49ers Blog and Q&A

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

June 15, 2009
Summer break beginning for 49ers

The 49ers have enjoyed excellent attendance thus far for their voluntary OTAs. Today? Eh, not so much. With only two OTAs left before a month-and-a-half break, several veterans came down with a case of senioritis. Isaac Bruce, Takeo Spikes, Aubrayo Franklin, Allen Rossum and Dre Bly were missing today. In addition, Kentwan Balmer, Josh Morgan and rookie Diyral Briggs were out with illnesses. Nate Clements (pneumonia), Isaac Sopoaga (quad), Jason Hill (hamstring), Arnaz Battle (foot), Michael Crabtree (foot), Shawntae Spencer (knee) and Ray McDonald (knee) continue to rehab.

There were a couple of additions, however. Mark Roman was back from an illness and was playing strong safety with the first-team defense. Reggie Smith was back from a groin injury and was the second-team strong safety. Rookie defensive end Pannel Egboh also was permitted to practice again because Stanford's academic year had ended. Egboh lined up at right defensive end behind Justin Smith. ... The regular starter at strong safety, Michael Lewis, has been taking part in individual drills but not team sessions. Lewis suffered a torn abdominal muscle in the Nov. 23 game in Dallas that grew worse as the season went on. It's taken all offseason to heal ...

The absences were particularly acute at receiver. The only wideouts present were Maurice Price, Dominique Zeigler, Michael Spurlock, Mark Bradford, Brandon Jones and rookie Dobson Collins. Zeigler, in particular, seemed to draw kudos from position coach Jerry Sullivan for his route-running precision. Here's a clip of the receivers. Jones runs a nice route at the end ...

Wrs from http://sparrow280.vox.com/

As far as absent starters and their replacements ... Zeigler and Jones were the starters at wideout ... Jeff Ulbrich replaced Spikes at "ted" linebacker ... Khalif Mitchell filled in at nose tackle ... Demetric Evans was the starter at left defensive end.

And as far as practice, Alex Smith (running the second team) engineered a nice end-of-game drive designed to run out the clock ... I wrote recently that rookie linebacker Scott McKillop has shown better-than-expected pass-coverage skills. Today he made me look smart when Smith threw a dart over the middle to tight end Bear Pascoe. It was essentially the same play on which Pascoe burned Ulbrich last week. When Pascoe turned to grab the ball this time, however, McKillop stuck his hand in and jarred it loose for an incompletion. ... The 49ers practiced their receiver-less goal-line offense. That's typically one of the more exciting drills in training camp when the team is in full pads and contact is permitted.

-- Matt Barrows

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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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