SANTA CLARA -– It didn’t take long for running back Jarryd Hayne to get a taste of wearing football pads.
Hayne's first repetition during a blitz-pickup drill matched him against hard-hitting 49ers linebacker Nick Moody on Tuesday in the team’s first padded practice of training camp.
Hayne, the former Australian rugby league star, held his own in the drill. But he admits it came at a price.
“My neck is pretty sore,” Hayne said. “It’s something I always knew, just keep working on technique and make sure I’m getting the right fits with those linebackers. It was a pretty tough drill.”
The 49ers have one more padded practice scheduled for Wednesday evening at Levi's Stadium before the team is given a day off.
Hayne is expected to take part in the practice. He said he plans to sleep most of Thursday to give his body some much-needed rest.
One of the big questions for Hayne is how he will be able to transition to playing with pads. The 49ers wanted to see if he would be able to make the adjustment to playing with a low pad level.
“There’s obviously reasons why you keep it low,” Hayne said. “(You’re) harder to tackle and your momentum going forward is a lot harder to penetrate. So I understand that concept. It’s just getting used to it.
“Being able to keep low and to run and to step and change the point of contact at such a quick time is the biggest transition. That’s part of the challenge, part of the journey and I’ve embraced it. And I’ll work on it every time I get a chance.”
--Quarterback Colin Kaepernick said of Hayne: "Very talented. Very gifted naturally. Someone that has progressed a great deal since the spring. And I think yesterday in pads was a little more comfortable for him because he knew he could just go. Looking forward to see how this preseason plays out for him."
---Special-teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey has known Jim Tomsula since they coached together in NFL Europe in 2002. What stands out to McGaughey the fun the coaching staffs had during long meetings that ended in the wee hours.
“Very detailed. Extremely enthusiastic. The players loved him. He’s a caring person. He’s a person that’s genuine,” McGaughey said. “What you see is what you get and he is a workaholic. He’s one of those guys that, we used to be up until 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning, just watching tape and you look at your watch and go, ‘Oh crap. We have to work tomorrow.’
“It’s just one of those deals where it felt like you wasn’t working and just had so much fun talking football and being able to just learn, just watching tape and just kind of absorb the game and get absorbed in your work.”
---The 49ers had a high opinion of cornerback Shareece Wright when they evaluated him as a free agent. Wright started 14 games for the San Diego Chargers last season. He did not record an interception. And he was flagged for 13 penalties.
But Baalke saw a player that opposing offenses largely avoided. Wright was one of five cornerbacks who played at least 800 to give up fewer than 41 receptions, according to Pro Football Focus, .
But Wright said he knows he can do better than what he showed last year.
“I know there’s a lot more to me and my game,” Wright said. “I know there’s no excuses for my season last year. But obviously, it wasn’t good enough. I want to be that player the 49ers believe that I am, and that I know I can be. It’s time to be that guy.”
---Kicker Phil Dawson and punter Bradley Pinion will compete for the job on kickoffs. Although Pinion clearly has the stronger leg, McGaughey said he is not ruling out Dawson for the chore.
“They’re both very talented. Phil’s done it for a long time. Bradley has a great, young leg and we’ll see how it shakes out,” McGaughey said.
“Phil can do everything. You’re talking about a guy who kicked in Cleveland forever. Every kick you can possibly have in the bag, he’s got it. So I mean, it becomes the young gun with power and the old veteran with all the tricks of the trade. So, I look forward to seeing both of those guys compete.”