Joshua Garnett Worked from afar to Prepare for 49ers Training Camp

Joshua Garnett's first full-team practice with the San Francisco 49ers took place at the start of a three-day mandatory minicamp.

Due to NFL rules, the rookie guard had to wait until the conclusion of his course work at Stanford to join his veteran teammates in San Francisco's offseason program.

To pass the time, Garnett trained at Stanford and was able to study his playbook and 49ers practice sessions on his tablet, all while finishing up his course work for the Human Biology degree he aims to complete next spring.

Conversations with five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley also helped Garnett gear up for minicamp.

"(It's) real valuable to know that the older guys want you to succeed and want to make sure that you're staying on top of everything," Garnett said. "It was definitely a big help for me to know, not that any of the veterans really care about what I was doing, but they wanted to make sure that I was going to be prepared for when I came in."

Garnett also kept in contact with coaches and his fellow rookies to ask questions about the OTAs he missed. Garnett would write down a script of plays to practice and he proceeded to go to Stanford's practice fields and rehearse his responsibilities on the offensive line. Garnett did all of this before the Cardinal's spring practice sessions.

The dress rehearsals paid off when Garnett saw the field at both guard spots during the recent minicamp.

"(It) felt good," he said. "(There are) first day hiccups for every offensive linemen, I mean pad level, trying to get the footwork back together, but I felt better than I thought I was going to do coming in. Everything's clicking, I feel like my preparation really helped me out."

The 6-foot-5, 321-pound lineman impressed his head coach with his minicamp preparation.

"I think the biggest thing is he didn't stand out," Chip Kelly explained. "Usually you stand out in those situations because you're going the wrong way or the right guard's going right and everybody else is going left. I think he fit in really well."

"You could tell that he's worked in his time away at the football aspect of things. So that was impressive."

A Stanford guy doing extra work. Go figure.

It makes a lot of sense when you consider Garnett's accolades prior to the 49ers trading back into the first round to pick him 28th overall in this year's draft.

Garnett was the ninth unanimous All-American in Stanford history. He won the 2015 Outland Trophy as the nation's top interior lineman and was also selected as the 2015 Morris Trophy winner as the Pac-12's top offensive lineman.

Garnett played at both guard spots during his time in Palo Alto. He could very well continue being a versatile piece for the 49ers during his rookie season.

"Wherever I can fit in best for the team is where they want me to be at right now, but I'm definitely doing all my sets on both sides," Garnett said. "A guard is a guard. You have to be able to kick right and be able to kick left. You never know what's going to happen in a game. You can't be a one-dimensional guy. The more you can do, the more you can be able to play."

Garnett shared the similarities between the zone-blocking scheme employed by the Cardinal and how it compares favorably to San Francisco's offense.

"The footwork on the zone plays we run here is the exact same footwork on the zone plays we ran at Stanford," Garnett shared. "There's really no big difference other than the terminology. That's why I felt comfortable being able to go on my own, because I already knew the footwork and it was a real easy jump for me to go into this predominantly zone offense because it's the same footwork I've been doing for four years at Stanford."

The timing of Garnett's return could not have been any better.

With three days of film at his disposal, Garnett has plenty of reps to review prior to his first NFL training camp.

"It's real valuable being able to have the guys get to know me, the veteran guys and the other rookies get to know me more," Garnett said. "Not just having to text guys but put a name with the face and be able to interact with them. So the first day of training camp you don't just come in and say, 'I'm a new guy to the building.' People at least get to see me for a little bit."

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