Santa Clara – The 49ers got to work with their rookies this week. Following the guidelines and protocols by the league, rookies will be allowed to participate in team activities. 49ers draft pick Trey Lance made his first practice field debut and got a glimpse of what his future will look like in a few months.
Lance spoke with the media after practice:
Video courtesy of Sports Fans Rap
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan told us that when you came out here a couple of weeks ago after the draft, one of the first things he warned you about was the prices of the Bay Area and some of that stuff. I’m wondering what your impressions were once you kind of took a dive into that and just your initial impressions overall of the Bay.
“Yeah, I definitely appreciated the warning. I knew it would be kind of crazy, but it definitely helped giving me a little bit of a heads up. Super excited to get more familiar with the area. Obviously, we’re locked in right now with rookie mini camp and everything like that, but hopefully over the next few weeks I’ll be getting to know the guys better that have been here in the area and getting to hang out with them and spend some time with them and, like I said, checking out the area. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
I’m curious about your choice to major in strategic communication. What drew you to that? Did you look forward and say, ‘Hey, I might be an an NFL quarterback and maybe this could help me when I reach that level?
“For me, strategic communications at North Dakota State is a really broad field. So I was doing that as well as business administration. So for me, I didn’t really know what my plan B was going to be at the time, but knew I needed to obviously do well in school. It was important to me, important to my family. So for me, it was, I thought, an avenue for me to kind of figure out what I do really want to do past football.”
There’s been talk about obviously North Dakota State’s success with the quarterbacks in the pro-style offense that really does help prepare you all for the NFL. You can’t compare it to playing an air-raid system, but just your initial glance at the playbook, do you say like, ‘Hey, there are some wrinkles here?’ I’m not suggesting it’s like, ‘Hey, it’s North Dakota State all over again,’ but do you see wrinkles or concepts or anything else that might be at least a little familiar?
“Yeah, absolutely. I think, with any offense, football is football. Like I said, it’s an NFL playbook, so it’s a lot. I’ve got a lot to learn for sure. But I also have great people around me, great coaches and obviously great guys in the quarterback room. So just looking forward to, like I said, learning from them as much as I possibly can. I’m very thankful for the people at North Dakota State and my coaching staff and the offense that we ran because I think it did help me whether it was just verbiage, or like you said, concepts. It’s putting guys in spots at the end of the day.
Obviously you’re about to hit the field and have three of these practices, I guess. Has Head Coach Kyle Shanahan or any of the offensive coaches told you what they want from you, like ‘Don’t do this’ or, ‘Hold back. Don’t try to prove everything?’ What are they telling you about what they want to see from you in this mini camp?
“Just excited, excited to see what I can do, excited to learn. Obviously, they have trust in me and believe in me, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. So I’m just super thankful, like I said, for the position that I’m in and to be able to be here. All the coaches that you mentioned, our whole offensive staff is really special. So I’m looking forward to just getting out there and competing and hopefully learn as much as I possibly can.”
Both you and Jimmy are Walter Payton Award winners. I’m wondering, is there any kind of sense of connection there both coming from the FCS, and how has that progressed? I know that he texted you after you were drafted, but how has that relationship progressed since then?
“Yeah, I got to meet him over the last couple of days, which is awesome. Him and the rest of the quarterbacks in the room and they’re awesome. Just awesome personalities, awesome guys to hang around and obviously great football players. So I’m just thankful that these guys are the guys that they are. Jimmy actually said that in his first text to me just, ‘It’s going to be awesome to have another FCS guy in the room.’ So he’s another guy that’s obviously been in a similar position to me, having been where I am. So just looking forward to learning as much as I can from him and, like I said, all the rest of the guys in the room.”
From what I understand, at North Dakota State you began your career wearing gloves, which was evidently a no-no. Can you discuss, is it true that you could not wear sleeves as a freshmen even in December in Fargo?
“Yeah, I’m sure [Los Angeles Chargers QB] Easton [Stick] told you that. But yeah, North Dakota State, I wore gloves actually in high school when I played quarterback. It was half the weather, half me having to change footballs when we got to playoffs and things like that. Just weird rules in Minnesota with sponsorships and things. Yeah, North Dakota State, your freshman year, your first year on campus, whether you’re a fifth-year grad transfer or whether it’s your first year on campus you’re not allowed to wear sleeves, no leggings. You’re out there suffering, practicing in blizzards and everything like that. It’s just the way it is. If you try to come out in sleeves, the seniors will definitely rip your sleeves off with no hesitation. So, it’s one of those things, kind of an initiation and earning respect. But everyone’s got to go through it, regardless of who you are.”
Just a question about the 3DQB school in Southern California. There was a question about why you started working with them when you did. I’m just wondering, when you were working down there with John Beck and those guys, there’s a bit of a a Kyle Shanahan connection there. Just seeing whether you were looking at the offensive, studying their specific types of plays, that sort of thing, as far back as March and early April?
“Before the draft, it was obviously focusing on me, focusing on my Pro Days. I didn’t know where I was going to be, so there wouldn’t have been a whole lot of benefit for me to try to learn an offense that I didn’t know if I was going to play in or not. But the last few weeks obviously have been awesome, like I said, with this coaching staff, with John and those guys down there. Knowing the offense and having the connections that they do, just super thankful for them and everything they’ve done for me.”
With this being rookie camp, mini camp, a bunch of first-year players. Would you describe yourself as a vocal leader, a rah-rah guy? Then my second question would be, did you beat Aiyuk in a race?
“We didn’t race. But, I’m super excited to work with these guys. Obviously as my position playing quarterback, I want to be a leader for these guys and be someone that they can lean on and they can ask questions to, regardless of what it is. So I’m just super looking forward to kind of having our group of guys, those rookies coming in, those first-year guys, and hopefully being able to lead them and help them out and get us going in the right direction.”
Photo by 49ers/Terrell Lloyd