SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers began their 2010 training camp on Sunday afternoon without pads. Much like the OTAs, the 49ers worked on individual drills as well as team drills, trying to get the rest of the team focused and prepared as they start practice in pads Monday morning.
Head coach Mike Singletary said that the reason why he decided to add Sunday’s practice to the itinerary was because of the installs the team had worked on Saturday night. To ensure that the team was able to take in everything, Singletary ran the walk-through on Sunday.
Offensive line coach Mike Solari introduced the new rules to the Nutcracker drill to the team. Solari explained the drill for about 15 minutes before the team resumed to their team drills. The Nutcracker drill will be done on the field in between red strips painted onto the field, which are now designated as the “neutral zone” for the drill.
When asked what was different about this season’s Nutcracker drill, head coach Mike Singletary said that there was very little difference from last year’s version.
“The only thing that we’re going to do that’s a little bit different is that when we line up, we’re going to add a little movement to it on the defensive side of the ball,” Singletary said of the changes.
Singletary also spoke about wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree missed training camp last season due to a contract holdout. Singletary believes that Crabtree enters the training camp by building confidence in his talents.
Crabtree said that entering this training camp, he believes in his ability as a player and his focus was his mentality.
“I’m more comfortable,” Crabtree said. “I know where I’m playing and I got a feel for the game. I feel good.”
Crabtree said that with this being his first training camp, he was prepared by having discussions with Singletary. Last season during the training camp holdout, Crabtree worked out with a lot of trainers and friends in Tampa. Crabtree said that his best friend, D Nice, played defensive back during drills. Crabtree said that he was able get the training camp schedules from teammates and was able to build his workout to match the team’s.
This season, Crabtree says he wants start “trying to find that niche, trying to find room to get better.”
The 49ers began practice with numerous individual drills before working on team drills. With the absence of nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin, nose tackle Ricky Jean Francois stepped into the vacant spot. When he sat out, Isaac Sopoaga moved to nose tackle while Ray McDonald played defensive end alongside Justin Smith.
During an 11-on-11 drill, quarterback Alex Smith did look smooth on the field as he received the bulk of the reps. David Carr also received reps; Nate Davis and Jarrett Brown did not.
The passing attack was aggressive, starting off with two deep passes to Ted Ginn early on. Despite both passes being incomplete, it might be a sign of what potential Ginn’s speed can have to the offense.
On defense, rookie Taylor Mays played a good majority with the second team. Singletary said that Mays is making progress and that he will try to get him as many opportunities as possible with as much possible exposure.
The defense recorded two interceptions on the day. One interception came off a tipped ball that was secured by cornerback Nate Clements. The other one was on an overthrown pass intended for tight end Joe Jon Finley that was picked off by safety Dashon Goldson.
The 49ers will be in pads and first practice is scheduled for 8:30 in the morning on Monday.
- Rookie tackle Anthony Davis and guard Mike Iupati did not receive any playing time with the first team. Iupati walked uncomfortably off the field late in practice. He was reported to have issues with his new pair of cleats that he was trying to break in.
- Rookie running back Anthony Dixon and second year back Glen Coffee both received equal amount of reps and both looked good.
- Kyle Williams, LeRoy Vann, Ted Ginn and Brandon Jones all worked as punt returners. All four looked fine out on the field, which means that one of them has to stand out to secure that position.
- Singletary said that he isn’t concerned about Aubrayo Franklin missing camp and wasn’t concerned if he would be out of shape if he does report.
- Singletary also said that he learned a lot from last year’s training camp, saying that he wants to look at the current team and put together a schedule based on what kind of team he has.
“It was a little difficult last year because there [were] so many unknowns,” Singletary said of his first training camp last season. “This year there are not as many unknowns so you can be a little more solid in terms of putting a schedule in place where you feel you can arrive by the first game.”
- Tight end Vernon Davis mentioned that he looked forward to matching up with linebacker Parys Haralson in the Nutcracker drill. When asked about quarterback Alex Smith, Davis replied, “He’s confident, he’s a leader, someone who wants to be successful.” That same confidence was echoed when asked about the team, saying that the 49ers can compete with any other team in the league.
- When asked about his contract compared to the one that San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates received, Davis said that it was not on his mind at the moment as he wanted to “concentrate on football.”
Follow me on Twitter for updates. Check me out here @SLam49ers
SB Nation Bay Area: Follow Sam’s columns on Bay Area sports