The 49ers roughed up Marcus Lattimore after practice on Wednesday and planned to knock him around a little bit more Thursday.
“All the different phases of contact that they might encounter as a runner,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman Thursday said of the routine. “Whether it's pass protection, contact on the boundary as a ball carrier, contact up the middle, from the right, from the left, being able to move in space with a defender as you block him, adjust to different pass rush moves – spin moves, push-pull, swim, all those different types of things. And ball security work as well. So it was pretty well-rounded.”
Essentially, the 49ers are putting Lattimore through an individualized version of training camp, which is something he has yet to experience in the NFL. He went through the spring sessions with the team this year but was placed on the non-football injury list before training camp began.
Part of Lattimore's routine simply is designed to get him used to playing football again. He hasn't taken a hit, after all, since the one on Oct. 27, 2012, at South Carolina that left him with the devastating knee injury from which he is still recovering.
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Lattimore said he didn't know how long is would take him to get acclimated.
“Once I get out there, I just gotta keep going,” he said. “I gotta be consistent. And I think over time it will come. I don't know how long, though.”
The contact drills -- practice squad linebacker Chase Thomas provided the honors -- also are meant to rebuild Lattimore’s confidence, which he said is far better this year compared to last. Like this season, Lattimore had a three-week window in 2013 in which he could practice with the team. But the sessions weren't nearly as intense and rough-and-tumble as they are now.
“Didn't have any confidence going out there last year,” he said. “That's the main thing. I feel stronger, the knee feels better. It's a huge injury. So I knew it would take time. I just didn't think it would take this long. But I feel good.”