If you were within a few blocks of the San Francisco 49ers training facility on Thursday afternoon, you might've heard a certain coach repeatedly shout out one specific order to his players.
That was the word of the day during the 49ers final OTA session of the week – the first open to the media – as Jim Tomsula instructed the offense to huddle, hurry to the line of scrimmage and snap the ball as quickly as possible.
"All I was hearing from him was, 'Tempo! Get on the ball, let's go!'" said wide receiver Quinton Patton.
"Man, everything is fast, fast, fast," rookie running back Mike Davis said. "We're trying to get in as many plays as we can."
According to Tomsula, the reasoning for the accelerated pace is twofold.
"Number one you are getting your conditioning part of it," the first-year coach said. "Number two, it's trying to add the pressure to it so you have to think in a stressful environment offensively. Defensively, that helps you in these critical times in games – the two-minute stuff."
In each of the last two years, the 49ers led the league in delay-of-game penalties. The team had 11 in 2013 and nine in 2014. Veteran left tackle Joe Staley commented that those miscues were a major catalyst for the 49ers deciding to speed up practice.
"It's definitely a point of emphasis because that was something that we haven't done a good job of," Staley said. "We tried to address it as much as we could, but you can only address it so much in Week 6 or 7 in the season. This is the time for the standard to be set for what to expect. Then, when you get into the season and get amped up, it becomes second nature in how you operate."
The 49ers deployed a hurry-up offense last season in a Week 3 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. The up-tempo wrinkle resulted in touchdowns on each of the team's first two possessions.
On Thursday, the team's scheduled two-hour practice finished a half hour early due to the hastened pace of the team drills. Players on both sides of the ball shared Tomsula's belief that the tempo will pay off this fall.
"It helps mentally when guys are out there tired, and we're running quick plays," Davis said. "It makes guys not think too much, you just know who you have to block and who you have to look at."
Added defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddie: "When we see a team like Philadelphia or any of those other teams, we don't have to change the way we practice because that's the norm for us… There's no time being wasted, and we're getting the work in."