The big play from Wednesday’s practice was Carlos Hyde running over cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon on a goal line play, and promptly flexing after the touchdown. Hyde got a bit running start, and sent Witherspoon flying. The 49ers cornerback was not allowed to tackle on the play, which is an advantage for Hyde. However, on Thursday, Kyle Shanahan offered up some nuance on what Witherspoon needs to learn from the play.
Shanahan was asked if he was fine with Hyde’s big hit given the context of no defensive tackle. Shanahan said he was, and while there is a fine line with it, he “kinda didn’t mind it yesterday.
“I thought Carlos taught him a little bit of a lesson that I think will end up helping him in the long run. It’s very tough for anybody, when a guy gets, especially a guy like Carlos — there’s about 15 yards between him and Carlos, and the guy’s getting a running start, and you’re sitting there waiting on him — that’s gonna happen. Especially if you’re not allowed to go at his legs.
“So, what I like is that Carlos kinda taught him that, so next time he doesn’t sit there and take out his legs, he better recognize the cut back a lot faster. When the outside receiver cracks on the safety, you better replace that guy a lot faster. So now Carlos has about a three-yard head start instead of a 15-yard head start.
“I don’t care who you are, if Carlos gets a 15-yard head start on you and lowers his head, and you’re not allowed to go low on him, that will be the end result. It’s about recognizing a crack, and crack replacing, get right in the hip of that receiver, and getting it on Carlos before he gets that steam going.”
Witherspoon reportedly took another big hit on Thursday, this time from tight end Vance McDonald. One of the negatives on Witherspoon scouting reports is his need to add strength to what Lance Zierlein described as a “gangly frame.” A bulldozer like Hyde would probably do bad things to him from a few yards, letting alone 15 yards. But Shanahan provided some clarity on the assignment issue that Witherspoon messed up on with this play.
On a side note, since Vance McDonald ran over a cornerback, that’s as good an excuse as any to post a GIF of McDonald running over Richard Sherman. Am I right?