Rookies’ first task: watch and learn

Interesting sight at the 49ers’ voluntary OTA this morning: the team’s new rookies, both drafted and undrafted, sitting around in T-shirts and shorts, watching the veterans practice. Mike Singletary wanted the young cats to see how an NFL practice is conducted – which explains why the team changed the original schedule and set up a veteran OTA on the same day as a rookie minicamp.

“You know, at first when I saw the schedule, I kind of was wondering why we had this random OTA here. Wasn’t sure why I was here,” QB Alex Smith said.

Now he knows. And he’s in favor of the concept.


“I think it was actually a great thing,” Smith said. “It’s one thing for coaches to talk to them, but to come out and watch and see what practices are supposed to be like – I mean, simple things like stretch, how we go in and out of drills and things like that, I think that’s invaluable. Totally invaluable. So I think it was a great opportunity for them to see us. They’ll get to come out of here this afternoon and this weekend and see what they can do.”

Other players had similar reactions as they remembered their own rookie experiences. Singletary, too, was happy with how it worked out.

“I was looking at the body language of the rookies and they’re excited to get out here,” he said. “It’s nice for them; a lot of them are visual learners anyway. You can sit in there and try and tell them this is how we do it, but they just don’t get it. They come out here, they see it. They see the way we go through individual periods. They see the way we approach the team. They see the way we approach 7-on-7. They see the way we try to take care of each other and I think that’s very important.”

The only problem came at the very end of practice, when the team gathered in the center of one practice field for a final, communal word – except for the rookie offensive linemen, who failed to get the memo and stood at the far corner of another practice field. They came huffing and puffing to their older brethren when people began calling them.

That wasn’t as inglorious as Mike Singletary’s first minicamp. The coach said he pulled a hamstring his first time on the field with the Bears.

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