San Francisco 49ers

49ers mini notes: New found speed on display Wednesday

SANTA CLARA -- The new found speed in the passing game that 49ers players and coaching staff have been raving about was on display Wednesday. Torrey Smith's wheels were apparent on a couple of catch-and-run scenarios in which he quickly got down field. He also caught one of two long-ball passes from Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepenick also hit Vernon Davis on a down-field seam pattern that had become a staple of the team's offense in recent years but was decidedly missing in 2014. Davis split the coverage of second stringers Nick Moody, a linebacker, and cornerback Kenneth Acker.


Each of the units ran a two-minute scenario at the end of practice. The second-team offense scored against the second-team defense when Blaine Gabbert -- he had a strong session -- hit rookie tight end Blake Bell in the end zone. The 'threes' scored when Dylan Thompson connected with undrafted rookie receiver DiAndre Campbell on the sideline and Campbell scampered the remaining 20 yards into the end zone. (Cam Inman insists Campbell stepped out of bounds before making the catch; we may have to go to Joey Crawford for a replay review).

The first-team offense? Its drive ended when Kaepernick lofted a ball into the middle of the end zone for Smith. He was well-covered and the underthrown pass was intercepted by safety Jaquiski Tartt.


The 49ers have good depth at cornerback in that they have a lot of bodies at the position. But the position lacks clarity. Neither Tramaine Brock nor Shareece Wright have taken part in recent team sessions because both are dealing with muscle strains.

On Tuesday, the first-string cornerbacks were Dontae Johnson and Marcus Cromartie. On Wednesday, they were Johnson and Chris Cook. Acker and Keith Reaser also have been getting a lot of repetitions. How it all sorts itself out in training camp and the preseason ought to be interesting.


Running back Jarryd Hayne did something he rarely has done in spring sessions -- let a pass go through his hands. Hayne, however, made up for the early-practice drop when Gabbert fired a short-range pass to him in the end zone and with several defenders around him. He came up with the reception for a touchdown.

Hayne's biggest challenge may be staying low when he runs. It hasn't been an issue in May and June when there is no hitting. But Jim Tomsula noted that may change when the pads go on in training camp.

"I let him know there could be a play where you come through there and you’re tree-top tall and No. 53’s going to hit you in your chest," Tomsula said. "And I’d like you to listen now before you get the wind knocked out of you. We all know it, one of those is going to happen and we’ll be fine and we’ll get up. It’s just a little reinforcement.”


The first-team offensive line was the same as it was on Tuesday: LT Joe Staley, LG Andrew Tiller, C Joe Looney, RG Marcus Martin, RT Erik Pears. Alex Boone again lined up at left guard with the second-string units. Tomsula said he wants to build depth at guard, which is why Boone is getting practice on the left side after starting on the right for the last three years.


Two members of the 49ers' undrafted wide receiver draft class are emerging. They are Utah's Dres Anderson and Alabama's DeAndrew White. Both are fluid and fast, and they've been catching everything that's been thrown in their direction. White also got work as a kick returner on Wednesday.


Noteworthy: Reggie Bush is the first running back to go through each drill during individual sessions. Obviously, he's the oldest and has the most experience. But he also does each one well, and position coach Tom Rathman often uses Bush as an example for the younger runners. In that way, Bush has taken over Frank Gore's role.


As expected, Aldon Smith did not practice after having his foot stepped on Tuesday. Tomsula said that if it were a game scenario, Smith would have played. Corey Lemonier and rookie Eli Harold mostly lined up on the right side during the session.


A very light rain fell during the first half of practice. The Levi’s Stadium grass held up well for a second day and there were no obvious injuries. Footing also seem to hold up well.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at

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