It's a return to the Bay Area for Berekely alum and six-time Pro Bowler Alex Mack. During the latest episode of the Unscripted Podcast presented by Microsoft Surface, 49ers senior reporter Keiana Martin and Mack covered a myriad of topics including his transition back to Northern California, being reunited with Kyle Shanahan and how he landed at the center position. Here are seven things we learned from the center:
Food Game on Point
It's no secret that Mack has an affinity for food. On Instagram, Mack shares videos of him and his family in the kitchen trying out new recipes. But what is the center's speciality?
Rack of Lamb.
"It sounds really impressive but it's actually very easy," Mack said. "I love lamb. And it's one of those things that if you can do it yourself, it can be absolutely delicious and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg like if you go to a restaurant."
Reuniting with Kyle Shanahan
For the third time in his career, Mack is linking up with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Previously, the two first joined forces in 2014 with the Cleveland Browns and again in 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons. Reunited again, Mack said working in Shanahan's offense allows players to be more confident as blockers.
"The No. 1 thing that's amazing about this offense is how everything ties in together," Mack said. "That they have committed to the outside zone scheme and everything feeds off of that. As a blocker, you can be very dependent on where the running back's going to be, how your fits are and be very confident in what you do."
The Sweaty Truth
Everybody sweats. End of story.
Getting Settled at Center
Not all players start at the position they play in the NFL. Joe Staley was a tight end in high school before making the switch to tackle and Kyle Juszczyk ran some wildcat plays at Harvard, where he was also a three-time All-Ivy League selection at tight end. For Mack, the center has stayed put throughout his time at the University of California and 13 years in the league.
"It's a duo of the easiest position because you usually have some help combined with the hardest because you're snapping a ball, you're closest to the ball," said Mack. "Everything's happening really quick as an offensive center."
Offensive Line Bonding
Despite not having gone on a karaoke outing — yet, the 49ers offensive linemen are bonding on and off the field. During a barbecue, the group got together for a giant potluck with Laken Tomlinson even bringing his famous jerk chicken. But Mack is looking forward to the bond that forms as the team hits the field for the regular season.
"The No. 1 way we'll bond is playing games," said Mack. "Being out there going through the hardships of a season. That's where things will get forged."
Battles in the Trenches
One-on-one reps were a highlight at 49ers camp, with Trent Williams, Mike McGlinchey, Laken Tomlinson and the rest of the team's offensive line going toe-to-toe with the 49ers heralded defensive line. For Mack, the defensive line "was a problem" throughout camp.
"I'm excited about watching that on the sideline and hopefully seeing other people struggling," he said.
Building a Detroit Coney Dog
In true Unscripted podcast fashion, Mack went item-by-item through a Detroit Coney Dog, assigning ingredients to different groups on the team. Here's how his offense-only hotdog looked:
- Bun: Offensive Line
- Hotdog: the Football
- Chili: Tight Ends
- Mustard: Running Backs
- Sweet Chopped Onions: Wide Receivers