San Francisco 49ers

Marcus Martin’s transformation a necessity in fast-paced 49ers offense

Center Marcus Martin, shown here in November, said he is now in the best shape of his life after an offseason dedicated to better fitness.
Center Marcus Martin, shown here in November, said he is now in the best shape of his life after an offseason dedicated to better fitness. AP

Offensive lineman Marcus Martin might get the award for Most Dramatic Offseason Transformation for a 49ers player.

His metamorphosis is not as dramatic as Alex Boone’s was five years ago. Boone arrived with the 49ers in 2009 as a pudgy, 340 pounder with 25 percent body fat. Over that offseason, however, he carved away much of the excess weight, trimmed his body fat and began the process that led to him in a starting role.

But Martin, who had what can politely be called a stout build when he started eight games at center as a rookie last season, has a leaner look this year in both body and face. Last year, he said, he played in the 330-pound range. He’s now in the 320s with the intention of dropping into the three-teens by the start of the season.

Martin, 21, said he worked out with tight end Vernon Davis during the offseason, and he credits Davis for helping him get into the best shape of his life.

“It’s a whole different mentality, a whole different level of fitness,” Martin said. “Coming in, coach (Jim) Tomsula told us that he was going to be the only fat guy in the room. And that hit home: You had to get in shape and get right.”

Martin has been lining up at all three spots on the interior offensive line and ostensibly is competing for a starting spot at all three. He also could be the team’s emergency backup at either guard spot or center.

His new fitness level is a necessity this season. Tomsula has stressed a fast-paced tempo by the offense, and incoming offensive line coach Chris Foerster wants his players to be mobile above all else.

“He wants his guys moving, flying, you know?” Martin said. “Every play, you line up and get off the ball. That’s his biggest thing: don’t hesitate, don’t pause. There’s no slowing down with him; there’s only speeding up.”

Et cetera – Veteran outside linebacker Aldon Smith did not practice Wednesday after his right foot was stepped on during Tuesday’s session. Tomsula, however, said the injury is not serious and that if the 49ers had a game this week, Smith would play.

▪ Linebacker Michael Wilhoite signed his one-year exclusive rights free-agent tender. The 49ers and Wilhoite, who started 16 games last season, had been working on a longer-term deal this offseason.

▪ Colin Kaepernick had long completions to Davis and Torrey Smith but an end-zone attempt to Smith at the end of practice was intercepted by second-round draft pick Jaquiski Tartt.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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