Lessons from Camp Alex rubbed off on S.J. State star

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Lessons from Camp Alex rubbed off on S.J. State star

INDIANAPOLIS -- Duke Ihenacho generally kept to himself during the summer months, but he made sure to constantly observe how the pros do it.Before Ihenacho became the first San Jose State player to become a three-time first-team all-conference selection, he spent the summer before his senior season working alongside many of the 49ers during the NFL lockout."It was cool," Ihenacho said Sunday at the NFL scouting combine. "They were cool guys. They were pretty humble and they let us work in with them. Just having them there, you see the guys in person and you root for them because you know them now. It was a good experience."The 49ers offensive players held two weeks of playbook installations and practices known as "Camp Alex." But the San Jose State workout facilities became the 49ers' home for daily workouts for players on both sides of the ball.
"I remember looking at them as professionals," Ihenacho said. "Nobody was forcing them to be there. They were working to get better because they know it's important to them. I saw that."Ihenacho (6-foot, 213 pounds) was an all-WAC linebacker before moving to safety, where he appears to have a future in the NFL. He has the bloodlines. His brother, Carl, is a 255-pound linebacker with the Raiders.Ihenacho had seven interceptions in his career, with five of them coming in 2008. He said he let too many potential interceptions slip through his hands. And that's an area in which he knows he can improve.
"I've been working hard on my ball skills, and I'm a ballhawk now," Ihenacho said. "I'm a solid tackler, so I'm always around the football because my effort takes me there."Ihenacho said he found himself admiring the 49ers last season during their run to the NFC championship game. He said he envisions himself with some of Dashon Goldson's athleticism coupled with Donte Whitner's physical style.He figures he can step in and become an immediate core special-teams players in the NFL. And the 49ers' special teams definitely caught his eye."Tony Montana," Ihenacho said laughing. "Yeah I YouTube'd it a couple times."

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.

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

SANTA CLARA – The eldest non-kicker on the 49ers’ roster is learning a new position this offseason.

But Ahmad Brooks has plenty of experience adapting to new positions during his 12-year NFL career. He has played inside linebacker, outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in pass-rush situations.

Now, Brooks has moved to the strong side linebacker position -- the “Sam” -- in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“He’s getting them (first-team repetitions) because he deserves them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “Watching how he played last year and then going into this offseason, you never know when a guy who has been around a bunch, if they’re going to feel that they need the offseason like other people do. And Ahmad’s been here every day and he’s needed it just like everyone has anytime you’re learning a new scheme.

“But anytime you have a veteran like that, you worry that, hey, maybe they won’t think that they do need it. But Ahmad has and he’s been here. He’s worked at everything. He’s in good shape. He’s done what we’ve asked in the weight room with Ray and he’s done everything with the position coaches and coordinator on defense. So, I think he’s learning it and he should because he’s putting the work in.”

Brooks, 33, has entered the past three offseasons with his place on the 49ers seemingly in jeopardy. But the 49ers have not been able to find a younger, better player to replace him. Brooks has tied for the team-lead in sacks in each of the past four seasons with 27 sacks over that span.

Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson and undrafted rookie Jimmie Gilbert were the other players who lined up at the Sam position during the first week of 49ers organized team activities.

Brooks and Aaron Lynch, starters at outside linebacker for the 49ers in the previous systems, have the steepest learning curves in the transition to a new defense. Lynch has moved to the team’s pass-rush defensive end position, known as the “Leo.”

“I think techniques are totally different,” Shanahan said. “How you want to take on blocks, how you want to play the run. Ahmad has been around a little longer than Aaron. So he’s probably had a little bit more crossover, some similar schemes.”