MOBILE, Ala. – Time flies when you’re having fun… can hardly believe we’ve been here three days already. So far, we’ve seen a lot of promising talent in this senior class at a lot of positions.
Today’s practice begins with the North side on the field first, South to follow.
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Yesterday we looked at the adjustments players are making from the college ranks to pro style schemes. We also reviewed the South’s practice after seeing that side for the first time.
Currently linebackers and running backs are running one-on-one route running drills. Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich did a nice job defending a wheel route, coming up with an interception when Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter failed to maintain his initial catch.
The group is now working on blitz pickups, both Herzlich and Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan are pass rushing from a two-point stance. Lots of good pad thumping from the drill and great intensity from Bengals coaching staff while instructing the players.
After a brief field goal period it’s time for the first team session. Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick takes the first reps under center and hands off to Hunter, who makes a nice cut before bouncing to the right for a nice gain.
Mostly runs in this period, but Ohio State WR Dane Sanzenbacher makes nice run after the catch on a throw from Washington QB Jake Locker.
Kickoff period is taking place and although it’s not live, Rutgers DB Joe Lefegod looks like he has great burst when returning kicks. I wonder if he’ll break some big returns on Saturday.
Watching one-on-one pass rushing drills, nice job from Stanford DL Sione Fua and Cal DL Cameron Jordan. Fua got great push inside, Jordan did a good job of using his long arms to get past a blocker.
Just as I turned my attention to 7-on-7 drills, Kaepernick fires deep ball to Boise State WR Austin Pettis, who did nice job of using every bit of 6-foot-2 frame to make leaping catch. Pettis, again made a nice grab on a slant, throw from Locker.
San Diego State WR Vincent Brown continues to catch everything thrown his way, just plucked a high slant pass out of the sky with ease during team period.
Defensively, Kerrigan is having a strong day so far. Did well in one-on-ones and continues to get in the backfield during team. He batted down a shovel pass too.
Practice just ended, but we’ll have more on 49ers.com throughout the day. Here’s a quick transcript with Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi:
Q: Do you look at this as an awesome opportunity or as nerve-racking?
A: No, it’s an awesome opportunity. This is a job interview, but if you let it get in your head or you get nervous or anxious, you’re going to freeze. You have to go out and have fun, compete and play football. That’s really what we’re doing out here, we’re playing football.
Q: When you got here, was there anything specific that you wanted to show the scouts to alleviate potential concerns?
A: There are different things you hear you have to work on, but you’re always working on your strengths and weaknesses. You can never take a day off on any of those things. It’s a constant improvement and you’re never going to have everything figured out. I’m just trying to show that’s how I think and that’s how I work. It’s probably the main thing. You’re always going to try and improve what’s maybe hampering you or whatever is still your strong suits. It’s important to get out here and show what kind of guy you are and what kind of work ethic you have.
Q: Is arm strength something people have asked you about?
A: Yeah. Definitely at times you can always throw the ball a little stronger. You have a couple that might sail on you and that might not be arm strength, that could be footwork. So it’s all about breaking down each throw, looking at it from a mechanical standpoint and understanding what you’re doing wrong on each one.
1:45 PM Update
It’s South practice time and like yesterday there’s plenty of Alabama Crimson red in the bleachers.
After stretches and indivual period, South is currently working on special teams.
Team period opens with Alabama’s own QB Greg McElroy taking first reps. He just rolled to his right and completed 15-yard pass to Tennessee tight end Luke Stocker.
This time from the pocket, McElroy completes a 35-yard corner route to Miami WR Leonard Hankerson.
Louisville RB Bilal Powell had a nice inside run, planting hard on right foot, then cutting back to his left for a 10-yard gain.
Texas A&M LB Von Miller having a good day in one-on-one pass rush drills, beat Mississippi State T Derek Sherrod with back-to-back moves. First with speed rush around left edge and second with a quick Dwight Freeney-like spin move.
Similar to the North practice from this morning, several defensive ends are taking reps at outside linebacker in 7-on-7. Texas DE Sam Acho and Arizona DE Brooks Reed are two of the “tweeners” getting coverage reps as well.
South defense getting best of offense in final team period. Acho just sacked Florida State QB Chrisitan Ponder and the defensive line has stuffed several inside runs. USC CB Shareece Wright just broke up a pass intended for South Alabama WR Courtney Smith too.
The team period just wrapped, pretty much dominated by the defense, who only gave up a few short completions.
We caught up with all three South quarterbacks who have a pretty unique relationship, more on that later. But first, here’s a quick snippet of the conversation with Florida State signal caller Christian Ponder.
Q: How close are you to being 100-percent, health-wise?
A: I’d say I’m a 100-percent right now. I’ve felt great the past month throwing the ball, no after effects from surgery or anything.
Q: Do you look at this as a chance to show that you are full-go?
A: Definitely. It’s a big opportunity for me to show that I can still throw the ball, the arm feels great and that I’m 100-percent healthy.
Q: How much have you and the other quarterbacks talked about how strange it is to have all three South quarterbacks growing up in the same area of Texas?
A: It’s pretty cool. It’s very unique. We all kind of knew each other growing up. We worked out together back in high school. I think our senior year, the Class of 2006, there was like 26 quarterbacks signed to Division I (programs) out of the state of Texas.
Q: Who will be the starter on Saturday?
A: We don’t know yet… Who knows?
Stay tuned for more coverage on 49ers.com.
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