Alex Boone admires the way football used to be played.
"I feel like offensive lines in this league have gotten away from what they used to be," the 49ers right guard told 49ers.com. "You watch the old tape of guys like Jonathan Ogden, Tony Boselli and those guys – they were nasty guys. They would hit you in the mouth and they didn't care."
Boone is making it his mission to make the present feel like the past.
When the fourth-year lineman was "Mic'd Up" by 49ers Studios earlier this season, Boone was heard telling his teammates to "be savages out there." That saying is intended to do much more than motivate. It's also meant to inspire an "old-school" mentality adopted by offensive lines of the 1960s and 1970s.
"Those guys were crazy," Boone said. "They didn't care if you knew it. They didn't care if you had something to say. They would hit you in the mouth. I think being a savage is just that. You're going out and you're doing whatever you have to do. You're going to hit somebody in the mouth and you don't care if they know it's coming."
Boone doesn't just talk the talk, but he backs it up with his play on the field.
When Boone was asked to replace Joe Staley at left tackle after the Pro Bowl lineman went down with a knee injury against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, Boone made the adjustment from right guard and made it look easy.
"It's hard because you're going from an inside position on the right side to an outside position on the left side," Boone said. "You get speed rushers on the outside like (Rams defensive end) Robert Quinn. It took about 10 seconds. I was like, 'I don't really have time to think about this. I have to go.'
"What else am I going to do? Think about it or call another timeout? You have to go, you have to be able to adapt and go out there and just play football."
A left tackle at Ohio State, Boone felt comfortable with the transition and may be called upon this Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks because Staley's status remains uncertain.
"Going out there, I think I've proved that I can play left tackle in this league and play it well," Boone said. "I'm just happy to be on the football field."
With left guard Mike Iupati also a question mark for Sunday, the 49ers offensive line will be tested against Seattle's front seven. No matter what lineup he is a part of entering the game, Boone knows they'll be ready for the challenge.
"They're a very feisty team," Boone said. "You watch film on them and they're always getting to the ball, they're hitting guys. If you're around the pile, they're hitting you. If you thought last week was chippy, this week is going to be more so. This is a heated rivalry and they hold the No. 1 card right now and they're a good team. They're holding it because they deserve it.
"Sometimes you have to grab the bull by the horns."