James forced to learn unfamiliar concept: Huddling up

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James forced to learn unfamiliar concept: Huddling up

SANTA CLARA -- From what was seen of running back LaMichael James during his Oregon career, he might've been claustrophobic and nobody would've known.In his first week of 49ers training camp, James is getting accustomed to entering an offensive huddle. And when he runs the ball between the tackles, he does not have the kind of space and decisions that were commonplace in the Oregon spread offense."Yeah, there is less room, but I think it's easier, too," James said Thursday. "At Oregon, they're all spread out, but you have to make a decision ASAP. It's either there or there. It's not one of those things, where you know it (the hole) is going to be there. When I was at Oregon, it could've gone anywhere."RELATED: LaMichael James' stats
James, the 49ers' second-round draft pick, never entered a huddle during his college career. The Oregon offense received play calls from hand signals."Just being in a huddle, I think that's slow to me because I've never been in a huddle," James said. "At Oregon, we ran plays back-to-back-to-back. I never just ran a play and got in a huddle. I had to adjust to that."
And James didn't seem to have many people on opposing defenses around him, either. Running out of the spread offense, James averaged 7.3 yards per carry while gaining 1,805 yards and 18 touchdowns."He was a very effective inside and outside runner," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "He's a tough in-between-the-tackles runner in college. Now it's a matter of him adapting to that in the pros."RELATED: Meet the Rookies -- 49ers' RB LaMichael James
But there are legitimate questions about the pounding James can take in the NFL at his size (5-foot-9, 195 pounds). Roman, however, believes James can be an effective inside runner with the 49ers."There's a general misconception among some people who think just because a guy isn't a big guy, he can't run inside," Roman said. "I think we have the guy who proves that theory wrong, and that's Frank (Gore). He's not a giant, but he has such incredible vision and foot quickness and his mind and his feet work together. LaMichael is a guy who has really good vision, as well."Running the football in college is totally different than running it in the NFL in the sense that the defensive lines in the National Football League are so much more physical and adept and skilled, man for man."James is battling for a role and playing time, along with Kendall Hunter and Brandon Jacobs, behind Gore.

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan will retain the role he held the past nine seasons in his first year as head coach of the 49ers.

Shanahan eschewed the formality of naming an offensive coordinator because he will keep those duties for himself. Still, Shanahan made it clear that he alone will not be able to fix the 49ers’ offense.

Shanahan has assembled a supporting cast that he said makes him comfortable to delegate responsibilities whenever his attention has to be focused on something other than the team’s offense.

“I mix it up,” said Shanahan, who previously held offensive coordinator roles with Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta. “Different guys have different attributes.”

Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur joined Shanahan after time together on the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive staff. McDaniel is the run-game specialist, while LaFleur, the wide receivers coach, is the pass-game specialist.

Tight ends coach Jon Embree, formerly the head coach at Colorado, is Shanahan’s assistant head coach. Shanahan said Embree has a vocal role on his staff.

Moreover, long-time NFL running backs coach Bobby Turner is a trusted assistant after spending 14 seasons in Denver and four more in Washington with Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father. Turner coached under Kyle Shanahan the past two seasons with the Falcons.

”Bobby Turner’s been an assistant head coach for our teams we’ve had in the past and anytime that I need him to take over, he does,” Shanahan said. “So it depends what period it is, depends what we’re talking about.”

The 49ers opened organized team activities last week. It was the first time the 49ers’ rookies and veterans were together on the field for offense vs. defense practices. Shanahan said it takes some adjustment for him to figure out how to best budget his time during the workouts.

“I’m used to knowing exactly where to go and what to do and I always did that from an offensive coordinator standpoint which I still do a lot of those responsibilities,” Shanahan said. “So, at times, I feel most comfortable when I go to do that because that’s something to do. But, when I pass it over to some other guys and let them do it, I find myself walking around a lot and I’m not used to that.

“It feels awkward, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think I should walk around and watch everyone and see it. I always see it on the tape, but that’s later at night. You want players to know you’re there and paying attention to everything and I usually try to cover that in meetings the next day also.”

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.