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Reid Rotates with First-Team Defense

Posted Jun 5, 2013

As if Eric Reid didn’t have enough on his plate, the rookie safety will have to learn both safety spots on the San Francisco 49ers defense.

As if Eric Reid didn’t have enough on his plate, the rookie safety will have to learn both safety spots on the San Francisco 49ers defense.

The No. 18 overall pick had an opportunity to play both free and strong safety at Tuesday’s Organized Team Activity with Pro Bowl safety Donte Whitner absent from the voluntary workout.

Reid, along with veterans C.J. Spillman and Craig Dahl, each rotated at both safety spots with the first-team defense.

The rookie safety began OTAs with the second-team unit primarily, but has now started to mix in with the first unit. Even when Reid’s not on the field, he’s on the sideline imagining what calls he would make depending on the offensive formation and personnel.

“We got good reps today,” the 6-foot-1, 213-pound safety told reporters after Tuesday's open workout.

Reid is lining up mostly at free safety this offseason, but has to know the responsibilities that come with playing Whitner’s strong safety position.

“Depending on motion or the strength of an offense, your responsibility can change to strong,” Reid said. “The safeties have to know both positions.”

The challenge of learning two positions on defense is welcomed by the LSU product. Reid said the 49ers defense is more complex than the system he ran in college, but feels he can handle the added work load.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s something I like,” Reid said. “I like to challenge myself with, so I’ve got to study my plays at night.”

The 49ers install plays every day which is a challenge to rookies and veteran newcomers. Reid said it’s hard to remember the freshest material and execute it perfectly when the team is running plays on the practice field.

It’s even tougher to carry out a new play call when matching up against the first-team offense.

“If you half-step, Vernon Davis is running by you,” Reid said. “If you don’t know what you’re doing you mess up the guy next to you. You have to be one your toes at all times.”

Studying, however, has never been an issue for Reid. As a two-time All-SEC Academic Honor Roll selection, the cerebral player took pride in calling out plays for LSU’s defense.

Sharing the correct checks and alignments with the 49ers is another welcomed challenge for the rookie safety.

“I could always do better,” Reid said. “There were a couple of calls I was shaky that we installed yesterday, but I’m going to get back in my playbook and get them right for tomorrow.”

Reid’s studying will continue throughout the offseason. The rookie safety feels like it’s easy to do when he’s surrounded by so many hard-working teammates.

“I think they’ve got the right things going, that’s why they were in the Super Bowl,” Reid said of the 49ers defense. “Everything is geared towards winning.”

It starts with Jim Harbaugh, a Michigan Man like Reid’s college coach, Les Miles.

“They have both have their own funny ways,” said Reid, who gave the 49ers coach a few light-hearted comments about appearing on a Judge Judy episode. “I like to play for coaches like that.”

Reid appreciates the culture Harbaugh has created with the 49ers.

“Everything he does is geared toward winning football games,” Reid said. “That’s why his program is so successful.”

More importantly, Reid likes to be a part of winning football and is doing what he can to make sure San Francisco’s defensive unit doesn’t drop off in 2013.

“Every day is new, so I’ve got to come and prove myself,” Reid said.

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