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Anthony Davis Makes ‘Jump’ at Tackle

Posted Jun 6, 2012



More than 20 rookies on the San Francisco 49ers roster are older than starting right tackle Anthony Davis, the team’s first-round selection (No. 11 overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft.

At 22-years-young, Davis has started in all 32 of the 49ers regular season games over the past two seasons, plus two postseason contests.

But despite all of his early contributions to the 49ers offense, Davis can’t help but laugh when approached about the number of rookies who’ve turned 23 ahead of him.

“That’s funny," Davis said.

Still, the 6-foot-5, 323-pound lineman doesn’t look down on the incoming class because of seniority. If anything, arriving to work each day to be with players like guard Joe Looney, a Wake Forest guard he matched up against previously at Penn State’s high school football camp, gives Davis appreciation for his position with the 49ers.

“I feel like I got a little head-start,” Davis said after Wednesday’s Organized Team Activity, “but we’re still in the same spot, on the grind.”

In fact, every morning Davis looks around at the black temporary lockers in the middle of the 49ers locker room and reminisces about his experiences joining the team along with fellow 2010 first-round pick, Mike Iupati, who’s also gone on to start every game of his 49ers career like Davis.

Those early memories are important to Davis.

“I’m trying to look at it like I’m coming in again, just like them,” the right tackle said. “Being in a room with them early in the morning gives you flashbacks. But then you look around and they’re all a little older than me or the same age, so it makes it easy.”

Davis has a bushy black beard sprouting on his face these days and is proud to admit that his mustache is finally growing in, but there’s much bigger strides being made this offseason by Davis and they’re being noticed by many.

According to Jim Harbaugh, Davis’ footwork has been much improved this offseason.

“Seen a big jump in his play,” Harbaugh added.

The comment meant a lot to Davis, who said, “It feels good to hear that coming from a great coach like Coach Harbaugh.” However, such superlatives won’t change the aggressive lineman’s personal goals of improving weaknesses in his game.

Each time the 49ers hit the practice fields, Davis seeks out advice from 49ers offensive line coaches Mike Solari and Tim Drevno.

“Every practice I pick something I need to work on,” Davis detailed. “I think about what I need to work on myself and then I’ll ask our coaches what they think I need to work on and then I work on it that day.”

In recent practices, Davis has focused on footwork, quickness and incorporating greater strength into his techniques.

The improved footwork, mentioned by Harbaugh, is a result of Davis’ repetition at playing on the right side of the line. At Rutgers, Davis starred on the left side of the ball.

“I feel more conscious of the steps I need to take,” Davis explained. “It’s more about making it a habit. You can do it right once they remind you, but if you can make it a habit, that’s the hardest part.”

Footwork is one thing Davis has improved on, but communication remains vital in his development, especially with former tackle Alex Boone getting first-team reps at right guard.

Davis believes playing next to Boone is off to a great start in early OTA sessions.

“Our personalities do fit,” Davis added. “It’s cool playing next to a dude like Boone.”

The two linemen might be forging an even greater on-field relationship this offseason, but they actually first met when Davis was touring Ohio State on a high school visit.  Davis just so happened to catch Boone’s Buckeyes take on their bitter rival, the University of Michigan. To this day, Davis recalls Boone’s intensity from the sideline and instantly being impressed with the lineman.

“I remember seeing Boone’s intensity and thinking, “I like that guy,” Davis recalled.

Flash forward to 2012 where the two have been playing side-by-side, Boone is speaking highly of Davis, the same way the New Jersey native described the Ohioan.

“It’s been great,” Boone said. “I feel like a big cheeseburger, in there between him and (center) Jonathan (Goodwin). I love it.”

“I think he’s doing a great job,” Boone continued. “I think one of things we had concerns about was run-blocking together, but it ended up being great. His feet are phenomenal this year and in pass pro, we haven’t had any problems yet.”

Blitz protection, sight adjustments and many other details of playing offensive line will have to be ironed out between the two as they head into the season, but Davis is enthused by the early stages of their working relationship.

As for Davis, offseason goals include increasing strength and knowledge of the playbook. The young lineman also wants to get his core stronger.

“I want to at least get 1 and ½ abs showing,” Davis said with a grin. “That’d be nice.”

But more importantly, Davis wants to continue the “jump” in his play.