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SANTA CLARA — Bobb McKittrick, the 49ers' legendary offensive line coach, was Mike Solari's biggest influence. But Solari has already surpassed McKittrick on one measure.

During his 21 seasons in San Francisco (1979-1999), McKittrick was given only one first-round draft choice to work with — tackle Harris Barton in 1987. He was famous for patching together brilliant lines from unheralded talent. Meanwhile, just a few months into his second stint with the 49ers, Solari already has received two first-rounders — tackle Anthony Davis and guard Mike Iupati, taken with overall picks No. 11 and 17, respectively, in April.

Now comes the real challenge: taking these two prodigies, and the rest of the offensive linemen on the roster, and creating a cohesive, powerful unit out of a line that was flawed in 2009.

If Solari is successful, it will be credited to his intense focus, attention to detail and an emphasis on technique.

"It's all business, 100 percent of the time," left tackle Joe Staley said. "Not saying it wasn't last year, but just the demeanor he brings when he comes into the building, the mentality that he's breeding here. ... When we get on the field and work, the attention to details and the fundamentals, the techniques, it's really going back to basics."

Solari made sense as a candidate to replace Chris Foerster as offensive line coach. To start with, he has a strong resume that includes time under McKittrick for the 49ers from 1992-96 and 11 years with the Chiefs, nine as offensive line coach (1997-2005) and two as offensive coordinator (2006-07). He spent the past two seasons coaching the line in Seattle. He's had Pro Bowl blockers at every stop.

Perhaps more important, Solari favors the physical, straightforward approach that coach Mike Singletary is looking for.

"They're gonna play with an attitude," Solari promised. "Whenever you see a line coached by myself, I think you'll see an effort, an intensity by the offensive line that will exemplify that on the football field. But again, with Coach Singletary, it's something that he looks for, that he expects from his teams. And he allows that, as far as the plays being called."

Solari, who is being assisted by former 49ers O-lineman Ray Brown, didn't simply stamp his scheme onto the line. Before taking to the field, he watched every Niners game from 2009 to get a feel for his new players. That included preseason games, because he wanted to see young players like Cody Wallace and Alex Boone.

Solari evaluated, ranked and compared all his linemen. Then he analyzed existing free-agent offensive linemen and ranked them, too. Then he looked at eligible college players and did the same thing. His input no doubt helped sell Singletary and personnel chief Trent Baalke on Davis and Iupati, the 49ers' biggest new toys.

But Solari wasn't done with his breakdown. He met with the 49ers' veteran offensive linemen to get a further idea of their strengths and weaknesses.

"He's done a really great job of adjusting to us," right tackle Adam Snyder said. "Most of us have been together for a few years. He gave us an opportunity to kind of speak our part of what we know about the offense, and then he kind of adapted to us, bringing his own stuff with him."

On the field, Solari preaches repetition and technique — as he says, "footwork, hat placement, hand placement."

"You gotta put 'em in game-like situations," Solari said. "You gotta put 'em in situations where it's kind of like d??vu — &‘I've been in this situation before.' It's a feel. Because there are, quote, unscouted looks, no matter who you are. ... And the thing they've got to be able to do is just be able to apply their rules, and to execute and perform as one."

Solari has not brought wholesale changes to the 49ers' blocking scheme. Snyder cites "a couple different techniques, ... a few different calls." The offense will still rely on the straight-ahead power attack favored by coordinator Jimmy Raye, who was with Solari for four years in Kansas City.

While acknowledging that it's hard to get an accurate read of his players before they put on pads, Solari said Davis and Iupati are "right on schedule" in their learning process. Many expect both to start for the 49ers this season, but they haven't overtaken Snyder and David Baas on the depth chart yet.

The goal, according to Solari, is for his line to be working as a coordinated unit on the first day of training camp. He'd like to figure out his starting five before then.

"It can't come quick enough," he said. "Yet it's a situation where there's really some good competition going on among the group — also for different roles. Competition brings out the best in you."

And a good line might just bring out the best in quarterback Alex Smith and his offensive cohorts.

For more on the 49ers, go to Instant 49ers at blog.pressdemocrat.com/49ers. You can reach Staff Writer Phil Barber at 521-5263 or phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com.