries for 18 yards (1.8 ypc).

Davis had a strong preseason campaign, rushing 18 times for 146 yards. He was facing a mix of players up and down the depth chart, so we certainly have to take it with a grain of salt. There is talent there, but whether or not he can actually make it work at the NFL level remains to be seen. He’ll at least be looking at a pretty significant opportunity this weekend.

Davis had two media sessions this week. The first was on Tuesday before Hyde was ruled out, and the second was on Thursday, after Chip Kelly said it would be a stretch for Hyde to play this week.

Tuesday interview (video)

On if he is confident if he has to start in Week 7:

Of course. I always gotta feel confident. Just gotta know what you can do out there, and what you’re doing.

On if he has continued losing weight, feeling quicker:

Oh yea, of course. I’m down a lot more than what they have me listed, I think. But, of course, I feel confident what I can do as far as jump-cutting, speed-wise. So, I’m still at the same weight I was.

On getting game reps vs. Bills:

I always feel like I’ve gotta get better. There’s a lot of things I did miss in that game, I feel like I gotta correct in the game. I just gotta be more prepared.

On benefit of getting game rhythm:

Oh yea, of course. I get a feel for how the speed is, the flow, and how things change.

On eagerness to take on big role and having something to prove:

I always feel like I have something to prove. I always got a chip on my shoulder. So, I go into every game with that mindset.

On how Kaepernick was in the huddle:

He’s the same old Kap. Loud, he’s hyping everybody up. Telling us he needs us this play, and things of that nature. So of course, he’s the leader in the huddle.

On competition for backup RB:

Obviously it’s big between all of us, you know, Shaun, DuJuan. Coach Rath, he makes sure we know what we’re doing when we’re out there. If you don’t know what you’re doing, he’s not going to put you out there. He does a great job of teaching us, and letting us know what we have to do, and what we’ll see.

On difficulty of proving he should play without much contact in practice:

No, not really. You just gotta do what you can with the reps that you get. And like I said, with Tom Rathman, if he don’t trust you out there, he’s not going to put you in there. And if you mess up, he’s taking you right out.

Thursday interview (video)

On excitement of getting extended option:

Of course it’s exciting. I can’t wait to get out there and play with my teammates.

On if it important to get into a rhythm:

I think that’s important for every running back. You want to get in that rhythm, feel how the game is flowing, and all that. So I guess rhythm is what every running back needs.

On how much more practice he’s getting:

I mean I already get a lot of practice time, either running with the scout team, special teams. I get a lot of running in during the week.

On feeling good about his chances after extended time in preseason:

Of course. With Coach Tom Rathman as your coach, he makes sure you know exactly what we’re doing. He won’t put you out there if he don’t think you can handle it. So I just make sure I go through the right steps, and make sure I’m prepared going into the game.

On Rathman being hard on him:

He’s hard on everybody. And blitz pickup is one thing he harps on a lot. So if he don’t trust you, he won’t put you out there.

On how he feels with blitz pickup:

I mean I feel confident as ever, because with Tom, we spent extra time, and he makes sure for a fact we know, make sure our eyes are in the right place. So that’s one thing we talk about more than anything.

On any difference knowing he’ll be playing a lot:

It’s the same every week. Whoever is in for that play, he’s gonna make sure you know it. With us, we all gotta make sure that we’re ready, especially at running back. He makes sure we all know what we have to look for.

On if he has dropped weight since the offseason, or same as in August after losing weight:

I’m probably the same as I was back in August. I don’t wanna drop any more weight. Of course, I gain weight when I lift more and all that, but during the season you tend to lose. But I’m around the same.

On what he weighs:

About 206, 205.

On last time he was at that weight:

High school? Yea, probably a little bit in high school, the last time I was this…little.

On where he feels being slim (cutting, speed, etc):

I would say cutting, if anything, making guys miss. Really, confident. My body fat was was high, now it’s lower, so I feel more confident in myself.

On any trade-off with power:

I feel my power’s the same. The only thing I feel is really different now is the speed, the mindset. My mindset has changed since last year, as well.

On what’s different about mindset:

My mindset is, make sure I do the right thing, and knowing what I have when I’m out there … I’m talking everything. My mindset is different from last year because I have the confidence in myself when I’m out there.

On if he was more happy to be in the league last year than anything more:

No. With Tom Rathman as my coach, I’m more than excited to be in the NFL, but with him as my coach, I would know a lot of things I need to improve, and I would know what I need to look for on the field.

On staying off the Flaming Hot Cheetos:

Yea, it was a big deal for some people. It was a game-changer for me. I have a place, a Power Bowl place that’s right below my apartment, so I can go there, every morning, every night. So I eat right with strawberries, granola, all that type of thing.

On food temptations while eating healthy:

I’m just not really tempted. I got where I’m at because I stick to it. I don’t want to veer off and end up where I was. I’m where I want to be and I’m happy about it.”