SANTA CLARA Vic Fangio said he's been a fan of Joe Flacco since the Baltimore quarterback's first practice.
Fangio, the 49ers' defensive coordinator, was a defensive assistant for the Ravens when they drafted Flacco 18th overall in 2008. Fangio said he remembers watching the tall, big-armed quarterback that spring and turning to then-rookie coach John Harbaugh.
"I said, 'You've got your horse here to ride for 10 years at least,' " Fangio recalled. "I really felt that he could be a really good quarterback in the NFL. And I felt that from that day, and I still feel that way."
The 49ers' Colin Kaepernick and Flacco have been the most impressive quarterbacks during the playoffs, leading their teams to the Super Bowl. Flacco has thrown eight touchdown passes without an interception, including three touchdowns in Sunday's win over the Patriots for the AFC championship.
Does Fangio, who coached in Baltimore for four seasons, have any special insight into stopping Flacco and the Ravens?
"Well, there are a few players that are still there," Fangio said. "Obviously, the quarterback and the running back, (Ray) Rice. But they've had a change in coordinators there. A couple of the offensive linemen are still there from when I was there. But I don't think it's a big advantage."
Brooks sits The 49ers began practicing for the Super Bowl without linebacker Ahmad Brooks, one of the standouts from Sunday's win over the Atlanta Falcons.
He and No. 3 tight end Garrett Celek (foot) were the only players who sat out Wednesday's session.
Brooks briefly left Sunday's game in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. He returned and had three critical plays two batted passes and a hit on Matt Ryan that injured the quarterback's shoulder.
Clark Haggans, one of two 49ers to have won a Super Bowl (Steelers), replaced Brooks. The other 49er with a Super Bowl ring is center Jonathan Goodwin (Saints).
Meanwhile, practice squad wide receiver Ricardo Lockette perhaps the fastest player on the roster is playing the role of Ravens speedster Torrey Smith in practice. A former track star at Fort Valley State, Lockette ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at the 2011 NFL combine, matching the fastest time by a wide receiver.
Chad Hall, 5-foot-8, is portraying Anquan Boldin, who had a string of big games against the 49ers when he was with the Cardinals. Boldin also had a strong outing in the Ravens' 16-6 win over the 49ers last season, leading all receivers with four catches for 63 yards.
Et cetera In an effort to spare the Harbaugh brothers' family from a bombardment of media calls, the NFL has organized a conference call for today with the coaches' parents, Jackie and Jack, and their younger sister, Joani Crean. Crean is married to Indiana men's basketball coach Tom Crean.
The NFL fined running back Frank Gore $10,500 for wearing his socks too low in Sunday's NFC Championship Game.
Cornerback Tarell Brown (shoulder), fullback Bruce Miller (shoulder) and linebacker Aldon Smith (shoulder) were limited participants in Wednesday's practice.