The rumors are true. San Francisco 49ers’ rookie quarterback Trey Lance can run. He only played one full season as QB1 for North Dakota State, but in that season, Lance threw 28 TDs, while rushing for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns on the way to a 16-0 and FCS championship in 2019.
At Saturday’s training camp practice (San Francisco’s fourth), those skills were on display, as Lance broke out on both scrambles and designed runs.
“Trey is an impressive dude, not only on the field, but off the field,” said right tackle Mike McGlinchey. “He’s come in and done a great job of getting to know our guys in the locker room and stepping up and handling everything that’s thrown at him. But yeah, he’s a specimen. He rips the ball out there. Obviously, it’s been funny, because we’ve all been kind of waiting for it. We’ve been waiting to see, when he does take off, how it goes. And I think we ran three or four read zones, which is probably three or four more than we’ve ever done in my four years here.”
Kyle Shanahan made it very clear at the start of camp that Jimmy Garoppolo is QB1 and said there is no open quarterback competition, but the rookie’s Saturday performance was impressive.
“Trey’s an exciting football player,” McGlinchey said. “He’s an exciting guy, an unbelievable guy in our locker room. And we’re lucky to have him there and it’s only going to continue to push people to be better. He’s only going to do the same thing and the sky’s the limit for our football team with both him and Jimmy here.”
Even in its prime 2019 form, the 49ers’ defense has struggled against quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray, quarterbacks who can run and are still uber-accurate passers. With both of those QBs being in the NFC West, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is happy his defense has a quarterback of Lance’s caliber on the practice field.
“I’m very appreciative for our offense when they put those plays in, the zone-read type plays, QB movement runs,” Ryans said. “It’s very helpful for us as a defense so when we do face teams like that during the season, it’s not the first time that we’re preparing for it, right? So we have a chance to go through it, to learn, our guys get a chance to learn actually how to defend it versus different defenses. So it’s really, really great work for us. And Trey does, like you said, he broke out today on a couple, he’s doing an excellent job of running those plays as well. So it’s good work on both sides, iron sharpening iron.”
McGlinchey has started training camp both heavier and lighter, with the former being physical and the latter being mental. The right tackle said that he is between 315-320 pounds which is about 25 pounds heavier than where he was last season.
“I eat a lot,” McGlinchey said. “I drink a lot of those shakes and all that and do what I can to keep my weight up and feel good, and obviously come up with a plan to workout probably six days a week from January to April. And then when you start playing football, you got to find your spots here and there. But it was a great offseason. I worked really hard at it, dedicated a lot of stuff to it. I’m proud of it and proud of the way that we worked with my staff and I’m ready to get the ball rolling.”
McGlinchey has also put a lot of work into the mental side of the game.
“I think the most frustrating part of my season last year was the way that I handled it mentally,” McGlinchey said. “I don’t think I did my job in that regard. I didn’t let my myself overcome mistakes. I didn’t let myself overcome the trials and tribulations of what we were going through as a team. I was putting a lot of on myself and it got in the way of me being able to do my job at a high level. And it just kind of kept weighing on me and weighing on me as the season went on. And obviously when you’re in solitary confinement for eight weeks down in Arizona, it doesn’t help either. But that was a big focal point this off season. I had to get my head right. And I feel as though I did that, and I’m excited to be able to do that and continue to grow in that regard and challenge myself every day to get better and not let myself slip back into old habits. And it’s definitely something that I worked on. But it’s easy. It’s easy to do that here. We have a great team, a great staff. It’s a fun place to come to work. And I lost sight of that and I never will again.”
McGlinchey said that he worked with mental sports performance coach Derin McMains, who is the current Director of Mental Conditioning at ReliaQuest. McMains has worked with the San Francisco Giants and was the former Director of Mental Conditioning for the University of Notre Dame, which is where McGlinchey attended college.
“…[McMains]…has been a huge, huge part of my process,” McGlinchey said. “He and I have grown very, very tight. We meet whenever we can now that the season started, but we met once a week in the offseason. He’s done an unbelievable job of helping me find perspective, find focus, find where things go…[E]verybody always tells you the thing that separates you is your mind when you get to this level, but you don’t believe them until things get hard. And then I looked in the mirror and you evaluate that and you look at yourself and say, ‘You know what? The only thing that I’m letting myself not be successful because of, or the thing that’s holding me back, is because I’m not okay with my process, with the way that I’m focusing on my job, with all of that.’ Derin has done a great job with me and helping me in a big way. And I’m very thankful for that friendship that we have and it’s been really cool.”
Mental health is health.
News and Notes
- Tight end George Kittle did not practice, as he had a maintenance day, while linebacker Dre Greenlaw is dealing with a blister on his foot.
- LB Fred Warner did Fred Warner things when he intercepted Garoppolo for what would have been a pick-6. CB Jason Verrett intercepted Garoppolo as well.