Notes and observations from this morning’s minicamp practice…
• As many had suspected he would, coach Mike Singletary canceled the final day of this minicamp, meaning this afternoon’s practice will be the final team activity until training camp. That cleared up the mystery of the double-booked coach. Or did it? Singletary acknowledged to reporters after the morning practice that he was headed to Illinois for three services at Willowcreek Community Church, but denied he was set to speak at McHenry West High School.
Singletary explained his decision to cut work short this way: “These guys have worked hard. They worked their tails off, all offseason. The attendance has been high. … I knew early on, the last day of this, we were not gonna do it.”
• NT Aubrayo Franklin is the only player not attending the minicamp. WR Brandon Jones (ankle) and T Matt Kopa (foot) are the only ones not working. DL Kentwan Balmer got some work in team period.
• Taylor Mays intercepted two passes, a Nate Davis throw intended for Tony Curtis and a David Carr pass that TE Delanie Walker bobbled.
• Carr again went most of the practice without seeing much work in team period, but finished with a flurry of action in a 2-minute drill that moved down the field. He went four-and out, picked up a couple of first downs on the reset, then threw the tipped pick to Mays.
• LB Martail Burnett came away from a 1-on-1 blocking drill with a slight limp. May have been a groin muscle.
• Nice plays by Walker (good-looking one-handed catch over S Reggie Smith), CBs Shawntae Spencer and LeRoy Vann (pass breakups in 7-on-7), Reggie Smith (breakup on Alex Smith’s comeback pass to Jason Hill), LB Patrick Willis (blitz up the middle, pressuring Davis into interception by LB Manny Lawson), S Michael Lewis (on Josh Morgan like a shadow on one pass route) and S Curtis Taylor (tipped Davis’ pass, allowing LB Keaton Kristick to intercept).
• QB Alex Smith and TE Vernon Davis were in fine rhythm. Their several connections included a long play over LB Navorro Bowman. Smith also hit Michael Crabtree after he got behind Spencer and Dashon Goldson on a fly route.
• WR Ted Ginn dropped a couple passes, though neither was what you’d call an easy chance. WR Kyle Williams dropped a flare pass from Davis, and RB Glen Coffee bobbled away a short out, also from Davis.
• The kickoff returns were split by Ginn, Williams, Vann and Dominique Zeigler.
• The punt team worked on keeping balls out of the end zone. Bakari Grant got the biggest ovation for his leaping save. Nate Byham tipped one right into the end zone for a touchback.
• Singletary confirmed that the 49ers will run the infamous nutcracker drill again during training camp, saying it was a vital way to teach his players the importance of leverage. As for concerns that the nutcracker gets people hurt, the coach said: “We came out of training camp as good or better than any team in the NFL.”
• Singletary called the numerous muffs by his punt returners in recent days “a concern, but not a worry.”