SANTA CLARA — Rookie left tackle Justin Skule could know more about you than you know about him.
Summoned to fill in for Joe Staley and start in the 49ers home opener Sunday, Skule has a family background that should help him devour scouting reports, specifically those of the upcoming Pittsburgh Steelers.
Joshua Skule, Justin’s father, is the FBI’s assistant executive director for intelligence.
“We make an effort to talk at least once or twice a week, just to see how things are going,” Justin Skule said Wednesday. “He does a great job checking in on me and just making sure I’m doing OK.”
Of course, his father has other ways he can probably check on his son, a sixth-round draft pick from Vanderbilt.
“I don’t think he’d actually do that,” Skule said. “It’s definitely a good running joke around some of the guys.”
Those guys are taking Skule under their wing this week to coach him up for his first start. Staley had Skule over to his house Tuesday night, and Skule has been lifting weights this week with left guard Laken Tomlinson, whose support Sunday is key.
Coach Kyle Shanahan expressed confidence in Skule, and while he does not anticipate a flawless starting debut, Shanahan noted this is not a one-week tryout, not with a virtually empty bench behind him.
So what is the background report on Skule, other than he is 6-foot-6, weighs 315 pounds and claimed a 3.4 GPA out of Vanderbilt while starting his final 40 games?
“He’s got to loosen up a little bit. He’s not quite the rambunctious personality like me and Joe. No, Justin is an awesome guy, an awesome teammate.” — right tackle Mike McGlinchey.
“He doesn’t talk very much, which I kind of like. He’s just quiet and goes about his business. It’s not because he’s not confident. He studies things very well and is very smart.” — Shanahan.
“Very coinsistent. Smart guy. Came into the huddle during the game and didn’t blink. He’s in the right spot. Same guy every day and you appreciate that.” — quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
“We ask him questions about his dad, but I don’t think he’s allowed to say, if you know what I mean. He’s a cool dude and I’m exited to work with him. You can tell the way he works it’s really important to him.” — left guard Laken Tomlinson.
“I just play the best way I can. Some people see it a different way. Whatever gets the job done gets the job done, that’s the way I see it.” — Justin Skule.
Joshua Skule played long snapper for the Naval Academy in the 1980s. He and his wife, Christy, will come to their first 49ers game Sunday. As for whether he’s given his son any intelligence on Steelers pass rusher Bud Dupree, Justin laughed and said: “No, he hasn’t run the background search on him.”
Skule gave his parents the best scouting report possible: “They’ve shaped me into who I am today. They’ve done a phenomenal job teaching integrity, doing the right thing, and if you’re going to do anything, give it your all. They preached that when we were younger to me and all my siblings.”
— Defensive end Dee Ford did not practice and is considered day-to-day with a lingering quadriceps/knee injury, which kept him out after halftime of Sunday’s win. Shanahan sounded optimistic Ford could play Sunday.
— Defensive end Nick Bosa (ankle) practiced, something he did not due last Wednesday and Thursday.
— Safety Jaquiski Tartt (toe) did not practice but did had his foot out of an orthopedic boot.
— Still out are running back Tevin Coleman (ankle) and wide receivers Trent Taylor (foot) and Jalen Hurd (back).
HOME SWEET HOME
The Steelers fan base figures to represent well in the team’s first appearance at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers, however, are hyping up their own fans to show after a 2-0 road start.
“I love when you give momentum to the fans. Hopefully they’re excited we’re coming back, that it’s the first game here and that we are 2-0,” Shanahan said. “Hopefully we come out and play well because of it. Our guys are pumped to be back, we’ve been on the road for a while … We plan on having a good year in our stadium.”
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo expects an “awesome” homecoming and noted how the past two road games “turned into a home game with all the red (jereseys) out there.”
Shanahan said the 49ers dumped Colin Holba in favor of former Raiders long snapper John Condo to be more consistent. Kicker Robbie Gould welcomed the sight of Condo, having gone to rival high schools in Pennsylvania before embarking on lenghty NFL careers.
“It’s neat to see him come in the locker room and be teammates together,” Gould said. “You know he’s still got it and can still play.” Gould blamed his kicking technique rather than Holba for two missed field-goal attempts through two games.
Staley’s 13th season is not exactly on hold despite Sunday’s fractured fibula that will keep him out of games the next two months. “Joe’s still here. He’s not gone,” McGlinchey said. “Joe had Justin over last night helping him out and I’m helping Justin as much as possible.
“My admiration for Joe has gotten even stronger here in the last four days, because of the way he’s handled this,” McGlinchey added. “It’s a (bad) sitauation the way things fell out. It’s a freak play that broke his leg. The last four days he’s been nothing but a great teammate. He showed his true colors.”
Staley is one of five team captains.
“The only thing he wants is for us to be successful, his brothers on the offensive line, and for this team to win football games. He’s going to do that every way he can, whether it’s coaching in a boot or playing with us in a couple weeks.”
The Jaguars checked with every team on possibly trading for cornerback Jalen Ramsey and the 49ers are “not in,” NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco reported, citing a league source.
Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon are off to hot starts, each producing a pick-six in the opener and Witherspoon following up with his career-best game last Sunday. Yet to make his 49ers debut is Jason Verrett, who sprained his ankle Aug. 7 and has been inactive the first two games in favor of nickel back K’Waun Williams and backups Emmanuel Moseley and D.J. Reed.