49ers

49ers' Mitch Wishnowsky has deep repertoire of punts from Aussie rules days

wishnowskyap.jpg
AP

49ers' Mitch Wishnowsky has deep repertoire of punts from Aussie rules days

Mitch Wishnowsky admits he could have been more consistent during the 49ers’ recently concluded offseason program.

The rookie punter, at his best, was very good and gave his teammates and coaches a reason to believe a fourth-round draft pick spent on a punter was a worthy investment.

The 49ers selected the native of Australia with the No. 110 overall selection. General manager John Lynch opted to fill the spot vacated when Bradley Pinion signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rather than select a defensive back or an offensive lineman.

Wishnowsky has an assortment of different punts, which he picked up playing a sport in which punters are not considered specialists. Everyone must learn to punt, oftentimes while on the move, in the game Wishnowsky played back home.

“A lot of the punts you sort of learn growing up playing Australian rules football,” Wishnowsky said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “There’s tradeoffs with every punt.”

Wishnowsky explained his different styles:

“The stock-standard end-over-end punt is a lot more accurate but you can’t get quite as much height or distance on it.

“The spiral, obviously, is the biggest ball. It goes the highest and the furthest.

“The helicopter punt is great, very hard to catch. You can’t kick it quite as far as the spiral. But if you slightly mishit it, it’s going the opposite direction that you want it to.”

Wishnowsky moved to California to punt on the Santa Barbara City College football team in 2014. He transferred to the University of Utah, where he won the 2016 Ray Guy Award and was the only three-time finalist in the history of the award.

The only downside of his final college season was three blocked punts, something he worked to eliminate during his offseason with the 49ers.

“I’ve got to get the ball off in 1.3 seconds, which is what I’ve been doing pretty consistently,” Wishnowsky said. “And the snap is a .7. So if the whole operation is 2 seconds or below, you should be good. Then, also launch point. You want to pretty much as it hits your foot (you’re) directly behind the snapper, so you’re not at risk of getting it blocked.”

[RELATED: Why No. 2 QB job between Beathard and Mullens is toss-up entering camp]

Wishnowsky also will be the 49ers’ holder and, likely, handle kickoff duties. He said he has yet to speak with veteran kicker Robbie Gould, who remains unsigned as the team’s franchise player. Gould has demanded a trade. The 49ers said they will not trade him.

In the meantime, Jonathan Brown, who spent the three previous offseasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and has not appeared in an NFL regular-season game, was the only kicker in Santa Clara.

“The last two years, I’ve been with Matt (Gay), who was drafted to Tampa Bay (in the fifth round),” Wishnowsky said. “I’ve been around great kickers, and Jon is up there. He’s phenomenal the way he contacts the ball. Jon is a very impressive kicker.”

49ers' Deebo Samuel named to Pro Football Focus Team of the Week

49ers' Deebo Samuel named to Pro Football Focus Team of the Week

After a rough showing in the 49ers’ first loss of the season against the Seahawks in Week 10, San Francisco’s receiving core came to play in Sunday’s win over the Cardinals.

But no one stood out more for the 49ers’ offense than rookie wideout Deebo Samuel.

The South Carolina product hauled in eight of his nine targets in the winning effort, tallying 134 yards receiving.

Without star tight end George Kittle, San Francisco needed another pass-catcher to step up and Samuel did just that. The rookie was aptly named to the Pro Football Focus “Week 11 Team of the Week” for his performance.

[RELATED: Witherspoon expected back as starter for 49ers vs. Packers]

The speedster dominated after the catch as well, racking up 49 yards after the catch and forcing two missed tackles.

Samuel will have an exponentially tougher matchup in Week 12 when the 49ers welcome the Green Bay Packers and their stifling secondary to Levi’s Stadium.

49ers' Ahkello Witherspoon expected back in starting lineup vs. Packers

49ers' Ahkello Witherspoon expected back in starting lineup vs. Packers

SANTA CLARA – Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon returned to action in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals following a seven-game absence due to foot and quadriceps injuries.

Witherspoon started the first three games of the season and will return to the starting lineup as early as Sunday night when the 49ers face the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.

Emmanuel Moseley remained in the starting lineup against the Cardinals because the 49ers had a short week following the Monday night game against Seattle, coach Kyle Shanahan said.

“We weren’t going to throw Ahkello out there without covering a receiver at full speed (for the first time) in about seven weeks unless he could get three full days of practice in,” Shanahan said. “We walked through about 80-percent of our reps that week.

“Without getting the right amount of practice time in, it really wasn’t much of a decision.”

Witherspoon saw six snaps of action on Sunday when Moseley left the game briefly late in the third quarter due to cramps.

[RELATED: How 49ers' road ahead could be historically tough stretch]

Moseley, an undrafted second-year player from Tennessee, has been targeted 32 times and surrendered 19 catches for 248 yards with one touchdown and one interception with four pass breakups, according to Pro Football Focus.

Witherspoon got off to a great start through three games, allowing just six receptions on 19 targets for 148 yards with one touchdown and one interception and three passes defensed.