Q:) DE Deforest Buckner, start with you, and then G Joshua Garnett. What have the past X-amount of hours been like since you’ve been a member of the San Francisco 49ers?
Buckner: “Yeah, I mean, it’s just been crazy. Last night I celebrated with my family, barely got any sleep so I knocked out on the plane and everything. I’m just glad to be here in California and I know my family’s happy we’re staying on the West Coast. It’s just a plane ride away for them. I’m just happy to be here.”
Garnett: “Same thing piggybacking off of that. I mean, being a guy who’s been at Stanford for the last four years, I get to hear that, ‘Hey, I get to stay about a twenty minute drive down the 101.’ I mean, I couldn’t be more excited. Parents have been longtime 49er fans and I’m just happy to get this opportunity with the organization.”
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) April 30, 2016
Q:) You guys have been adversaries in college for the last four years and Stanford and Oregon have been painted as opposites in a lot of ways. Do you guys see sort of a common element now that you’re with the 49ers? Do you see what the 49ers are after and how you fit in?
Garnett: “Oh yeah, definitely. Going against guys, I mean, there’s a lot of guys from Oregon and Stanford that you see and then to be on the same team as those guys, big, strong, athletic, physical guys is what you can tell is really the common denominator between what they’re looking for at San Francisco and you can tell with these picks between myself and DeForest that that’s really what they’re looking for. I know speaking for myself that I’m really excited to be able to go against great players like DeForest and other guys on the team that, I mean, you can really tell as a young offensive lineman, there’s no better place that you could be at to not really only contribute to the team, but get better as a football player.”
Buckner: “Same exact thing he just said.”
Q:) When you guys faced Stanford, DeForest, what was the scouting report on Joshua Garnett?
Buckner: “That he was the best guard in the country. And so, when I found that out I wanted to go against him the whole game. It’s games like that where you get the opportunity to play against guys like him. So, really good competition and those are games that you really look forward to. Getting ready for the game and everything, I told everybody on the D-Line that I was staying on him the whole night and that I wanted to compete against him because he’s supposed to be the best in the country.”
Q:) When you guys played, was there talk back and forth? Did you guys ever acknowledge to each other how good of a player was lining up across the ball from you?
Buckner: “I think we were too busy huffing and puffing and being all tired on the field because we got a lot of plays in. But, I mean, Josh knows that I respect him as a player and everything and I know he respects me as a player. We know that every time we play against each other, it’s going to be a fight the whole night.”
Q:) Why was it important for you to work out here at the local Pro Day when you didn’t have to?
Garnett: “I think just to show what kind of player I am. I mean, I know a lot of people kind of had me as a guy who was running the power scheme at Stanford a lot. I just wanted to show the coaches that, hey, I can come in and run zone. They saw me at Stanford’s Pro Day and I wanted to let [49ers offensive line coach] coach [Pat Flaherty] Flat really get his hands on me again, let [49ers head coach] coach [Chip] Kelly really see me again that hey, I can move in space and athletically that I can get things done they need me to get done. I’ve always wanted to be a 49er and so I wanted to come here and showcase my talents even though a lot of people didn’t think that I needed to. But, I was definitely excited that I did and that I was able to build this relationship with the coaches.”
Q:) What was your scouting report on DeForest?
Garnett: “I was watching the film, he was tossing guys. He’s a real long guy, fast, physical, so I knew that it was going to be a battle, just like he said, all night. We went in, and you respect the player and you kind of relish those opportunity to go against a guy like that where you know that you’ve got to be on your ‘A’ game every single play or it’s going to be a long night for you, but those are the games you look forward to, especially as a guy who is a competitor, a guy who loves the game of football, you don’t want to go against someone who is not a high-caliber player. So, when you get those opportunities you relish the moment.”
Q:) Obviously when you’re playing the faces in front of you switch off, a lot of rotation with defensive linemen. Was there ever a point in that game when you thought, ‘Does this guy ever come out of the game?’
Garnett: “Yeah, definitely. That was one of the only games where I was like, ‘Jeez. DeFo, he’s lining up at the five-tech outside on the tackle, he was coming in at three-tech, I mean he was doing it all, which was a testament to the type of player he was and the condition he had. Especially against Stanford, we’re running downhill, we’re running at you every time and a lot of teams it’s easy for a guy to tap out. But, that’s just not the type of player he is or was at Oregon. When you see that you respect that kind of player.”
Q:) You both won Pac-12 championships here. DeForest, what do you remember about that game and what’s it like for you to come back and know that you’re going to play in this stadium for a long time?
Buckner: “Yeah, that’s actually one of my favorite memories, going back to Oregon. Me, [DL] Arik [Armstead] and [Oregon DL Alex] Balducci, we all came in together and we all got to start together on the D-Line our junior year and finally getting that ring, it meant a lot. Especially playing in this stadium, it was just an awesome moment and I’ll never forget it.”
Q:) Do you guys know when you’ll be able to report full-time for work here? Because you guys are on the quarter system, right?
Buckner: “Yeah, but I graduated, so I’ll be able to hop right in.”
Q:) So, would you expect to be here on Monday?
Buckner: “Yeah, I could be here on Monday.”
Garnett: “We have rookie minicamp on Thursday, so as soon as possible I’m ready to get to work.”
Q:) Josh, Joshua, is that correct?
Garnett: “Yes, sir. My mom wants me to go by Joshua, so I can’t disappoint her.”
Q:) Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke have been fairly open about they really want to run the ball and have that mentality. Is that something that was conveyed to you during the pre-daft process or since you’ve been drafted, their emphasis on running the ball?
Garnett: “Definitely, you could tell, if you’re going to take a guard high and kind of what San Francisco is trying to do in the run game, I felt like I was a great fit for them. That’s why I really wanted to come to the Pro Day and say, hey it’s not just pulling around or down-blocking, I can really get out in the zone game. I’m very fortunate that the coaches want to run the ball and that they’d take me as a player who really loves to run the ball, as a lot of people could see through the film.”
Q:) Trent Baalke said that for you specifically DeForest that you would have to bulk up from 305 to 310. How do you see that translating in the NFL playing at such a higher rate? Would you lose your speed? Would you lose your agility?
Buckner: “This whole year I’ve played at 300 and I felt great. And, in fall camp I was at 305, so I can get up to that weight and still perform. It’s nothing big for me.”