Off to a tremendous start after bringing in over $250,000 on the first night, there were more activities in store for Saturday at the 49ers Winter Fest.
The first event of the day was a Chalk Talk with 49ers players and coaches. Due to the continuously increasing popularity of the event, it had to be held in the resort’s largest ballroom.
General manager Trent Baalke was the first to address the crowd before turning things over to his coaches.
“We just went through free agency and we’re going to have 23 of 25 starters back from last year’s group,” said Baalke. “When we set out in free agency this year, it was to take care of that core group, bring that group back.”
Next up was offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who broke down game film, highlighting some of his top offensive weapons, including the recently re-signed Ted Ginn Jr.
“We brought the fly sweep back to the NFL just because he’s so flat-out fast,” Roman said about Ginn.
He also explained the ways he tries to create mismatches by putting the players in the best possible positions to be successful.
“A strong run game creates conflicts for a defense,” said Roman. “That’s what we’re always trying to do. We’re trying to identify conflicts in a defense and attack those conflicts.”
Always a crowd favorite at the Chalk Talk, running backs coach Tom Rathman began his session by quizzing the audience about his lessons from the last two years, the four points of pressure and pass blocking.
“In a couple of years, they’ll be able to suit up,” joked Rathman.
This year’s lesson focused on the art of the cut block, something defenders like Aldon Smith probably don’t enjoy too much. Rathman used Smith to demonstrate.
“It’s an attack block,” Rathman began. “It’s a tempo setter, we love it. We’re going to take the game to the defense. That’s what that block’s all about.”
Quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst discussed the importance of a quarterback’s eyes when it comes to setting up the defense and being accurate. Chryst said that played a part in Alex Smith’s success this year and he expects him only to get better this season.
“That’s one of the things not only that he’s improved upon from last year to this year, but we’ve seen how much he can improve using his eyes,” Chryst said about Smith. “He’s a really bright guy. When it’s time to throw the ball, you want to have marksmanship.”
Tight ends coach Reggie Davis explained how the 49ers are able to best utilize tight ends with such unique skill sets like Delanie Walker and Vernon Davis.
Walker, who his coach referred to as a “chess piece” on the field, also joined in the discussion to explain his assignments on various plays.
Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula brought the 49ers defensive playbook to illustrate the volume of information his players have to know.
“If you don’t know this, you cannot play,” said Tomsula. “And I’m not even getting into the adjustments that can happen. I’ll get to that in a second.”
Tomsula discussed at length the various substitutions that take place between each play to adjust to the offensive personal and just how quickly those decisions have to made and communicated.
“My halftime adjustment is a bottle of Pepto-Bismol and a little bit of Gatorade,” joked Tomsula.
After Tomsula’s film session, Ricky Jean Francois and Aldon Smith answered questions from fans.
Smith took same time to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.
Tomsula also signed some autographs for some of the younger 49ers Faithful.
One of the prizes auctioned off Friday night was a chance to go curling with team captains Jim Tomsula and Geep Chryst. The two teams of four were given instruction from Olympians Tracy Sachtjen and John Benton.
While Tomsula and Chryst didn’t do any curling themselves, they both gave pointers and helped gameplan.
Tomsula drew some analogies to bocce ball, a sport with which he’s much more familiar.
“This is bocce on ice,” said Tomsula.
Baalke participated in the curling event last year, but decided to officiate this year’s game.
The 49ers general manager also tried to impart some of his curling knowledge on Aldon Smith.
Chryst’s team won the first end and dominated the second. Despite not having “the hammer,” meaning the last throw, in the second end, Chryst’s team had solid throws early and played the remaining shots defensively. Chryst’s team coasted to an easy win.
“Anytime you’re an offensive coach and you can go defensive on a defensive coach, that’s the way to go,” said Chryst.
“They flipped the script on us and went defensive,” responded Tomsula. “They got in the four minute offense, held the ball and played position. We have to concede.”
The 49ers will have another silent auction and live auction tonight with all the proceeds going to benefit the 49ers Foundation.
Tags: 49ers Winter Fest, Geep Chryst, Greg Roman, Jim Tomsula, Reggie Davis, Tom Rathman, Trent Baalke
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