Alex Boone admits he was skeptical at first. On the first day of the 49ers offseason program, offensive line coach Mike Solari pulled him aside and told him there'd been a change of plans: Boone, an offensive tackle who had never played a snap at guard in his life, would be thrown into the mix at right guard.
Boone called it "a little bit of a shocker. ... At first I wasn't for it in my own head." And now? "I love it."
Boone said the biggest difference between guard and tackle was that at the latter he could often backpedal or slide a few steps before making contact with a defender. At guard, the contact is immediate. "It's a lot more violent in there, so I like it," he said.
Then there's the matter of leverage. Most guards are squatty, stocky guys. Boone is more linear and stands 6-8. But he said he wouldn't let his high profile deter him. "You're never too tall to play anything," he said. "As long as you can sink low enough and get leverage on guys."
So far, the right guard competition has been among Boone and second-year players Daniel Kilgore and Mike Person. With starting center Jonathan Goodwin absent, Kilgore has been playing center and Boone has lined up at right guard. Person has been at right guard with the second team.
Boone said he didn't know how fourth-round pick Joe Looney would be worked in when he arrives. ***Looney said Thursday that he wasn't cleared to practice after suffering a foot injury in January. He said he would sit out the rookie minicamp this weekend.
-- Matt Barrows