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Joshua Garnett talks about keeping his head down, being a ‘fight starter’

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The San Francisco 49ers rookie guard met with the media over the weekend after reporting to training camp. He talked about working with veterans, what it means to be a “fight starter,” and what his goals are for the 2016 season. We have a full transcript, and you can watch the press conference here.

The San Francisco 49ers got guard Joshua Garnett signed to his rookie contract the day before training camp began, which means he has been on hand for the full camp. Garnett opened camp playing right guard on the third string offensive line, working next to returning right tackle Anthony Davis.

Garnett met with the media over the weekend, and had a chance to discuss what he is learning, and how he is improving himself. He recognizes the idea of rookies knowing their place and not pushing too hard in certain instances. Although, speaking of that, he addressed David Shaw’s comments about him being a “fight starter” for the offensive line. He provided some helpful clarification on what that means. You can watch the whole press conference here.

On getting contract done and being nearby to sign it:

Oh yea, I mean I live real close, so got the word, came over, was real excited we got it all figured out.

On confidence it would get done before training camp:

Oh yea, definitely. I’m not the kind of person that’s going to miss any football for any reason. That was something that we knew coming in, that it was going to get done, one way or another before training camp. My number one goal was to be here, be with my teammates, and be able to come in. I’ve already missed enough time having to be at Stanford because of our graduation rules. Missing a little bit of OTAs, I knew I wanted to be here from the start. Being around my teammates, that was my main priority, getting in with everybody else.

On what excites him about this:

I’m just excited to kind of get that fresh start, kinda be able to be with everyone from day one. Like I said, missing that time in OTAs, having to come in for the last three days, kinda feeling like I was a little bit behind with the chemistry and everything, with how people had been working. Coming in and being able to do the conditioning test today, and be able to build that general chemistry is what I’m most excited about.

On expectations for himself:

I just wanna come in and be able to compete, and do whatever I can to help this team get to the goals, and get to where we want to be at, whatever that facet that is, or whatever role the coaches decide to put me in.

On importance of chemistry, and building it as a rookie:

Oh yea, it’s real similar to the way you do it at any level of football. You’re just gonna want to work with people, work extra after practice, and really ask questions of the older guys, and really emulate guys like Joe Staley or Zane Beadles, the guys who have kind of been around for a while, know what they’re doing. Just sit back, and be quiet, and listen to them, and see what they’re doing to build that chemistry, so you can kinda emulate and lead by their example.

On any interaction with Anthony Davis:

No, I have not.

On how he tried to catch up after minicamp:

There hasn’t really been too much catch up time after the OTAs we had. I felt like everyone, going into the summer, we all had the same summer training program, and we all got our packets of what we should be doing. So we’re all doing the same workouts. Really puts everyone on the same playing field, and I feel confident I am on the same level as everyone else is coming into camp.

On what he got from the three days of minicamp:

Oh, it definitely helps out a lot, just so I can kind of remember the game speed and see what people are doing, and really figure out the tempo, and it’s not going to be something extremely new to what I have to do.

On if anybody has emerged as mentor:

Oh yea, definitely. All the older offensive linemen, I been watching them quietly, and trying to pick up on some of the things they do, from recovery to to pre-practice stuff, to kind of how they handle themselves outside the locker room, and everything like that. Just watching and learning, and trying to pick up as much as possible.

On what practicing in pads means for offensive linemen:

Oh yea, it’s definitely real beneficial. Non-padded practices you can work on your hand placement, and focus and fine tune that technique. But when you put the pads on, you can really get after it a little bit, and use the more physical nature some people possess, and I kinda like to pride my game on it. It’s a little more easier to show that when you have pads on and can go bang and do all that good stuff.

On being a fight starter at Stanford, and if he can do that as a rookie:

Yea, I mean, I think when coach was talking about that, I was always the guy who would try to bring the juice to practice, and sometimes it would get a little out of control, people would kind of get their feelings hurt a little bit. But it wasn’t me going out and starting fights, or doing anything like that. But I definitely feel as a rookie you have to know your place, you have to know when you can kind of liven up practice, and when you just have to sit back and work on technique, and let the older guys take reigns. But there definitely is a time and place for all that. Definitely not to kind of back down from people just because you are a first-year rookie.

On if “fight-starter” sort of manifests itself on the field (doesn’t seem like it in interviews):

Oh yea, definitely, I mean, I know how to kind of control it off the field, and be a nice, humble, and respectful person. That’s something my parents always taught me. But getting in between the lines and you’re at football practice, you gotta compete, you gotta get people better. And you’re not gonna get people better by going soft on them, or not really trying to bring it to them all you got, so I think that’s something I really try to pride myself into.

On his first-year goal:

I mean like I said, I just want to come in and contribute to the team whatever way possible. If that’s me playing either of the guard spots, or coming off the bench, or being an extra lineman, whatever the coaches want me to do, and whatever I can help to contribute to the team, and have us win a championship, or whatever our goals are for the team, whichever way I can fully contribute to that is what my goal is.