Alex Boone has taken one for the team.
The veteran offensive lineman has moved over from right to left guard in training camp. Boone explained his thoughts on the move, why Pierre Garçon is a great fit for the San Francisco 49ers rushing attack and more on Tuesday.
Here are some of the best exchanges in his camp Q&A with the Bay Area media.
Q: How has it been moving to the left side for this training camp?**
A: Great. It's different, obviously, playing next to Anthony (Davis) all those years. Now I go and play next to Joe (Staley). Both great tackles. Footwork's a little different. Handwork, it's a little different. At the end of the day, it's coming along real well.
Q: What's it like working next to Joe?
A: It's great. Joe knows the plays, and we have a lot of fun out there. It's just like playing next to Anthony, only a different side.
Q: We saw you move from left guard to left tackle a lot yesterday. Is that easier than right guard to left tackle?
A: Oh yeah, no question. You're kicking out one position. Guys are a lot less different, a lot less lighter, but at the end of the day, it's a lot less thinking for me. So it will be better.
Q: Haven't you always kind of considered yourself a tackle?
A: I just do what the coaches tell me.
Q: Is there a transition period for this unit? There's been so much stability with this group in recent years, now you've got some new faces mixing.
A: Yeah, it's different. And I think the one thing people forget is that when you play next to somebody, especially in such tight quarters like we do, you have to know that person really well. And you have to know what they're thinking at all times. There has been some miscommunication and things like that, but at the end of the day, we're cleaning it up and it's just part of the process. We gotta keep playing together, the same five guys being out there all the time together and it's coming along pretty well.
Q: How do you like the faster pace (at practice)?**
A: I don't. No, I'm just kidding. It's different. It's hard at first. Obviously, we're not used to anything like that. We took a long time last year to get plays off. That was a problem, and I think everybody knew that was a problem. It pissed a lot of people off, including the offensive line. So for this offense to get rolling, get moving, it's completely different, but at the same time I love it. You're just going. You're not thinking. You're just moving and doing what you're supposed to do.
Q: There were timeouts you had to take and penalties, but was another repurcussion of it that the opposing defense knew when you were going to snap the ball when the clock was winding down and they could fire off the ball?
A: Yeah, when you get to three seconds, people know you're not going on two. It's, "Hurry, hurry!" and you're just off and away. So with this, you can change up the snap count, change up the plays. When you go up to the line with 22 seconds you can do whatever you want. Literally, whatever you want. It's kind of nice to be up there and being able to talk, free range to do a lot of things, as opposed to last year where it was kinda like, "We've got to go."
Q: What's it like going up against Quinton Dial in 1-on-1 pass-blocking drills?
A: It's cool. I think Quinton's a great player. He's very smart. One of the things we've both have been working on is trying to go against each other to work on different things. I think the one thing is he's adapting to different moves. He's such a big guy, people see him, they're like, "That's a nose tackle." But now he's playing defensive end, now he's trying to work on being quicker, being smarter, being faster. So I think when you play a guy like that, he really brings out the best in you because you do have to think more. It's not just some 350-pound dude that's going to run into you full speed. It's a guy that can move, he's got good hands, he's smart, he knows what he's doing, where he's at. So when you get a guy like that, it brings your level of play up and it starts to bring you into the season in a good way.
Q: What are your expectations for this season after some disappointment last year?**
A: After what I've seen so far and the way that we're going, I'm excited about this year. Truly am. I think this is one of the best teams we've had. There are so many guys out there that are doing such great things. Young guys – the veterans – Reggie Bush coming on the team. You see all these guys and they get the philosophy. We're out here to play football. We're not out here to do anything else. We're going to go out, we're going to smash people in the mouth and we're going to have fun. And that's what I'm looking forward to.
Q: How much different is it blocking for Carlos as opposed to Frank (Gore)?
A: Frank had 10 years of experience under his belt. So when you're blocking for Frank, you're blocking for a legend. It was always fun to watch Frank run, and especially when he would get mad at you, the way he'd yell at you was kind of fun, too. Carlos, he's coming along great, and I think he's going to be a great running back in this league. I think he's perfect for this system. I think that anybody that tries to take him head on is going to have a rough day.