49ers

Jeff Hafley leaves 49ers to become Ohio State's co-defensive coordinator

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AP

Jeff Hafley leaves 49ers to become Ohio State's co-defensive coordinator

Kyle Shanahan has another position to fill on his 49ers coaching staff.

Jeff Hafley, who served the past three seasons as 49ers defensive backs coach, has accepted an offer to become Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator, the school announced on Monday. Hafley spent seven seasons in the NFL, including stints with Tampa Bay and Cleveland.

Hafley will share the duties with Greg Mattison, who coached the past eight seasons at Michigan.

“Jeff is a rising star and highly regarded as one of the best secondary coaches in the country,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said in a statement.

“His NFL knowledge coaching the secondary is only going to enhance and improve what has become a marquee area for the Buckeyes. Greg is a terrific coach. His experience as a coordinator and his knowledge of the Big Ten is extremely important to me.”

Day, who succeeds Urban Meyer as the Buckeyes' coach, and Hafley worked together for the 2016 season on Chip Kelly’s staff. Hafley remained with the 49ers under Kyle Shanahan. Hafley and Shanahan were together for one season on Mike Pettine’s staff with the Cleveland Browns.

Hafley’s departure to Ohio State means Shanahan has at least two spots to fill on his staff. The 49ers last week fired head strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright.

New 49ers D-line coach Kris Kocurek might be right amount of crazy

New 49ers D-line coach Kris Kocurek might be right amount of crazy

During position drills at the beginning of each 49ers practice, defensive line coach Kris Kocurek’s gravelly voice can be heard from across the practice field. His antics may be seen as crazy to some, but to many of the players, it’s just the kind of crazy they need. 

At Arik Armstead’s Charity Gala in Sacramento during the offseason, several defensive players spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area about Kocurek and what he brings to the defensive line room. DeForest Buckner explained that Kocurek’s brand of crazy meshes perfectly with their group.

“We all got to be crazy to play this game,” Buckner said. “I’m just going to say that. We all got to have that little crazy in us. He’s a perfect fit for our room.

“It’s about consistency. He’s the same guy every day. We all know he’s passionate in everything he does. All he wants is to see is us succeed, so we respect it, we love it, we feed off of it when we go out there and practice. We want to be the best that we can be every day. That’s what he expects from us, that’s the standard and he’s just an amazing coach.”  

Armstead is heading into his fifth NFL season and notes that Kocurek has brought a new energy into the room. 

“It’s been great,” Armstead said. “He’s an amazing coach. He’s really passionate about the game, he wants us to be successful. He does seem a little crazy, but in a good way. He’s really motivating and pushing us to reach our full potential and be the best we can be. We’re really excited to have him and have him leading us.”  

Fellow lineman Ronald Blair detailed that what Kocurek brings isn’t just about football. He is helping the group in all aspects of their lives. 

“It really just changes the outlook for all of us as young guys,” Blair said. “He’s bringing something different. It’s not just about football with him. It’s about outside life, it’s about dealing with your family, it’s about everything that you put in, to just get to this point. 

“I’m just grateful to have him as a coach. He’s already done numbers in just the month or two being here. I've got nothing but respect for him. I’m looking forward to the future with him.”  

Defensive tackle Sheldon Day explained how Kocurek's intensity has changed the mood of the 49ers' defense line.

“He’s changed our room completely,” Day said. “He’s made us be more competitive with each other than we ever have been before. Every day is a competition, everyday we want to be our best, every day we’ve got to be better than the day before. 

"He’s making sure we stay on task, he’s making sure that we detail our work. He’s just bringing the best out of us. We’re definitely grateful to have him in the room.”  

Richard Sherman might not be a defensive lineman, but he already has seen a change in the defensive line group since Kocurek arrived. Kocurek’s yelling might seem brash to outsiders, but Sherman believes it’s specific and purposeful. 

“I've never met a person great at anything who wasn’t a little crazy,” Sherman said. “People look at the yelling and screaming as a negative thing. It’s not like he’s just yelling and screaming at guys, and that’s the difference between him and a lot of coaches who kind of take that style. 

“He’s yelling techniques. He’s yelling 'get off.' He’s yelling run to the ball. He’s not yelling M.F. and cursing at guys for making mistakes, he’s just yelling effort. The effort he’s giving, the guys are just trying to match. And that’s something you can get behind and something you can go with. 

“He’s teaching incredible techniques and every one of the D-linemen is saying they are benefitting from it. So you can just appreciate the energy and the amount of time that he spends and amount of effort that he spends every day just to get his guys ready.” 

[RELATED: 'Different Solomon' Thomas impressing 49ers teammates]

The addition of edge rushers Dee Ford and Nick Bosa already has raised the expectations for the defense. Kocurek's ability to fit all of the moving pieces together will be tested once the season begins. 

Watch 49ers tight end George Kittle lift 350-plus pounds on bench press

Watch 49ers tight end George Kittle lift 350-plus pounds on bench press

Do you even lift, bro? If you're George Kittle, the answer is absolutely, yes.

The 49ers tight end has been hitting the weights lately, and we have footage to show just how ready he is for the upcoming season:

Yep -- that's 365 pounds on the bench, and he made it look pretty easy all things considered.

He celebrated with his friends afterward and I'll admit it, he got me pretty pumped up. I'm just going to stick to the 10-pound dumbbells for the time being.

[RELATED: Jimmy G relates Kittle to Rob Gronkowski]

Kittle is coming off a breakout season setting the NFL's single-season yard record by a tight end with 88 receptions and 1,377 receiving yards. That may be difficult to achieve once again, but if he doesn't get there it won't be because he was lazy.