After the first day of OTAs for the San Francisco 49ers, first round pick DeForest Buckner spoke to the media. He had some interesting things to say about his transition to the NFL and his reunion with several players and coaches that he has known from his time at Oregon. You can watch the full video here and the transcript is below.
Buckner practiced with the 3s during the first day of OTAs but it is doubtful that he will stay there for long as a first round pick. His learning curve will determine how long is ascent will take. Buckner's former Oregon teammate Arik Armstead was also moved up gradually last season, increasing his playing time as the season progressed. The two former Ducks make a nice set of bookends at 6'7 each.
Was this similar to what Chip ran at Oregon a few years ago?
Definitely. He still kept the whole practice like what he brought to Oregon. Being a part of the Niners now, and having him as my coach again, the speed. I felt like it was a little faster today.
For the defense, is it similar to Oregon as well especially regarding coach Azzinaro?
Yeah, definitely. The whole defense and certain plays that we're running here are similar to what we ran at Oregon, different terminology that I gotta get used to. All of the guys gotta get used to.
How does coach compare to the guy you remember? Has he changed at all?
Oh no. Same guy. Same guy that recruited me to Oregon, who was one of the main reasons why I went to Oregon so it's always great to have that coach that I wanted to play for three or four years ago. Having him here, it's awesome.
You know the defensive line coach and you know Chip. Have guys asked you about them?
No, not really. I did get questions like 'Oh, was he your coach?' and stuff like that and I told them 'Yeah.' They all think it's pretty cool how we all got reunited.
In the early going are you working on one side or are you at all 3 spots?
Coach Azzinaro wants everyone in the room to learn all three positions on the D line. So we can, so if there's motions, we can all push the front so everyone knows how to play all three positions.
Does that put you opposite Balducci every now and then?
Yeah, I've gone against him a little bit in rookie mini camp and I'm not going to lie, it's kind of weird having him playing center and he's yelling 'Okie' and all this kind of stuff, running the whole O line and so it's something I gotta get used to.
You never did any of that at Oregon?
No, no at all.
Not being a skill position, how do you show yourself when you're without pads and without contact?
Your handwork, you work on your hands and your footwork. It's a good way to really focus on, because you know part of my game, a lot of the guys in the room know it as power, and it's easy to use it when you have pads on, but not having pads on we can work on footwork and our hands.
Speaking of hands, with you and Arik being 6'7, are they emphasize knocking down passes?
I know back at Oregon, coach always harped on us about getting our hands up if we don't get to the quarterback, trying to alter his throw and things like that.
Who are some of the veteran defensive players that are helping you up front?
Glenn Dorsey, 'Q' Dial, he's been helping out a lot, Tony [Jerod-Eddie], all of those older guys are helping all of us younger guys out. When we watch film they'll lean over and tell what we did wrong and also when we get on the field. Even throughout the drills, telling us, like sometimes guys will put their head down when we're hitting the sled and they say 'Keep your head up." Stuff like that. Little things. They've been really helping us a lot. They make it a comfortable room to be in, to work with all of them. Coming in and answering questions in the room so it's a comfortable environment and I thank all of those older guys for making it comfortable for all of us to work in.
How has it been working with Coach O'Neil?
Yeah, you know he wants to get after it. He made it a big emphasis on the first day, the first defensive meeting room me and the rookies were in, you know being an aggressive defense and everything and playing fast. He's a great guy to play for.
Coach Azzinaro has been known for using the sled a lot. Has that happened here and was that prevalent in Oregon?
Yeah, definitely. Back at Oregon, four years ago we were on the sled during individual periods working on striking. We are definitely doing it here and a lot of the older guys have been saying, it's the most they've hit the sled in years. They are all getting used to it too. We're all in the same boat.