49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

August 14, 2008
P.M. practice: Grant throws punches; Smith throws passes

Not much to report from the afternoon session. Last week, rookie quarterback Kyle Wright handled most of the scout-team work. Today, it appeared to be Shaun Hill who was playing the role of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The most exciting thing was a fight between rookie linebacker Larry Grant and -- who else? -- Vernon Davis. Grant seemed to take exception to some hard blocking on a DeShaun Foster running play. The two took several wild, flailing swings at each other before they were restrained by teammates. It was hard to tell when it occurred, but Grant must have taken a shot to the stomach. He had trouble catching his breath and had to sit out a few plays. The melee seemed to fire up the second-team defense, especially rookie cornerback Reggie Smith and defensive end Walter Curry, who didn't stop hollering for several plays.

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Alex Smith got to run a two-minute drill at the end of practice. He drove the second-team offense to the 9 yard line before his final pass in the corner of the end zone was too far for Cam Colvin to handle. With that incompletion, practice ended. Smith was 4 of 9 on the drive.

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Saturday's game is a big one for two players: Smith and J.T. O'Sullivan. If O'Sullivan has a good game, he will widen the gap between him and Smith. Before training camp began, Mike Nolan said he hoped to nail down the season-opening starter by the third preseason game. That game, Aug. 21 against Chicago, is looming. So will O'Sullivan shine? If he does, he'll have to do so against a good Green Bay defense. Coach Mike McCarthy today told the Packers media that his starters would play "30 or more snaps." That's roughly one half, which is what O'Sullivan is scheduled to play ...

-- Matt Barrows

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MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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