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Route 53: Demarcus Dobbs


If you want to unwind after a long day of work, just find the hotel room of Demarcus Dobbs and Sealver Siliga. Chances are you'll be hearing some reggae, slow jams or R&B music floating in the air. At the moment, they've got Ray LaMontagne playing in the iPod.

"Makes the soul feel good, you know?" Dobbs said. "You go through a lot during the day, you got to wind down at night."

It's a grind, this whole training camp thing. Long days filled with meetings, film sessions, challenging weight room workouts and practice. But for undrafted rookies like Dobbs and Siliga, this is the time to make or break their dreams.

As it stands now, Dobbs looks like he's giving the coaching staff a lot more to think about when determining the team's final 53 roster spots. Through the first two preseason games, Dobbs has been a consistent force with the backup defensive unit, racking up seven tackles – the most of any 49ers defensive lineman – and one sack.

"As you look around and see the different positions and you look around at different teams," Dobbs said, "a lot of guys don't get as much playing time as we have. … I see it as a blessing and an opportunity that I have to take full advantage of."

As tough as camp is, Dobbs said he feels lucky to be learning from respected veterans like Pro Bowler Justin Smith and Ray McDonald. Not to mention 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, who is renowned for his combination of knowledge and personality.

"It's a blast," Dobbs said of learning from Tomsula. "Each day you come into the meeting room, you already know he's going to have some kind of joke or some kind of story to tell you. They're meetings you look forward to going to. He's really lightened that side of things for us and he's a great coach, he knows what he's talking about."

For Dobbs, the charismatic kid from Georgia, training camp also marks the first time he's ever lived outside of the Peach State. But the hotels and first-class amenities of the NFL life are a far cry from Dobbs' humble beginnings.

Growing up, the 6-foot-6, 275-pound defensive tackle spent much of his time shuttling between foster homes before settling down at the Bethesda Boys Home in Savannah, Ga. It was there that he first met Danny and Stephanie Britt. Dobbs was interested in basketball then, but that would soon change.

At that point, Dobbs was just a high school freshman, but Danny Britt was the football coach at nearby Cavalry Day School, and he urged Dobbs to try the sport. By his senior year, Dobbs grew so close with the Britts that he moved into their home, becoming an older brother for the Britts' daughters, Southern and Saylor. He had also become one heck of a football player, earning a scholarship to play at the University of Georgia.

But the space between Dobbs and the Britts – who affectionately refer to him as 'Demac' – hasn't diminished their relationship a bit.

"That's pretty much my family," Dobbs said. "It's just like anyone talking to their own mom or their own dad, it's an everyday thing. They've been wondering how I'm doing way out here, missing me."

Dobbs will have another chance to prove his worth on Saturday when the 49ers host the Houston Texans for a 5 p.m. matchup. It will also be another chance make the Britts proud, as he makes his march towards the final 53.

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