SANTA CLARA –
When you watch Aldon Smith work individually with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, you think, “Here’s a rookie with a lot to learn.”
Today Fangio worked with Smith on the blocking sleds, and he’d repeatedly stop Smith to work on his technique. Fangio wanted Smith to hit the sled, rip away to the right and square up. But Smith wasn’t squaring up, he was ending up sideways. Parys Haralson made the drill look easy, and he gave Aldon some pointers between reps.
But on the field, Smith looked like a veteran stud. He pressured the quarterbacks more than anyone, and he even put Moran Norris on his back.
On one play, Gore took a handoff and met Smith in the hole and the two collided. Gore didn’t like the hit, so he slapped Smith in the face. Smith didn’t back down or apologize – he slapped Gore right back. Vernon Davis stepped in right away to break it up.
Harbaugh squashed any potential fight by blowing his whistle and ordering the team to start another play. It was another Gore run, and at the end of it, the defensive players jumped and hooted with delight at Smith’s hit on Gore. Gore even jogged over to Smith and gave him a high five and the two made up.
Here’s how Vernon Davis described the scene: “In the heat of battle you get frustrated, then you break it up and you’re buddies again.”
* * *
Harbaugh made his way to the quarterbacks about a half hour into practice. He threw a few balls with them, but then he became a pass rusher. As the QBs dropped back, he ran at them as fast as he could with his hands up. On one play he even slapped the ball out of McLeod Bethel-Thompson’s hand during his windup.
* * *
Colin Kaepernick had another solid practice. His prettiest throw was a 45-yard bomb caught by a diving Lance Long.
* * *
Jeremiah Masoli took most of the second-team reps at quarterback, not Bethel-Thompson. Masoli was more accurate today than in days past, and he looked particularly good in a two-minute drill, completing 7 of 7 passes. He led the team all the way down the field to the one yard line, but Delanie Walker couldn’t get out of bounds on the final play, and time ran out.
Follow me on twitter @grantcohn.