Quinton Dial Brings Mean Streak and Technique to 49ers Defensive Line

"Punch and post."

For those who watched Jim Tomsula instruct defensive linemen over the past eight seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, the aforementioned phrase was commonplace.

Tomsula used the "punch and post" drill during individual periods to help his players develop leverage techniques to defeat a double-team block.

Now as head coach, Tomsula observes his former position group go through the drill led by defensive line coach Scott Brown.

The technique is a staple for any 3-4 defensive lineman. It's also been a hallmark of Quinton Dial's development with the 49ers.

The third-year defensive tackle is aiming to replace Justin Smith as San Francisco's physical presence on the strong side of the defensive line. Thus, Dial's "punch and post" skills have to be point.

It was certainly noticeable at Monday's camp session when the 6-foot-5, 315-pound lineman used a heavy-handed, two-arm punch to knock back his original blocker and before turning his hips inside to split the second incoming blocker.

"It's a pretty thing," Tomsula said of Dial's technique hours before the 49ers will hold their first padded training camp session of 2015.

The former line coach was most pleased to talk about how the fifth-round pick in 2013 has been able to develop his individual techqniues and effectively transfer them onto the field. Dial started six games last season, totaling 30 tackles and two sacks in his sophomore campaign.

"The one thing I can tell you about Quinton Dial (is), from the day he got here until today, every single day, Quinton Dial has gotten better," Tomusla said. "Every single day.

"He just busts his tail. He's an incredible person, an incredible husband, father, friend, "(and he's) great in the locker room. He is incredibly scary when it comes to putting a helmet on."

Scary, indeed.

Dial has earned a reputation around the 49ers locker room for being a kind-hearted person off the field and a complete beast when he steps on it.

"He's the true definition of a switch," Tomsula said.

The combination of technique and mean streak is something Dial developed as a backup behind Smith. But with "The Cowboy" retirement being made official and San Francisco having a glaring need at right defensive tackle, the 25-year-old pro has stepped up to fill the void. He's especially eager to put his physicality to good use.

Dial told reporters he was champing at the bit to put on pads and showcase his phsyical tools.

In making the statement, the soft-spoken lineman might have offered one of the top quotes of camp.

"It's something I've been looking forward to for a long time," Dial began. "Doing all this offseason training, pushing all these weights, somebody has to pay for all the work I've been putting in. I can't wait."

Dial's impressive strength, however, can only go so far.

This is why the "punch and post" portions of practice mean so much.

"I try to perfect my game and be technician," Dial said.

The young lineman has also been studying up on Smith's game tape to get ready for the upcoming season. In doing so, Dial recognizes that he won't be the same player Smith was for the 49ers.

Dial is going to do it his way.

"All I can do is take what I learned from (Smith) and try to put it into my game," Dial said. "Everybody is different. I'm going to play how I'm going to play."

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