49ers Blog and Q&A

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

July 9, 2007
How many d-linemen will they keep?

Question: What are Mike Nolan's substitution preferences for the defensive linemen and linebackers? I have been thinking about what numbers Nolan might keep for each position, and besides depth, the sub rotation would give me a greater insight into whether having six or seven linemen is plausible.

Jeff, Asheville, N.C.

Answer: I've been thinking about the same thing, Jeff, but haven't come to any solid conclusions. Going off of spring practices, Isaac Sopoaga was the backup nose tackle, Ray McDonald was the backup right end and Ronald Fields was the backup left end. (But remember that Sam Rayburn came in late and that Joe Cohen is a rookie). At linebacker, the top subs were Patrick Willis at middle (Mike) linebacker while Parys Haralson, Hannibal Navies and Roderick Green were the first ones in at outside linebacker. I'd look for the rookies (Cohen, Willis and Jay Moore) to start making a bigger impact during training camp.

- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

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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