SANTA CLARA – One of the benefits of not having coaches behind the huddle during practice is the 49ers’ quarterbacks are working on their problem-solving skills during training camp.
First-year 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst said there were advantages to how the team ran practices under former coach Jim Harbaugh, who communicated directly with the huddle. But this year, the play calls are being sent from quarterbacks coach Steve Logan to the quarterbacks, who relay the play calls to the other 10 players in the huddle.
“You are who you are,” Chryst said of Harbaugh. “And there was a lot of energy that Jim brought. And there’s a lot of benefit from that, too. You’re always concerned when there are no coaches around, are they aware it’s third and 7? Or third and 2? Are you aware it’s a first-down play or a fourth-down play?
“Well, you have to solve that in your small group classroom, not the teacher lecturing to you. There’s a lot of benefit to do it both ways. But once we decided on this structure, I think the quarterbacks realized this is great. ‘This is game-like, but it is on me to try to solve problems as they come up in the huddle and that gives him a voice.’ ”
The quarterbacks have the ability to practice all the unexpected situations that come up in the game -- such as, the officials marking the ball on the wrong hashmark, radio communications going out or what to do when there's inadvertently 12 men in the huddle.
Chryst said the change was made because it’s Jim Tomsula’s vision of how he wants practices to be managed.
“It’s more structural,” Chryst said. “We’re over here and we’re trying to get the play in, so they have to solve it. We don’t have somebody to throw them a life line standing behind the huddle, which is how most teams practice this time of year.”