John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan’s South squad falls 34-24 to Jon Gruden’s North squad at Senior Bowl

Jan 26, 2019 at 2:59 PM--

The last time Kyle Shanahan stood on the opposite sideline as Jon Gruden, Shanahan's San Francisco 49ers were routing Gruden's Oakland Raiders 34-3 at Levi's Stadium.

Nearly three months later, a Gruden-led squad got the upper hand on Shanahan. This time, it was at the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama with Gruden's North squad coming out on top 34-24 over Shanahan's South squad.

Shanahan and his 49ers coaching staff arrived in Mobile earlier in the week to prepare his squad of draft prospects for the annual all-star game. Each team held three practices throughout the week. Working with the players in meeting rooms all week gave the two coaching staffs an advantage leading to the draft over the 30 other NFL teams, which were limited to watching practices, the game, and short interviews.

"The biggest thing is spending a week around people," Shanahan told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network on Tuesday. "Everyone can study tape and watch that, which is what you base most of your stuff off of. But you don't really know if they're going to play like that in the league until you know what type of person they are. That's very hard to figure out at the combine in Indy in a 15-minute interview. It's very hard to figure out over the phone.

"It's not (hard to figure out) when you spend six days with people. It's not really about what happens on the field. We'll be the same as that as anyone just picking it up and studying the tape when they get it. We're the ones who get to spend a lot of time in the meeting rooms with these guys, and that's a huge advantage."

The 49ers-led South squad entered halftime with a 12-3 lead over the Gruden-led North squad but were outscored 31-12 in the second half.

Gruden was asked after the game about beating Shanahan's squad.

"He beat my brains in during the regular season. At least I won the Senior Bowl," he responded while laughing.

It is noteworthy that 49ers wide receiver coach and passing-game coordinator Mike LaFleur, not Shanahan, called the plays in the first half for the South squad while the same duties fell on run-game coordinator Mike McDaniel in the second.

Temple running back Ryquell Armstead kicked off the scoring in the game with a one-yard touchdown run followed by a block of LSU kicker Cole Tracy's extra point attempt for a 6-0 South lead.

The North did not get into the end zone until the second half when Duke quarterback Daniel Jones ran the football in for a one-yard score, which cut into the South's 12-3 halftime lead. Another third-quarter score, this time on a pass from Jones to UMass wide receiver Andy Isabella, and then two fourth-quarter trips into the end zone, the first on a three-yard run by Notre Dame running back Dexter Williams and the second on a 21-yard run by Memphis running back Tony Pollard, sealed the win for the North.

Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson tossed touchdown passes to West Virginia wide receivers Gary Jennings and David Sills in the fourth quarter for the South, but it was not enough to make it close for the Shanahan-led squad.

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