It looked bad. Chilo Rachal went face down during a 2-on-2 blocking drill and stayed there. He didn’t move a muscle while a team of trainers encircled him and the other linemen stood and watched with concern. The trainers eventually turned Rachal onto his back and removed his helmet. Finally, after eight or nine minutes, they sat him up. Soon after, he was on a motorized cart and head to the trainer’s room to the sound of applause from several-hundred assembled fans.
“Overheated. Dehydrated,” coach Mike Singletary explained afterward. “Just had to go in and get some IVs.”
This isn’t the first time Rachal has thrown a scare into his teammates. He left practice in a cart on Aug. 4 last year, the victim of headaches. And he went face down on the turf at a practice this offseason after tweaking his back.
Rachal apparently never lost consciousness today, but Singletary offered no timetable on his recovery. “We’re just gonna continue to take it a step at a time. Like I said before, we’ll continue to talk with our trainers, our doctors, and make sure everybody’s where they need to be.”
Some less frightening notes and observations from the p.m. practice…
• ILB Patrick Willis and DL Justin Smith got the “veteran courtesy” treatment and sat out practice. LG David Baas (concussion) and LT Joe Staley (illness) also were down. Matt Wilhelm stood in for Willis, Demetric Evans for Smith, Mike Iupati for Baas and Barry Sims for Staley. After Rachal left the field, Tony Wragge took over at right guard.
• Nutcracker cannon fodder of the afternoon: T Matt Kopa. He lost several battles, including getting buried by Isaac Sopoaga. O-line coach Mike Solari got on Kopa about his leverage at one point.
• QB Nate Davis got some action in team period. He connected with Josh Morgan to beat CB Phillip Adams, but on the next play his wobbly pass went right through Jason Hill’s hands. Hill went down, too, as S Chris Maragos backed off too late.
• Catch of the afternoon: Michael Crabtree, who delighted fans by reaching low to snatch Alex Smith’s crossing pass off his shoelaces.
• On a pitch left, LB Mike Balogun fought through traffic and hit Frank Gore near the sideline. Gore was ticked off.
• Earlier in the day, offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye said of rookie RB Anthony Dixon: “I like him, though there are times I want to strangle him. He’s young, and you know how they say youth is wasted on the young. He’s young and he’s learning. He’s running over the quarterback and the lines.” I have definitely noticed Dixon in the wrong place a couple times. But this afternoon, he picked off a blitzing linebacker for at least the second time. That’s encouraging.
• Isaac Sopoaga tipped Smith’s pass at the line of scrimmage in team period. OLB Diyral Briggs got one, too. The offensive line generally struggled, in fact. In one sequence, Ricky Jean Francois and Derek Walker got big pushes on consecutive pass plays; RJF forced David Carr to unload a little shuttle pass to Gore.