The San Francisco 49ers acquired defensive lineman Charles Omenihu in a trade from the Houston Texans this season. Omenihu’s experience playing across the line offered immediate depth for the Niners, who were particularly hit by injuries at that point in the season.
While Omenihu only recorded 6 tackles and 1 quarterback hit in 9 games with San Francisco this season, he came up with his best performance of the year in the Wild Card Round against the Cowboys, filling in for Nick Bosa. Despite playing less than half of the 49ers’ defensive snaps, Omenihu racked up 3 tackles, 3 quarterback hits, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble.
On Wednesday, Omenihu was asked about adjusting to the 49ers’ defensive scheme in a press conference. Omenihu explained that this is the first time he has played in a Wide-9 scheme and discussed how he’s adjusted.
“The guys in the d-line accepted me immediately. Learning the system didn’t take me long, moreso learning the techniques of the system. It was my first time being in a very Wide 9 attack kind of scheme. It was a little bit different and I had to get certain habits out of the way. Then learning how to rush and play in this system being on the outside.” -Charles Omenihu
While he acknowledged some struggles, the Texas alum also credited defensive line coach Kris Kocurek for explaining how the Wide 9 will help him be a more productive pass rusher. If Sunday’s game in Dallas was a sign of things to come, he’s well-positioned to excel going forward.
“I remember when I first got here and Kris [Kocurek] was telling me that this system would allow me to use my explosion, my length, and my power more because you get a buildup to the tackles. Using my arm length, power, and strength that I have it’s allowed me to be able to move guys easier, allowed for my power to show more, and so anytime I do use an outside rush it’s more effective. So it’s been good. I definitely like it.” -Charles Omenihu
Perhaps the most notable quote from Omenihu came when he shared his feelings about playing for the Texans, compared to the 49ers. Omenihu said, “it’s not a circus show here,” and added that the 49ers aren’t an “ego-driven organization” and don’t have a “power struggle” between the head coach and general manager. He also called playing for the Niners a “breath of fresh air.”