First minicamp: It’s a wrap

Click here to view a photo gallery from the 49ers’ minicamp in Santa Clara.

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The 49ers’ two-day minicamp just wrapped up with today’s practice taking part mostly in the rain here in Santa Clara.

The team will have meetings tomorrow morning, and they will not get on the practice field. The next minicamp will be held the weekend following the draft.

 

There wasn’t a lot to be gleaned from this minicamp, but here are several observations:

 

–Alex Smith threw the ball with pretty good velocity. The accuracy is about what you’d expect from a man who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury. His throwing motion looked pretty similar to what it has been in the past.

 

–Shaun Hill looked comfortable out there. He hit Jason Hill on a nice deep route in the rain today. Damon Huard looked OK, too. Huard is here as a backup, but they were saying the same thing a year ago at this time about J.T. O’Sullivan.

 

–This was a non-contact minicamp. (All minicamps are non-contact with no work with pads.) Therefore, you really can’t tell much about such physical positions as fullback, offensive line, defensive line and linebacker.

 

–The thing that stood out from minicamps of previous years is the amount of conditioning the team went through. When it came to the running drills at the end of practice, you always expect the linemen to be among the last ones to finish. Linebacker Ahmad Brooks was dragging along at the finish, along with the 300-pounders.

 

–This was a good minicamp for Dashon Goldson, Manny Lawson, Brandon Jones and Alex Smith. Goldson is being penciled in as the starter at free safety, so he got some valuable reps. Lawson has put on 10 to 15 pounds and is excited about getting an opportunity to rush the passer. Jones looked good on the practice field with some nice catches, and it was nice to see Smith back out there throwing the ball again.

 

–Isaac Sopoaga lined up at left defensive tackle with the first team, but he shifted to nose tackle with the second team. With Aubrayo Franklin entering the final year of his contract, the 49ers would like to see Sopoaga beat out Franklin at nose tackle. That way, Demetric Evans and Kentwan Balmer can compete at left end, while Justin Smith is entrenched at right end.

 

–There seems to be no discontent with Balmer, the 49ers’ first-round pick in 2008. Balmer had a difficult time getting on the field last season, but his work ethic and attitude continue to be very good. That’s why the club believes he’ll develop into a productive player.

 

–Steelers free-agent tackle Marvel Smith received a contract offer from the 49ers on Friday. Obviously, it did not bowl him over. There is a strong chance Smith will continue to weigh his options for a while.

 

–One thing held true: Whenever there is a coaching change, everybody loves to talk about why it’s going to be better with the new guy. I’m going to write in tomorrow’s paper about the excitement of abandoning Mike Nolan’s hybrid 3-4 defense for Greg Manusky’s true 3-4. Also, expect more players to talk about why Jimmy Raye’s offense is better than Mike Martz’s.

 

That’s just the way it is. I wouldn’t draw any big conclusions until we get into the regular season.

 

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