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49ers OC McDaniel describes Lance as 'work in progress'

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SANTA CLARA -- Rookie quarterback Trey Lance’s skills are obvious.

He has provided eye-popping plays on the 49ers’ practice field on a daily basis since training camp opened last week. But what has impressed offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel the most is what nobody outside the organization can see.

“He handles himself like he's wise beyond his years,” McDaniel said. “So he really approaches every day like it's a new day and he's trying to get the most out of himself. It's been refreshing to see a young guy that you invest in, really attack it that way.

“He’s pretty consistent. He doesn't get too high or too low, which is what you'd want from a player at that position.”

In the past two days of practices, Lance completed 21 of 23 pass attempts. He also has a lot of responsibilities in the 49ers' run game.

After rushing for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns in his only season as the starter at North Dakota State, he also has been entrusted with orchestrating the quarterback-driven run game with the 49ers.

McDaniel cautions that as good as he might look, Lance is not there, yet.

“It's a work in progress,” McDaniel said. “If you're doing anything that's really that difficult, you probably shouldn't be elite at it right from the jump. So that's one of the reasons why we have to rep it so much, rep all the plays so much, is because it isn't easy.

 

“So he's right where we'd want them in terms of he's in the developmental stage of all of it. Some plays are good, some plays are bad, but we try to focus on the bad, so there can be more good.”

Lance showed plenty of promise upon reporting to the team’s offseason program after being selected with the No. 3 overall pick. And he came back for training camp with a greater knowledge of the system and the assignments of those around him.

“He’s getting to the point where he can correct other players, which from a coach's perspective is all you're looking for,” McDaniel said. “You want a coach on the field. The person that a receiver is going to listen to, much more than a coach, is the guy that's throwing him the ball.

“So he's been very good with that, and I think a lot of the guys respond to that.”

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Lance has also appeared to correct some issues to improve his accuracy. McDaniel said the coaching staff asked him to focus on specific areas of his mechanics during the 40 days from the end of organized team activities to the opening of training camp.

“He had some things from a footwork standpoint that we were asking him to do that he hadn't really done,” McDaniel said. “He really put that time in. We told him, ‘Hey, listen, you're going to have to worry about all this other stuff, in terms of defenses, formations, reads, all those things. So you don't have time to really work on it.'

“He really put in a lot of work in the summer.”

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