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Trent Williams looks dominant against Bosa at 49ers camp

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SANTA CLARA -- It was difficult to tell if Jimmy Garoppolo sought out Nick Bosa or whether it was the other way around.

Obviously, it was impossible to tell the topic of their brief exchange, which occurred approximately 15 minutes following the 49ers’ first padded practice of training camp.

But it would have been completely understandable -- or even expected -- if Bosa had something encouraging to say to Garoppolo about feeling secure with seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams protecting his blind side.

Williams and Bosa lined up against each other for nearly all of the 49ers’ first-team vs. first-team practice snaps during the 49ers’ first padded practice of training camp on Monday. That matchup figures to be a daily must-see competition featuring two of the best in the game.

“Watching those two go together is pretty cool,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday. “They had two one-on-one reps (Sunday) and split them. It’s fun to watch them adjust to each other.

“Trent hasn’t played in a little bit, but he doesn’t look like it. His skillset is still there. Everything is still there. We just got to get him in football shape, along with pretty much everyone else on our team right now.”

Williams was the clear head-to-head winner on Monday.

Once he got his hands on Bosa, Williams made sure he did not go anywhere. Williams locked up Bosa in pass protection to allow Garoppolo plenty of time to deliver a deep completion to Kendrick Bourne near the end of practice. On nine one-on-one pass-rush situations, Williams did not allow a quarterback pressure.


Considering the 49ers already know that Bosa is one of the best in the league at his position, it must be considered good news that Williams won the day so early in his return to the game.

In addition to his size, strength and athleticism, Williams also is known as being a technician at the position. And Bosa, the NFL Rookie of the Year last season, is much more advanced than nearly any other young player because of his lineage. That makes them the perfect pairing for helping each other.

“Nick has understood technique -- I always joke -- since he came out of the womb because he’s been made to rush the passer,” Shanahan said.

Bosa owes a lot of his rookie success to the training camp competitions and post-practice discussions with 49ers All-Decade left tackle Joe Staley.

So when Staley retired and the 49ers concurrently acquired Williams in a trade from Washington, it offered Bosa another opportunity to elevate his game with work against a teammate.

Bosa and Williams have looked forward to going up against each in training camp for quite a while. And it appeared both benefitted from their first real exposure to each other in activities that will be the closest each other gets to real game experience before the start of the regular season.

Williams said recently that he expected his daily work against Bosa to get him ready for the season after sitting out all of last year.

"He's going to be a pivotal tool for me to use to knock the rust off," Williams said earlier this month. "Probably one of the biggest challenges that I can face all year is Nick. I think he's one of the top four or five rushers in the game.

"To get that work and to be able to have that every day, and we can kind of bounce ideas off each other and talk each other through it, I think it's going to work out as a best-case for me, and I hope definitely he gains just as much as I do from it."

Bosa admitted to watching film of Williams after the 49ers acquired him. Bosa said he wanted to gain an understanding of Williams so that he would get embarrassed on the practice field.

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"Offensive tackles don't usually get the most publicity, but Trent is one of the guys that does," Bosa said. "He was always on the top 100, always just known to be one of the best athletes in the game. It's just fun to watch when you see a tackle running downfield and moving like a linebacker. He looks impressive just in person.

"I definitely didn't idolize tackles and watch their film like that, but Trent was always known as the best tackle since I've been a fan of the game, so watching him play was pretty cool."