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Sermon Sets His Sights on a Breakout Sophomore Season

Running backs and assistant head coach Anthony Lynn is dedicating at least a portion of his first training camp with the 49ers to getting better acquainted with each of the running backs in his room. As more conversations happen, Lynn's understanding of each player grows, but his early takeaway from the group is pretty simple.

"They're all about their business," Lynn said when asked about the groups' quieter demeanor. "I like that. I've had those guys that are not as quiet, and that's a lot more to manage."

The dedication of second-year running back Trey Sermon to his 'business' this offseason has been apparent, catching the attention of head coach Kyle Shanahan long before the start of training camp in late July.

"Watching him in OTAs, he was as yoked up as he could be," Shanahan said. "He was as in-shape as he could be. You could tell the guy learned from his rookie year and wants to do a lot more. That's the start of it."

"I decided to put on a little bit more muscle and a couple more pounds," Sermon said. "I am in really good shape. I put a lot of work in this offseason, and it's definitely noticeable."

Sermon also spent time training with Vikings Pro Bowler and All-Pro running back Dalvin Cook and Buffalo Bills Devin Singletary during the offseason and entered the SAP Performance Facility ready to ball.

"I picked up a couple things from him (Cook)," Sermon said. "Since we are in a similar scheme, being able to trust my eyes is one thing he told me. He said that I have great vision, I just have to trust what I see. That helps me play a lot faster."

The running back is looking for a more productive season in 2022 after an injury-filled rookie year. Sermon suffered a concussion in his NFL debut and later landed on Injured Reserve in Week 12 due to an ankle injury. The former third-round pick closed out his 2021 campaign with just 41 carries for 167 yards and a touchdown.

"I definitely learned a lot from last season, even though I wasn't playing," Sermon said. "I was still practicing hard and getting those mental reps. I definitely took a lot of positives from it. That's what prepared me now, another year in the system, I'm more comfortable, which is allowing me to play faster."

In this first half of training camp, Sermon has been taking reps with both the first and second team offense and has shown he is more decisive in his runs.

As far as his new running backs coach is concerned, all the noise from Sermon's first season is in the rearview mirror.

"I hear about last season with Trey, but Trey and I had the talk when I got here," Lynn said. "It's a clean slate with me. Trey has a tremendous skill set. I liked him coming out of college, and I really like what he's doing right now."

Sermon is part of a younger skewing running back room that includes Elijah Mitchell, Tyrion Davis-Price, Jordan Mason, JaMycal Hasty and Jeff Wilson Jr.

"We all bring something a little different," Sermon said. "We're still very effective in this system. We run the ball a lot, and each one of us are great runners and have great vision. That's what makes it so effective."

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