Notes and observations from this morning’s practice in Santa Clara…
Every day of 49ers’ training camp seems to bring more twists and turns. Today’s version didn’t take place on a windswept ocean bluff, but there was a certain buzz generated by the half-dozen secret-service-looking guys in black suits to the side of the field.
Turns out Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was at 4949 Centennial Blvd. to address the Bay Area Council, a collection of local movers and shakers that happens to include 49ers president Jed York. The Guv and his entourage strode across the field after practice. No media access, so we couldn’t find out if he planned to out-bench-press Takeo Spikes.
Back to football:
• The 49ers got some of their muscle back today as G Chris Patrick (shoulder) and TE Delanie Walker (concussion) returned to practice. G David Baas was in uniform, too, though he wound up working with trainers during group/team periods. C Eric Heitmann (stinger) and OLB Travis LaBoy (concussion) remained down, and WR Scott Long joined them with a hamstring injury. Like Baas, Long dressed but worked with trainers.
• ILB Scott McKillop had surgery on his left knee (patellar tendon, ACL) this morning. Drs. Gary Fanton and Tim McAdams performed the procedure at Standford Medical Center.
• NFL officials are here for the first of two days. Perhaps to take advantage of their presence, the final team period looked more like live game action, with subs running in from the opposite sidelines. Alex Smith finished the opening possession with his best pass in days, hitting Vernon Davis in stride in the end zone from about 40 yards out. David Carr’s initial try with the second unit didn’t end as well; ILB Matt Wilhelm read a short route by TE Tony Curtis, jumped it to intercept and ran for the end zone.
• No nutcracker today. And no special teams, so it was a shorter practice. The afternoon session will be devoted to the kicking teams.
• For the first time in memory, rookies Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis both got all the first-team offensive-line reps, Iupati at LG and Davis at RT. Both made some good plays. Davis’ most notable was diving headlong to catch a piece of Reggie Smith on a safety blitz, buying a split-second for Alex Smith in team period. Tony Wragge snapped in place of Heitmann.
• For some reason, Tarell Brown got the first snap at LCB in team period, then immediately gave way to Nate Clements. The 49ers worked on a lot of third-down plays, which meant the nickel subpackage, which meant a lot of action for Brown and Reggie Smith.
• S Dashon Goldson got things off to a physical start, slamming into Ted Ginn to break up a pass at the start of team work.
• I’m often surprised by David Carr’s ability to get the ball downfield with that shot-put release of his, but he left a ball for Jason Hill horribly underthrown; Taylor Mays should have intercepted, but dropped it.
• CB Shawntae Spencer continues to haunt the 49ers’ offense. He nearly got another pick today, breaking up a Smith-to-Crabtree slant.
• Should you be interested, the 49ers’ second nickel defense looked like this: Kentwan Balmer and Demetric Evans on the line, NaVorro Bowman and Wilhelm behind them, Ahmad Brooks and Diyral Briggs at outside linebacker, Karl Paymah and Phillip Adams at the corners, Will James on the slot, and Mays and Curtis Taylor at safety.