SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Wednesday morning practice for the 49ers didn’t provide as much excitement as it did the past two days; especially in the Nutcracker Drills. Instead of the one-one-one matchups, each side featured four players. Much like other running drills, the offensive line also had the quarterback and running back (sometimes a fullback) to simulate stretches and sweeps to one side. The offensive line would all line up on one side of the center, depending on where the running back will go.
Unlike the previous Nutcracker drills, there were not definitive winners in today’s session as players worked on their blocking and opening holes for the running back. This was especially important with the handful of players missing from the offensive line. Guard Chilo Rachal (dehydration) and guard David Baas (concussion) did not participate in today’s practice and are both listed as day-to-day. Tight end Nate Byham was also out nursing an ankle strain. Tackle Barry Sims was given the morning practice off as veterans’ courtesy.
Tony Wragge handled the majority of the snaps at center while Adam Snyder filled in at the guard position left vacant by Rachal. Head coach Mike Singletary was pleased at Snyder’s versatility at the offensive line.
“Snyder has a good mind, does a good job,” Singletary said of Snyder’s ability to play different positions. “You don’t find that often in one guy.”
It was important that the 49ers were able to fill holes in the offensive line that were left open by injuries, especially since the team installed new running plays into the offense. Running back Glen Coffee, who has been seeing more time with the first team, said the team ran a set package of plays.
“Before practice we always have set plays that we want to run and in a set situation that we want to do; that’s why we had a couple more run plays in there,” Coffee said after practice.
With a heavy emphasis on the running game, the 49ers were able to mix and match different players from the second team into the mix. The wide receivers, for most of the day, were out of these drills focusing on their receiving off to the side.
It was a tough day for the young players on defense as both safety Curtis Taylor and linebacker Martail Burnett received an earful from defensive coordinator Greg Manusky for their inconsistencies in coverage. Manusky even told Burnett to sit out a play as linebacker Mike Balogun volunteered to demonstrate the proper coverage on a route.
Despite this incident, the defense held its own during the practice. On a blitz package, linebacker Patrick Willis and Ahmad Brooks swarmed Smith and forced a strip on the ball. Rookie Phillip Adams had a decent day on the field, but did highlight the end of team drills with a break up of a pass intended for wide receiver Jason Hill.
- Center Eric Heitmann sat out the latter half of practice with a shoulder stinger. It’s nothing serious and it allowed Tony Wragge to serve as his replacement.
- Guard Chilo Rachal (dehydration) and guard David Baas (concussion) did not participate in today’s practice and are both listed as day-to-day. Tight end Nate Byham was also out nursing an ankle strain. Tackle Barry Sims and cornerback Will James were given the morning practice off as veterans’ courtesy.
- Tackle Anthony Davis received a lot of playing time with the first team as Snyder moved to guard and played very inconsistently. Rookie guard Mike Iupati has been playing at guard with the first team has looked good, but still is nowhere near being a starter.
- Head coach Mike Singletary mentioned that if the situation presents itself, he could keep running backs Glen Coffee and Anthony Dixon on the roster. However, the back that is the third option will get a lot of special teams opportunities.
- Singletary also had praises for assistant offensive line coach Ray Brown. Brown, a former player for the 49ers, was taught under former 49ers offensive line coach Bobb McKittrick. McKittrick coached the 49ers offensive line to five Super Bowl titles. Singletary said that Brown’s experience is very valuable to the team.
- When asked about his experience on facing Jerry Rice as a player, Singletary said that rice was a headache. Singletary cited that Rice’s consistency and perfection made it tough for him to cover.
Follow me on Twitter for updates. Check me out here @SLam49ers
SB Nation Bay Area: Follow Sam’s columns on Bay Area sports