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Offseason Q&A: Tavares Gooden


The San Francisco 49ers recently wrapped up veteran minicamp and are now taking time off to get ready and recharged for training camp. According to many, the team's offseason program was a rewarding experience which enabled the players to gain understanding of the playbook while getting prepared for the upcoming season. Find out how the offseason workouts went for linebacker and special teams ace Tavares Gooden, who enters his second season with the 49ers.

Q: What was the best aspect of having an entire offseason with Jim Harbaugh and his staff?
A: It's been cool to have this opportunity to show the coaches what I really have. Now I just feel like having a whole summer with the team and getting to know the players and getting familiar with the playbook and the terminology will help me. The thing that I really like about it is that I'm here and I'm able to be with the team and the coaches every day. I didn't have that opportunity last offseason because I came here in Week 1 of the season and I had to learn on the fly.

Q: What was your favorite drill of the offseason program and how did it improve your game?
A: The linebacker drills here are a little different than what I've done before in my career. The difference here is that we move a lot faster in our drills. Out here, I call linebackers coach Jim Leavitt "Drill Faster with the Drill Master" Jim Leavitt. That's what I call him: Drill Master. He drills us up. You've got to get warmed up before practice and then get ready to go. I didn't do the gauntlet drill but ask Randy Moss about my hands. I caught a one-handed pass from Alex Smith the other day. I got decent hands; I got nice hands.

Q: How prepared do you feel like the defense will be heading into the season?
A: We did some unimaginable things last season with very short time with a team that was just put together. This season we actually have time to learn what's going on. That added with the talent has added depth to our team because guys are getting to understand positions better and it's expanding our team. It's just knowledge. I'm approaching it right now like I'm a rookie because that's what I feel like, so I'm taking everything serious like I'm a rookie. I'm starting back over and I'm trying to reset my mind. That's what I've been doing throughout these OTAs and minicamp. I'm asking questions like I've never even played the game before and that's what makes guys better is when they ask questions and start to realize how to become a student of the game. If I make a mistake in practice I want to learn what I did wrong. I'm constantly thinking about those things before the play so I don't repeat those mistakes and can improve my game.

Q: Is there a particular teammate that you really clicked with this offseason?
A: It would have been C.J. Spillman but he doesn't really hang out with me. It would have been Tramaine Brock but he's a Heat fan. So it's Larry Grant.

Q: What do you like to do in the Bay Area when you're not playing football?
A: Video games. I hang out with my son and future wife at the house out here. After football it's family and that's it. Nothing else. Got three dogs I got to walk back home so after this I head back there and take care of my responsibilities.

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