Bobby Turner won’t carry the ball once in 2017 for the 49ers. He won’t catch a pass, throw a block or even step on the field.
But as the 49ers prepare to open a mandatory three-day minicamp Tuesday, Turner already is getting strong reviews as a major influence on the fate of the team’s offense this coming season.
Turner, a longtime running backs coach in the NFL, has come to the team from the Falcons, where he coached with new 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Turner reportedly will make at least $625,000 in 2017, which would make him the highest-paid running backs coach in the league, according to one report.
Almost everywhere he’s coached, Turner has made an impact. In Atlanta, he developed Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman into a great 1-2 punch. In his years at Denver under Kyle’s father, Mike Shanahan, the Broncos always had great running backs.
Turner, 68, was with the Broncos from 1995-2009, then moved to Washington and Atlanta. He’s coached such 1,000-yard rushers as Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Alfred Morris, Freeman, Clinton Portis and Tatum Bell. Many of those players were late-round picks who became surprise stars.
Now with the 49ers he has Carlos Hyde, Tim Hightower, Joe Williams and Kapri Bibbs among his running back candidates, as well as standout fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who came over from the Ravens.
Hightower says Turner is one of the reasons he signed with San Francisco, calling him “the best in the business.”
“Coach Turner does a heck of a job, not just in the scheme, but in preparing you week in and week out and really demanding your best every single day,” he told Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. “For me, the older you get, sometimes those technique things you can kind of take for granted. So for me to take another step in my career, getting a chance to work in this system with this coaching staff was a positive thing for me.”
Juszczyk, who built a reputation as tough blocker and fine pass receiver as a fullback in Baltimore, said he also was happy Turner was with the 49ers, because he’s been adept at involving fullbacks in the offense in an impactful way. In 2016, it was with the Falcons’ Patrick DiMarco.
“Bobby’s been phenomenal,” Juszczyk told Kelana Martin of 49ers.com Monday. “The guy is just a wealth of knowledge. He’s had so much success with so many different types of backs in this league that it’s a great opportunity each day sitting there and taking in what he’s teaching us.”