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April 10, 2013
One step ahead: Kaepernick working to improve speed this offseason


Don't worry, Jim Harbaugh. Colin Kaepernick hasn't spent the entire offseason bulking up and becoming muscle-bound in the weight room.

He's been working on his speed, too.

The 49ers quarterback spent the last two weeks training with track athletes in Atlanta, including former all-American Monica Hargrove, a specialist in the 200 and 400 meters. Kaepernick, of course, ran for more than 1,000 yards in three straight seasons at Nevada and he rushed for 679 yards in just 10 starts last year for the 49ers, scoring eight touchdowns on the ground and averaging a gaudy 7.7 yards a carry.

Kaepernick's most prominent victim this past season, the Packers, turned to the college ranks this offseason for a tutorial on how to stop the read-option offense. Kaepernick ran for 181 yards - an NFL record for a quarterback - and two touchdowns in a 45-31 divisional playoff win over the Packers. The Falcons, who are scheduled to face Kaepernick and the 49ers this year, also went back to college to better learn the read-option.

But Kaepernick is trying to stay one step ahead. He believes he can get faster and more efficient with his stride, and he spent his time on the track doing just that. Stamina apparently isn't an issue for Kaepernick. At one point, he ran nine consecutive 150-meter sprints in 18 seconds or less, impressing Hargrove and the other track athletes in the process.

At his side, as he has been all offseason, was 49ers wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, who has an extensive track background himself. He has taken part in the U.S. Olympic Trials, was the NCAA Division II 200-meter champion in 2008 with a time of 20.6 seconds and tied for the third-fastest 40-yard dash (4.37 seconds) at the 2011 scouting combine.

Following the Super Bowl, Kaepernick and Lockette - housemates in Santa Clara - took a week off before heading to Atlanta. They trained at CES Performance outside the city, which is where Kaepernick worked before the 2011 draft. Lockette, a member of the 49ers' practice squad in 2012, is from Albany, Georgia. Another 49ers receiver, A.J. Jenkins, also trained at CES performance, although it is unknown whether he took part in the track workouts as well.

The offseason hasn't been all work for Kaepernick. He was a presenter Sunday at the 2013 American Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. Kaepernick handed out the award for Top Vocal Duo honor, which was won by Thompson Square.

Kaepernick is now back in Santa Clara for the start of the 49ers' offseason program, which begins Monday.

Photo from Monica Hargrove's Twitter account.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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