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San Francisco 49ers rookie running back Trey Sermon has agreed to document his first NFL training camp leading up until his first NFL game. Sermon is sharing a first-person account of his experiences. In his second blog entry, Sermon recaps his arrival for training camp, his first padded practice and preparing for his preseason debut.


I'm going to be honest with y'all, man. I was nervous. Like, this is a real NFL training camp. These guys are coming to PLAY.

I told you guys last time that I spent my summer training back in Atlanta. I focused on getting better at my route running. This offseason, I challenged myself to continue to be sharp with it and to return for my first training camp in the best shape.

Every moment I got, I was in my iPad studying this playbook. Whatever you've heard about Kyle Shanahan's playbook, it's probably right. It's a lot. There's still some stuff that I'm just trying to remember and trying to focus on. I know at the running back position, you have to be very detailed. And with coach Bobby Turner, you have no choice. It's a lot. A lot of motion. The running backs are so involved, even in the pass game. You've got to know concepts. And it just helps you play faster when you know what everybody on the field is doing, how blocks are being set up. Literally, everything.

I got into the habit of quizzing myself to make sure I know the ins and outs of this offense, because, at this level, the game is fast. That's how I spend my time away from the facility. If you're able to respond fast and know what you're doing, then you'll be fine. It's definitely been a lot, but I've got the guys in the room. They've been helping me out along the way.

Once I got back to the facility and the whole team arrived, that's when I felt the nerves all over again. I've got to shout out Raheem Mostert and the rest of the running backs for helping me along the way, because I had no idea what to expect.

But one thing's for sure, coach Bobby Turner is going to coach me hard. One thing about coach Bobby T, he means business when we're on that field and in those meeting rooms, man. So, I want to make sure I'm on top of my game as much as possible.

The first day, the team arrived, and it was good to see everybody. Some guys went home, some went on vacation. I kept in touch with a lot of teammates over the summer. But it was good to finally see them in person again and get back to business.

We had a team meeting and I also got to meet with my position group. Everything was in preparation for the next day, our first time back on the field.

It felt good to just put on my jersey again. It was that reminder of why I'm here and what we're trying to accomplish.

Coming out of OTAs, I felt like I was in a good spot with how I wanted to perform. Of course, there were some things I, myself and my coaches wanted me to improve on, but overall, I could feel myself getting more comfortable with the playbook.

I never really get "star struck" but that first practice definitely took me aback. My number was called to take the field. I walked into the huddle and standing to my right was George Kittle. Across from me was Jimmy Garoppolo. Next to him, I see Trent Williams. I'm looking around like, "man, I play with these guys on Madden all the time! I'm actually in the huddle with them!"

And I was like, "wait, I have to pay attention to what the play is." I had to snap out of it quick. It was definitely exciting, but it was a lot to take in. I was blown away. I'll never forget that moment. I think that's when things truly felt real for me.

Man, I play with these guys on Madden all the time! I’m actually in the huddle with them!

Well, that and lining up against this defense. I definitely expected the NFL to be much faster than college but once you're actually on the field, it almost catches you off guard. I often catch up with my running back coach back at Ohio State, Tony Alford, and he's been preparing me for this moment. He told me everything happens faster in the NFL. When I knew I was coming here, I knew the linebackers I would be going up against were going to be nasty. Like Fred Warner. He's bigger than what I'm used to. He's fast. He's running sideline to sideline. Every time I get the ball, I always see him every play. He's that good. But it's been great for me to be able to compete and go against those guys. It only elevates my game when you're practicing against some of the best in the league.

It's awesome being on the field with those guys. But I don't take it to the head. I've gotten reps with the first, second and third-team offense. I just try not to think about it, honestly. I just try to go out there and be the best I can be, regardless of who's on the field with me. I know the 49ers brought me here for a reason. So, I just try to do my part and make sure I'm sharp and on my A-game. However I can help this offense, I'm here to do it.

After getting my first practice out of the way, the nerves were definitely gone. I can sum up the first week of training camp as a ramped-up version of OTAs. Once I got a feel for practice, I just had to match the intensity and pick up my game some more.

Thankfully, it's not too different here than what I did at Oklahoma and Ohio State. With both of those programs, you're expected to pass protect. You've got to protect the quarterback. That's nothing new for me. At Oklahoma, I ran routes and Kyle's been drawing up some things for us running backs here too. Now, I'm just playing at a higher level with a lot more pieces and a lot more thinking.

Just as I was getting comfortable at practice, the nerves kicked in again. Pads. It's different playing with and without pads. I was nervous the first day, honestly, because I knew everyone would be amped up. I was pretty excited as well.

I know what type of runner I am. And not being in pads is really hard to showcase that. So, I was ready to go up against some of the linebackers in drills. In pads, you get an actual feel of what the game is going to be like. You're going to have to bang into some guys and block them for pass pro.

It was exciting, but I was not happy with my first day. I felt like I could have done better making my reads and hitting my holes a little different, which you have to do in pads, too. We watched filmed, assessed and corrected my mistakes. That definitely helped me turn it around for the next practices, including my first practice inside the stadium.

We held an open practice with, I think, more than 12,000 fans. That was my first time having that many fans since my 2019 season at Oklahoma.

I had tunnel vision at first walking out onto the field, just because at the end of the day, I've just got to go out there and practice and prove myself. I've got to be sharp.

But I couldn't help but to notice the fans. It was exciting to have them there and hear them cheer you on. It was definitely a good feeling. I was focused and locked in walking out of the tunnel and then I heard a cheer when I hit the field. I was able to take it in a little bit.

I felt like I did pretty good during the practice but had one hiccup that bothered me. I dropped a ball. That killed me. I rushed my route a little bit and didn't see the ball until the last second. But that was a teaching moment for me. I'm glad I learned it now, so I can avoid those mistakes on Sundays.

Beyond that, I feel like I had a decent day. I try to be sharp and make sure I'm not making mistakes and I'm helping the offense flow.

But now it's time for the real thing. I'm actually getting to play in my first preseason game on Saturday. I'm just ready for any and all opportunities. My goal is just to continue the same thing I've been doing: focusing on the details and staying sharp so that when my number is called, I'm able to perform and help out this offense and do my part. I've been thinking about it for a while. It's crazy to think it's actually here. In the last blog, I talked about going from the National Championship game to training camp this year. Its crazy how things flew by that quick. But I'm definitely excited. And I'm definitely ready.

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