James looks to get up to speed with 49ers offense

July 23, 2012, 9:23 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- While most of the 49ers were taking part in offseason workouts on the team's practice field, rookie running back LaMichael James had some alone time with his playbook.NFL rules prohibit rookies from taking part in a team's offseason program until the school he attended holds its graduation ceremonies. James attended Oregon, which is on the quarters system. And that meant a mid-June graduation.
James, a second-round draft pick was allowed to begin work at the 49ers' practice facility only after the veterans had already departed for the offseason.He has yet to meet running back Frank Gore. And he has only communicated with veteran running back Brandon Jacobs via text messages.But James was among the rookies and selected veterans to report to training camp over the weekend and begin practices. He said he is comfortable with the strides he has made in learning the system. And he should be further along for when the veterans report later this week for the first full-squad practice on Friday.RELATED: 49ers rookies excited to see their jerseys in lockers
"I feel like I've made great progression in that department, getting into the playbook and learning the plays," James said on Monday. "I've been getting with Colin (Kaepernick) and he's been helping me out. A lot of the quarterbacks and other players are helping me out, bringing me along. (Running backs) coach Tom Rathman is spending extra time with me just to get the playbook down."James averaged 7.3 yards a carry during his final season at Oregon. His game is built around speed, and his goal is to become so familiar with his assignment that he can make a swift impact.
"I want to get each and every day," James said. "When a player doesn't know what he's doing, he tends to play slow. When you're in the NFL, everybody's fast."

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