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Kilgore Becomes Jack-of-All-Trades

Posted May 2, 2013

Daniel Kilgore is hard at work during football school, playing center, guard, tackle and even long snapper.

Keeping track of Daniel Kilgore this offseason is no small task. The third-year lineman has spent much of his time at center, but you can also find No. 67 lined up at guard, tackle and even long snapper. With select veterans electing to work out on their own during the voluntary workouts, Kilgore has made the most of his opportunities at 49ers headquarters.

Offseason “football school” sessions are a valuable opportunity for the 6-foot-3, 308-pound lineman to get additional reps, not only at his primary positions of guard and center, but wherever he may be needed. In fact, most of the offensive linemen have been rotating at several positions to get in extra work.

"The more repetitions I get at everything, the better off I am,” Kilgore told 49ers.com. “You continue to grow as a player. You continue to study. You continue to watch film and continue to work with your teammates and coaches. It's coming a lot easier now than it did my rookie season.”

Kilgore suited up for every game in 2012. His role was primarily on special teams and he also served as an extra blocker in short-yardage sub packages. A former tackle at Appalachian State, Kilgore sought out advice from the 49ers defensive linemen when making the transition to guard and center. The wisdom from Justin Smith and Aldon Smith made the transition easier. It has especially helped him at center, where he has to read defenses and make calls based on what he sees at the line of scrimmage.

The cerebral part of the position is what the former fifth-round pick enjoys the most.

"You're the leader of the offense," Kilgore said. "You're the first one to touch the ball. Besides the quarterback, you construct the whole front-five. You've got to know exactly what's going on, even in the backfield – what the backs are doing – reading the defenses, reading the safeties, reading the linebackers. Being the center, you've got to know what you're doing to be able to construct the whole thing."

Kilgore is also the first one to touch the ball on field goals and punts, adding backup long snapper to his jack-of-all-trades repertoire.

"I worked on it when I was at home in the offseason," Kilgore said. "I've done it since high school. It wasn't my primary spot in college or anything, but I picked it back up when I came to the NFL. Brian Jennings has helped out and Coach (Brad) Seely helped out. I'm Brian's backup and when they need me, I'll go in."

Alex Boone has taken notice of Kilgore's improvement. Like Kilgore, Boone had to make a position change as well, starting out at tackle before settling in as San Francisco's starting right guard last season.

Boone and many of the offensive linemen have offered advice to Kilgore to speed up the learning process of handling multiple roles on the offensive line.

"He's come a long way," Boone said. "Coming in and learning the system, it's a hard system. I think he's done a great job. He's very versatile, which is good for him. It's good for this team. He's really understanding our offense and being a good leader out there."

Kilgore wants to become even more versatile to increase his gameday role in 2013. The offseason provides time to hone his technique at each position along the line.

"Eventually I want to be a starter," Kilgore stated. "Right now, knowing what to do at every spot helps me out. Being able to help the other guys out when we're out on the field helps them out as well."

Looking like he's in the best shape of his NFL career, Kilgore is eager to compete this offseason for a greater role. 

"I really want to step up my game,” Kilgore said. “Not pushing anybody's buttons or anything, but me pushing my game to be a starter will also help the starters push themselves. In the end, we all get better from it. Competition is good. The offseason, that's all it's about."


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