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Kyle Shanahan explained what he looks for from running backs in OTAs

The 49ers have brought in plenty of competition at running back. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has plenty to assess during OTAs.

The San Francisco 49ers had their third day of OTAs on Thursday, putting them a third of the way through the final phase of the offseason workout program. They will have OTAs the next two weeks, and wrap things up with mandatory minicamp.

OTAs provide a chance for offense vs. defense dills, but live contact is still not allowed. OTAs allow for implementation of the scheme, but there is a lot that can’t be assessed. However, there is still something to be gained from the drills from an assessment perspective.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with the media on Tuesday, and he offered some helpful insight into what he is looking at with regard to running backs.

“Well, we go pretty hard and there’s guys who play their gaps. You want to see, there’s an art to hitting the right gap and running full speed and going to where the guy and the defense is out of position. I always joke with the backs, I can see it every time when I have a remote in my hand and it’s very slow and I can be, ‘Oh, you should have gone there.’ No one plays running back with a remote in their hand. They just run and it comes natural. So, you try to see who naturally runs to the right spots and there’s guys who aren’t the most flashy running backs to the naked eye, but for some reason they have better yards-per-carry than everyone else does and that’s because they get to the right hole and it’s always four yards, six yards in. Whatever the defense, whatever the offense blocks it for they usually get two more. We try to see who the most natural runners are, who it’s not too big for and their conditioning and how hard they go.”