Mike Davis' Offseason Grind is Paying Early Dividends in 2016

DENVER -- Flamin' Hot Cheetos were the first to go in Mike Davis' refined diet.

The San Francisco 49ers running back gave up his favorite snack in favor of more fresh fruit and vegetables.

"That was like a heart-breaker," Davis joked with reporters this week in Denver.

Kicking fried foods was just part of Davis' offseason grind. The running back trained diligently while preparing for his second NFL season. That included workouts with Los Angeles Rams running back and Davis' high school friend, Todd Gurley.

The rigorous training sessions, coupled with his lifestyle adjustments, helped Davis arrive to 49ers training camp in shape. The running back knew it's wasn't just San Francisco's coaching staff and front office counting on him.

"My motivation is to help my family," Davis said. "That's the reason why I'm here. Struggling, growing up as a kid, I just want to make sure my family is great."

If San Francisco's preseason opener against the Houston Texans was any indication of things to come, Davis could be in for a successful 2016 campaign. Davis ran the ball five times for 72 yards (14.4 avg.) with a long of 44 yards. The numbers are even more impressive when you consider his statistics as a rookie – 35 carries for 58 yards.

"I'm healthy. I feel like how I was my sophomore year of college," Davis said. "It's really me just going out there and playing angry."

For reference, Davis totaled 1,183 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns during his second season at South Carolina.

The burst and agility he displayed against Houston wasn't fully seen in his rookie season, one that saw Davis suffer a broken hand in Week 8. Davis said himself that he feels like a different player than he was a year ago.

"I feel great," he explained. "Being able to open up more and feel more powerful; there's a lot of things that factor in. As a rookie, sometimes you don't feel as comfortable. Now, once you get that confidence, it's all about having that.

Davis credited Chip Kelly's offense as an additional factor in his increased confidence. The former Gamecock product compared the system to the scheme he thrived in during his time in Columbia, S.C.

"Our offensive scheme is great," Davis said. "Coach Kelly is doing a great job of making us do all the little things right." Davis will look for an encore performance Saturday night against the Denver Broncos at 7 p.m. PT in the teams second preseason contest.

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