Boone leans on 'competition' to help with new role

August 1, 2012, 8:55 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- Alex Boone has found an unlikely resource in his quest to solidify himself as the 49ers' starting right guard.Boone is receiving help from his chief competitor.The front-runner throughout the offseason program to win the starting job at right guard, Boone reported to training camp with a new threat to his potential starting role. The 49ers signed 11-year professional Leonard Davis. And, now, the 49ers have another legitimate option to plug into the starting lineup.It did not take Boone long to becomes acquainted with Davis. And it did not take Davis long to indicate to Boone that he was there to help. On the first day they were together in the 49ers' offensive line meeting room, Boone fired off a question to Davis, who responded with an answer on how he would approach a situation that presented itself on film."Some of the rookie were kind of looking around, 'Isn't he competing against you?'" Boone said Wednesday. "But Leonard's a great guy. I know when we get on the field, there's going to be competition, but if I have a chance to learn from a guy who's been in the league as long as he has and has been to the Pro Bowl and has 155 starts, why wouldn't I do that?"Boone, who has always played tackle, is now tackling the challenge of moving to guard."I knew it was going to be different," Boone said. "I was talking to (defensive line coach) Jim Tomsula about that. It's just less space. The first day, I found myself trying to create some space. But you just have to get into that mindset of being a mauler."And how has that worked out?"I'm the wrong person to ask," Boone said.At that point, teammate NaVorro Bowman was walking past. And Boone called out to the 49ers' All-Pro linebacker for confirmation."Am I a mauler?" Boone asked Bowman."Yeah, you're a mauler," Bowman confirmed.Boone (6-foot-8, 315 pounds) does not have the size of a prototype guard. Davis is at least two inches shorter and 40 pounds heavier. Boone is doing plenty of learning on the job -- especially since the pads went on for the first time Sunday.
He is working constantly with right tackle Anthony Davis on communication against the 49ers' outstanding pass rush that comes from outside linebacker Aldon Smith and left defensive Justin Smith."I'm working on staying low, that's the big thing," Boone said. "It's getting better and better. And I'm feeling more comfortable. There's no doubt in my mind that I'll do this job."