Rookie 49ers running back loses weight, gains confidence

When the 49ers selected Joe Williams in the fourth round of this year’s draft, many wondered if head coach Kyle Shanahan had found his next dynamic running back.

When the offseason program rolled around, the product from the University of Utah was out of shape, unready for life in the NFL. And that’s not a read from journalists — general manager  John Lynch said so during a radio appearance on KNBR.

“I thought I was in shape just because I was doing a lot of stuff for the combine and pro day,” Williams explained Friday. “But being out here with guys who’ve been eight, nine, 10 years in the league, who really have their bodies in shape mentally and physically. I wasn’t there yet.”

So Williams stayed in Santa Clara after the rookie minicamps and OTAs and worked with strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright and his staff.

Training camp hasn’t been a tour de force so far, but Williams has steadily improved following the day off on Tuesday and his coach has taken notice, but he won’t get carried away just yet.

“Especially with the younger guys, they’ve got to learn the speed of the game, how to practice.” Shanahan said.

“A lot of these guys haven’t hit like that in practice, some guys don’t know how to practice without pads which was more OTAs and earlier on. Joe, he got a couple good looks [Thursday], which sometimes that’s what they need to spring a little bit of confidence. We’re always hoping it will click because we know he’s got some ability.”

jpalmer@sfexaminer.com

Just Posted

Mayor sets deadline to empty seismically unsafe jail, but city still lacks a plan to make it happen

On the 30th anniversary of the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake, Mayor London… Continue reading

E-scooter company Skip announces layoffs after losing SF permit

San Francisco-based e-scooter company Skip this week announced pending layoffs for roughly… Continue reading

SF files motion to dismiss NRA’s lawsuit over ‘domestic terrorist’ label

San Francisco filed a motion Thursday to dismiss the lawsuit filed against… Continue reading

Thirty years after Loma Prieta, is San Francisco ready for the next ‘big one?’

Bay Area residents breathed a sigh of relief this week after a… Continue reading

With Loftus set to take office, poll shows voters disapprove of last-minute DA appointment

Mayor London Breed made an unpopular decision when she named candidate Suzy… Continue reading

Most Read