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One on one with 49ers rookie QB C.J. Beathard

Beathard was in Los Angeles for the Rookie Premiere where I sat down with him for an exclusive interview

It all started over a decade and a half ago in a locker room in San Diego. There were nameplates that read Junior Seau and Rodney Harrison. He had no idea what his grandfather’s job was, but C.J. Beathard knew it was where he wanted to be. “He could have been a janitor for all we knew. We just knew he was the ‘in’ to hang out in the Chargers or Falcons facilities. Now looking back on it he’s a legend of the game, and finally getting to live out my dream in the NFL is pretty cool.”

At the NFLPA’s rookie premiere, Beathard was one of a very select 40 rookies chosen to begin building his brand through direct contact with corporate executives. He said it was a great honor to be joining his 49ers teammate, running back Joe Williams and the other rookies during his Los Angeles excursion but he is looking forward to getting back on the field for OTAs. He’s been staying up late studying the playbook which has it’s own set of challenges.

It’s quite a bit different. The terminology is completely different. Obviously a lot of the formations are the same, the way we line up but the terminology is different so it’s a lot of studying and a lot of memorization but it’s coming, it’s getting there.

When I asked him if it was “wordy.”

Very wordy, yes, yes. (laughing) It was wordy at Iowa but it’s wordy here. Especially when it’s terms you haven’t heard before it’s basically memorization at this point but once you start grasping a little bit more you can start to put it together in your head. It’s, I’d say, one of the wordier offenses in the NFL. That’s what I’ve heard at least.

Is there a method to remembering it all?

You gotta just try to think it out in your head which route schemes go with which formations which will come as I get more familiar with the offense. Put yourself in a formation and think about what’s logical with what he’s trying to call and that’s how you kind of have to do it.

This doesn’t take away from the excitement that Beathard has for the system, where he sees how it can confuse defenses.

There’s a lot of play action off of run sets or pass formations. That’s the great part about this offense; the play action game and the bootleg game is really good.

As Beathard transitions to the NFL he will have to balance his professional and personal life while studying Shanahan’s offense. Luckily, his five month old daughter Lila is already sleeping through the night. His family will soon move out to California to join him, but for now they remain in Iowa. During the break in July, they will reunite in Tennessee where he spent some time prior to the draft training with 49ers rookie wide receiver Trent Taylor.

For now, Beathard will adjust to seeing himself in red and gold as well as making small changes to his footwork. He played right foot forward in the gun at Iowa and is now getting used to having his left foot forward and changing the drop back which he says is nothing major. He’s looking forward to picking the brain of veteran QB Brian Hoyer during his transition.

What is most noticeable about Beathard is that he doesn’t seem stressed out at all as he speaks casually in his smooth southern drawl telling me the mantra he will live by as he grows into his NFL career:

Don’t get too high in the highs and don't get too low in the lows because both are going to come throughout this and life in general. You just have to know how to handle both sides of it.