It’s true that Mike Singletary enjoys physical football. But it’s also true that the 49ers head coach is a player’s coach.
The Hall of Fame linebacker demonstrated that fact at Monday’s second training camp practice of the day, allowing several prominent veterans to take the day’s second practice off.
Linebacker Takeo Spikes, defensive tackle Justin Smith, safety Michael Lewis, tackle Barry Sims and linebacker Travis LaBoy all watched practice in sneakers.
While some of the veterans were able to rest their legs, the rookies continued to work theirs as they got a taste of their first two-a-day as professional football players.
“It feels good to get through it,” rookie linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. “I’m just trying to build on it and get better.”
The 6-foot-0, 242-pound inside linebacker out of Penn State demonstrated his talents in front of over 3,000 Faithful fans who attended the first open practice of training camp.
“It was good to see the fans and see how excited they are for this team and this season,” Bowman added. “The guys love having the fans around, but at the end of the day, we still have to focus and put together a perfect practice. It’s good having the fans there and seeing the support, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Bowman had his focus on the field, where the rookie matched up against larger offensive linemen in his first taste of the “Nutcracker” drill.
“It’s definitely a chance to compete,” Bowman said. “It’s about who wants it more.”
Notes and Quotes
Spikes has a familiar face with him the practice fields this week. It’s none other than his former high school coach, Samuel Williams, who’s working with the linebackers as part of a coaching internship with the 49ers.
“I wanted to have an opportunity to eventually step to the next level as a collegiate coach and what better opportunity than to work with the 49ers as a coaching intern,” said Spikes’ old coach at Washington County High School in Sandersville, GA. “The staff is a great staff and Coach Singletary has this team headed in the right direction.”
The current assistant coach at Telfair County High School in GA., is pleased to be reunited with one of his old pupils, as well as his talented teammates.
“It’s just like old times. It’s great to see him and it’s great to visit with him,” Williams said. “Seeing the things they do at the professional level, as a high school coach you don’t get to see these kinds of athletes.”
Alex Smith had a solid afternoon practice. He opened up with three completions in the first 7-on-7 period. Smith began with a completion to Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis on a deep out in front of cheering section of 49ers Faithful. Smith later found fullback Brit Miller on a 25-yard touch pass down the middle of the field for a likely touchdown. Fans must have thought they were back in the 2009 preseason where Miller’s first two catches went for touchdowns.
Michael Crabtree turned in the play of the practice session with a tremendous over-the-middle grab in which he reached up and snatched Nate Davis’ pass out of the air in front of multiple converging defenders.
For more on Monday’s afternoon practice, check out these photos from camp:
Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks watched in the football while making a catch during individual drills.
Linebacker Patrick Willis faced guard Chilo Rachal in the “Nutcracker” drill as Singletary looked on.
Happy camper Takeo Spikes enjoyed the company of his position coach, Vantz Singletary.
Pro Bowlers, Patrick Willis and Vernon Davis conversed on the sidelines during special teams period.
Second-year running back Glen Coffee signed autograph for fans after practice.
Frank Gore signed autographs for the Faithful after his second practice of the day.
Second-year defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois added his signature to a football for a young fan.
Willis signed autographs after practice before heading off to dinner and meetings.
For more photos from Monday, check out this photo gallery.
Tags: Alex Smith, Navorro Bowman, Takeo Spikes
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