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."

Waiting for Shanahan could be a good thing for 49ers

Waiting for Shanahan could be a good thing for 49ers

The 49ers were willing to be patient in securing their next head coach.

Depending on the outcome of the Atlanta Falcons’ game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, they could be required to wait another two weeks.

The other five organizations with vacancies after the regular season have filled their head-coach positions with four assistants from teams that did not qualify for the playoffs and former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, whom the Denver Broncos hired after his team was bounced in the AFC wild-card round.

Early in the 49ers’ search to replace Chip Kelly, the top targets appeared to be Josh McDaniels and Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinators for two of the top-three scoring teams in the NFL.

The coach-general manager team of McDaniels and New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was the runaway favorite to be the package deal, according to sources close to the 49ers’ coaching search.

But when Caserio chose to remain as Bill Belichick’s top personnel lieutenant – just has he has in the past when other opportunities presented themselves – the job became less attractive to McDaniels, according to those sources. McDaniels announced on Monday he would remain with the Patriots for at least another year.

With McDaniels out of the picture, Shanahan became the clear favorite over Seattle assistant Tom Cable. And once Cable publicly stepped aside due to suspicions he was only being used to secure a commitment from Shanahan, only one candidate remained for the job.

Since the middle of this week, Shanahan has been the presumptive coach of the 49ers. Falcons coach Dan Quinn was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator two years ago when he was officially hired just hours after the Super Bowl. He knows he drill. And this week he announced to the Falcons staff that Shanahan would be the next coach of the 49ers, according to the NFL Network.

Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game, the 49ers will be allowed to interview Shanahan next week – most likely, Tuesday in Atlanta. Shanahan will be involved in the process to hire the next general manager. Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton appears to be the favorite. The 49ers expect the general manager position to be filled early in the week.

If the Falcons lose, the 49ers would be able to hire Shanahan on their own time frame. It would not be expected to take long.

But if the Falcons win, the 49ers would have to wait until after Feb. 5, when the Super Bowl will be played in Houston, to hire Shanahan.

There is an advantage to being forced to wait. In the long term, the 49ers could benefit from their next head coach gaining the experience of a Super Bowl week and calling a game on the biggest stage in all of sports.

Chargers plan to hire Bradley as defensive coordinator

Chargers plan to hire Bradley as defensive coordinator

Former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has agreed to become defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers, the club announced Saturday.

The 49ers were reportedly in pursuit of Bradley to join the staff of presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan. Bradley spent four seasons as Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator prior to landing the Jacksonville job in 2013. The Jaguars were 14-48 during Bradley's tenure.

Bradley was also reportedly the top candidate for Washington’s defensive coordinator position. The Chargers announced their plan to hire Bradley to join Anthony Lynn’s staff.

Shanahan, the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, confirmed this week he intends to take part in a second interview with the 49ers early next week after the NFC Championship game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. He remains as the only candidate for the 49ers' opening, which became open when Chip Kelly was fired after the team's 2-14 season.

The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until the Falcons’ season is over. Shanahan is expected to be involved in the process to hire the 49ers’ general manager, who replaces fired Trent Baalke. Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton appears to be the front-runner. He is scheduled for a second interview, likely on Tuesday in Atlanta.

Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough is the only other individual the 49ers interviewed who remains “in play” for the GM job, according to sources.