49ers Blog and Q&A

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

January 23, 2010
Defenses shine in Shrine game

Today's East-West Shrine game had a very "Schottenheimer" feel to it. The final score was 13-10 in favor of the East, and the offenses didn't rev up until the final quarter. What's more, viewers missed one of the better defensive plays - an interception by Wisconsin defensive end-turned-linebacker O'Brien Schofield - because ESPN inexplicably stuck with a Western Kentucky-Middle Tennesssee State basketball game for the first 15 minutes even though one of those basketball teams (does it really matter which?) had a double-digit lead for the last foul- and time-out filled minute and a half.

But I digress. These were the guys who I thought stood out in the game. If you watched it, please feel free to add your input below ...

T Rodger Saffold, Indiana. I watched him whenever he was on the field because of the high marks he received in practices and because the 49ers need a tackle. He definitely has quick feet. He was able to slide well and reach the second level quickly on running plays. However, he seemed to get off balance too much in pass protection, which allowed his opponent to pull him forward and then get past Saffold on the edge. Saffold also was called for a false start.

S Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech. This is a guy who hasn't gotten a lot of praise from scouts because they think he's too big (232 lbs) and too stiff to play in the passing game. I wonder if the 49ers couldn't prosper from that opinion. That is, they often require their strong safety to play like a linebacker anyway. And Chancellor looks like a guy who really enjoys hitting and tackling. He was very active in run support and had some big hits in the game. Remember, the 49ers need to start looking for Michael Lewis' replacement.

QB Daryll Clark, Penn State. Clark also didn't get a lot of love during the week of practice. I thought he showed a very strong arm and a quick release and was mostly accurate on the afternoon. He also has a knack for sensing the pass rush and stepping out of the way. That's something you either have or you don't.

WR Blair White, Michigan STATE. The 49ers won't use a high draft pick on a receiver unless that receiver also is an excellent return man. But White (6-2, 205) might be around late in the draft. He was the most prolific receiver on the field today, catching everything that came his way (when he wasn't interfered).

CB Jamar Wall, Texas Tech. He was very aggressive and broke up a couple of passes for the West squad. Neither team was allowed to play press coverage, but Wall (5-10, 204) seemed to have good closing speed on the comeback and out routes.

-- 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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