The San Francisco 49ers welcomed Joshua Garnett back to the facility on Tuesday, marking his first practices with the team since rookie minicamp. Garnett finished up his final exams on Monday, and while he still has one more quarter of school work, the close of finals meant he could get back to practicing.
However, it is important to note that technology has helped him stay on top of things as much as possible. Garnett told the media on Wednesday that he got daily practice film on his iPad, and that along with the playbook gave him a chance to practice on his own. It sounds like he essentially was out on the field by himself running through assignments and footwork and so forth. It's not a perfect scenario, but it's better than nothing. And with three days of formal practices with the team, he'll have something to work with as the team splits up for a month and a half until training camp.
Here's what Garnett had to say to the media following Wednesday's practice.
So what have you been up to?
A lot of school, lifting, studying, field work, just trying to stay on top of everything on our iPads. I'll get the playbook, I'll get the practices, I've been watching on my own, go out to Stanford's field and emulate on my own. Lot of lifting, and just trying to stay on top of everything in that gap from being gone.
Did you graduate?
Not yet. I have one more quarter. Next year.
Will you be able to do that in the spring?
Oh yeah! Next year, yes sir.
So there was an assignment that you turned in Monday?
At midnight, last night.
You said you were trying to emulate out there what they're doing down here. Everyone has been trying to emulate the pace of Chip Kelly's offense. How did you do that as far as preparing your body for what you're going to be going through this week?
Oh yeah, just staying in contact with the rookies and asking them kinda what they were doing and trying to double that route running. Go out to the field and have that script of the plays and write that down and go through it on my own. Maybe do a 10 yard sprint after that, give myself maybe five, six seconds, go to the next play. So I really try to emulate by myself. I mean I can't go against somebody, but I can get the tempo down a little bit which will help me out.
How did you make it through today?
Felt good. First day hiccups for every offensive lineman; I mean pad level, try to get the footwork back together, but I felt better than I thought I was going to do coming in. Everything's clicking, I feel like my preparation really helped me out.
Do they want you to run both guard spots right now?
Oh yeah, definitely both guard spots and wherever I can fit in best for the team is where they want me to be at right now, but I'm definitely doing all my sets on both sides.
Is a guard a guard?
Oh yeah, a guard's a guard. You got to be able to kick right, be able to kick left, you never know what's going to happen in a game, you can't be a one dimensional guy. The more you can do, the more you can be able to play.
How long has it been since you've taken practice reps at right guard?
Today. I took practice reps at right guard during mini-camp. At Stanford I played at right guard for two years so that's something I've been doing and I've been really comfortable with.
Did you get any strange looks since you were using Chip Kelly's practice script by yourself?
Oh no, not really. I felt good, everyone knew what I was doing. It was something that they knew I was going to go out there and I was going to be running by myself and try to emulate everything.
Fundamentally what are the differences? You mentioned, I think I saw it on social media, the zone scheme and you ran a lot of zone at Stanford not just power, what are some of the fundamental differences and what's the transition like for you?
There really isn't any differences. The footwork on the zone plays we run here is the exact same footwork on the zone plays we ran at Stanford. There's really no big difference other than the terminology. That's why I felt comfortable being able to go on my own, because I already knew the footwork and it was a real easy jump for me to go into this predominantly zone offense because it's the same footwork I've been doing for four years at Stanford.
Did you go up much against [49ers rookie Center Alex] Balducci?
Oh yeah, definitely. When we played against Oregon, I'd go against Balducci, DeForest [49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner] those were guys I went against all the time.
Now that you see him now as an offensive lineman what's your thought on how he made that transition?
He's been doing well. He's a guy who works hard. I could tell when I watched the film at Oregon that he's a hard worker. He's going to come ready to play everyday and he's really transitioned back to the offensive line and I feel like he's done a great job.
Joe Staley said last week that he's been keeping in contact with you. How valuable was that to have? To keep in tune of what was going on?
Real valuable to know that the older guys, want you to succeed and want to make sure that you're staying on top of everything. It was definitely a big help for me to know, not that any of the veterans really care about what I was doing, but they wanted to make sure that I was going to be prepared for when I came in.
Was there daily contact with somebody in the organization whether it was a coach or players just kinda making sure you were in the mix as much you can be?
Oh yeah, definitely. Every day I was talking to either a rookie or trying to call coach up and see how the day was going. Kind of the flavor of the day; what people needed to work on and I would try to make sure to extra-hit that the next day to make sure that I could stay on top of mistakes they were making.
And you said they did give you the film of practices to where you could watch everything on a tablet?
Yeah I had the surface and I could have practice uploaded so I could watch it on my own which was really helpful.
What was the assignment you finished last night?
It was a religion paper for one of the religion GDRs. It wasn't too bad. Just a quick little thing, I turned it in at midnight and I'm good to go now.
Did you get yourself a shake after your workouts like Chip [49ers head coach Chip Kelly] has here?
Oh yeah definitely. Definitely tried to emulate everything as much as possible.
Right down to the shake?
Oh yeah, right down to the shakes and everything.
So just to be clear you working out while Stanford was practicing? The football team? During spring ball?
Oh yeah. During spring ball and everything, I'd go out there, before them. If there were lifting at 11:00, I'd try to get in at 9:00 or something like that. Let them have their own thing and let me have my own privacy and do my own thing.
Did it feel seamless getting out there on the practice field? Did it feel like you maybe you hadn't missed as much as you had?
Oh yeah, definitely. I mean, football's football. When you've been watching individual and watching everything and trying to go through everything exactly like the practice film has. We have the practice film individual. So I go through that on my own. It's obviously different, faster paced. There's still things to get used to, but I feel like it's a good transition for me. I'm excited to get back out there tomorrow and Thursday and see how I make that first day to second day jump and how the offensive line kinda gets more cohesive and adds me in as a new piece with the guys I'm in with and how we mold each day.
How valuable is it to have these three days so you aren't jumping into day one of training camp having not been through a full practice with the team.
Oh yeah, it's real valuable. Being able to have the guys get to know me, the veteran guys and the other rookies get to know me more. Not just having to text guys but put a name with the face and be able to interact with them. So the first day of training camp don't just come in and say I'm a new guy to the building so people at least get to see me for a little bit.
Before you stepped onto the practice field you paused and you were saying something to yourself. What were you doing there?
Yeah that's something I always did at Stanford. Right before we go on the field, say a prayer, like, "What do you want to get accomplished for the day?" So I'm going to bow my head and said, "I want to get after it today get better at something and hope everyone stays healthy stays safe today. Kind of what I always end it with each day but kind of something I want to work on and something I think I want to have for myself that day.
You guys did some sled work today. Have you done sled work as an O-lineman previously?
Oh yeah. The two man sled, the Crowther sled. We have one of those at Stanford. So I'll get one of the younger guys at Stanford to go out there with me, try to big-dog them and "Hey, you're coming out here, come to get this sled work with me". It was stuff like that where I was able to emulate. That wasn't my first time hitting the Crowther sled since rookie mini-camp. So it was an easier transition for me even though I'm going with all the rookies now I have been doing it with someone else.