49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 2, 2009
Marvel Smith: Proceed with caution

There were a lot of story lines from yesterday's opening practice. One that got overlooked was offensive tackle Marvel Smith who began training camp not as the first-string right tackle as expected but as the No. 2 behind Adam Snyder. In fact, Smith shared second-team reps with rookie Alex Boone. Smith also sat out the afternoon session. A nine-year veteran, Smith has had back problems each of the last two seasons, and the 49ers are being very careful with him. It's clear they are hoping he will be the starter when the regular season begins. Getting him to the regular season healthy, however, is priority no. 1. Here's what Smith had to say following the morning session yesterday.

How did it feel today given that you haven't been in a team situation since October?
Initially, when I first got down to hit somebody, it was like I hadn't done it in years. But then it came right back because I have been doing it for so long. I feel great. As practice went on, I felt better toward the end.

Is the idea to start you on the second team and then gradually work you into the first?
I have no ... I mean, I don't know how coach feels about it. I really don't care, to tell you the truth, how they do it. I just want to go out there, perform and do what I do. And it will take care of itself.

Were you surprised you weren't with the first team?
It's a new team. It's not like I'm going to come in and they're going to give it to me. Obviously, anything worth having, you're going to have to work for. I don't mind it. I don't care where I'm playing or where I start out at. It's all about where I finish. That's my main focus right now.

How will you handle your back? Will it be something where you take every other practice off to make sure you don't aggravate it?
Yeah, that's the biggest thing, really. Obviously, I need to work. And this is a competition for the right tackle job. So I've got to practice and do everything possible. But they limited some of my reps today. They're being smart about it. I mean, if they ask me to go, I'm going to do it, which kind of got me in the situation I was in the past. So I'm trying to listen to how they want me to go about doing it and they know the best way to do it. So I'm just working as hard as I can whenever they let me.

-- 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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