It was an odd sight at the 49ers’ offensive camp: Alex Smith, a quarterback not on the 49ers’ roster, taking snaps from David Baas, a center not on the 49ers’ roster.
Of course, it’s become a foregone conclusion that Smith, an unrestricted free agent, will be back in San Francisco. But the arrival of Baas at the final day of the four-day camp was a welcome sight for a team potentially facing a hole in the middle of its line.
Baas, who earned rave reviews after filling in for injured center Eric Heitmann last year, flew from Florida on Wednesday to get familiar with an offense he hopes to be part of in 2011. Baas is also an unrestricted free agent.
“Really, all I can do is be a professional about it. And that’s one of the reasons I came out here – I plan on coming back,” Baas said. “You never know what’s going to happen with the craziness that’s going on. But I’m going to prepare like I’m coming back.”
Baas, who said a commitment prevented him from arriving earlier, had a one-hour meeting with coach Jim Harbaugh prior to the lockout.
“Yeah, I have a feeling that they definitely, that they want me back,” Baas said. “And like I said, I want to be back. I’ve got my house out here, a lot of things that I’m still hanging onto. But I’m just preparing and when the time comes, everything will work out.”
• Baas, who was part of San Francisco’s 2005 draft class with Smith, said picking up a new offense wouldn’t be a huge challenge. Baas got his first look at the playbook this morning.
“Let’s be honest,” he said. “We’ve had six different playbooks, six coordinator in six years. If I can’t learn a playbook quickly, something’s wrong. I think I messed up – said one old call out there (in practice) versus a new call, and other than that it was fine.”
• Smith was asked about an odd dynamic – tutoring Colin Kaepernick, the Niners’ quarterback of the future, as Smith attempts to finally establish himself as an elite NFL signal-caller.
Smith said he’s talked with the rookie after keeping their competition on the field and not letting it spill into the locker room or media. He said he had no problem guiding Kaepernick through the playbook.
“It’s just not in my nature, although it might be advantageous for me to try to screw him over — not tell him things and not teach him,” Smith said. “It’s just not who I am. It’s really not. It wasn’t how I got treated when I was a young player and I know how much I appreciated that.
“It’s a different situation for both of us. The one thing I’ve appreciated from Colin is that he’s come in and he’s very level-headed. He’s down to earth. He’s willing to work … and he’s working hard.”
• Kaepernick did not throw passes during practice this week. He said he is still recovering from a minor surgical procedure on his lower left leg that he underwent in early May. He declined to say when he might be at full strength.
“I’m still not 100 percent,” he said. “The doctors just want me to take it slow. We’ll leave it that.”
• WR Kyle Williams left practice after apparently tweaking his leg while running a deep post pattern. Williams walked off the field with a San Jose State trainer.
• First-round pick Aldon Smith made his first appearance at San Jose State today, arriving with defensive end Justin Smith, a fellow Missouri product.
The rookie’s first day featured plenty of running. He joined a group of defensive players that included Justin Smith, Parys Haralson, Isaac Sopoaga, Ray McDonald and Curtis Taylor for conditioning which featured repeated sprints up a steep ramp inside Spartan Stadium.
• TE Delanie Walker was back at practice today. Walker missed practice Wednesday.