There was a lot of chatter in the locker room after day one of the San Francisco 49ers offseason program. It definitely had the "first day of school" vibe.
Monday marked the start of the 2013 voluntary workouts at 49ers headquarters. Veterans and newcomers alike were eager to begin working towards another Super Bowl run. The strong turnout for the first phase of the team's offseason strength program saw a spirited locker room of players bantering on the opening day of workouts. Most were making sure their teammates had been keeping in shape since the end of last season.
The opening workout also included prominent newcomers to the roster getting to know their new teammates.
"This is the grind period, the work period," recently signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. "To have so many guys out here, it's encouraging."
Asomugha, the veteran defensive back who signed a one-year contract earlier this month, wanted to get into the facility immediately to get comfortable with his new teammates.
Likewise, young players on the roster wanted to continue their development at the team's facility.
"It feels good to come back and know what's expected of you," second-year safety Trenton Robinson explained. "You know what you need to do and you know what you need to do to perform and to play.
Robinson, a sixth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, was joined by several young players on the 49ers roster who've suddenly become veterans in San Francisco's football program.
"It helps being through it the past few years," third-year offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore detailed. "Knowing what to do and what I need as far as what my body needs to get ready, it definitely helps."
The first phase of the offseason program allows the players to lift weights and condition at the team's Santa Clara headquarters under the supervision of the team's strength and conditioning staff. The process will last two weeks and then move into a second phase of workouts which permit 49ers coaches to work on the field with players.
"I'm excited to get back and to see guys in the locker room and get ready to do these lifts, OTAs and get into camp," said Robinson, a former Michigan State product who's eager to compete for the vacant safety position in the 49ers defense.
"Real excited about that," Robinson said of the upcoming competition to replace outgoing safety Dashon Goldson, a two-time Pro Bowler who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the start of free agency. "I'm just going to take it one day at a time and keep on working."
The 2013 offseason program marks the first full offseason the 49ers will be able to utilize the team's new weight room which was completed last October.
The weight room is the perfect tool for strength coach Mark Uyeyama, a popular coach among the 49ers players.
"The best part of Uey's program is that it's something new every time," Kilgore said. "You're not doing the same thing and he challenges you not just in the weight room, but on the field with the conditioning."
Players especially enjoy Uyeyama's open-minded approach to workouts and how they're tailored to specific individual needs.
It wasn't lost on newcomers like Asmugha, either.
"There's always a plan in place," the veteran cornerback said of his past experience with offseason training. "You follow the plan. Uey's right on par with that, so it's good."
For now, the players are only scratching the surface of the 49ers strength program. They enjoy the challenges being presented to them from Uyeyama's staff, but they also appreciate the bonds that continue to be strengthened through offseason training in the Bay Area.
"First day, you're basically seeing the brothers," cornerback Perrish Cox said. "You've been away from them all offseason, you get to see everyone you play with and it's like being back at home with your brothers."
Lifting weight to improve strength is one thing, but doing it with fellow teammates makes it even more enjoyable.
"Guys are definitely excited," the versatile interior lineman said. "You can definitely tell guys have been working out and are excited to see their teammates. The tempo was good today, everybody was into it and you could tell we've definitely been working."