49ers Blog and Q&A

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

July 31, 2007
Rookie Willis turns up the heat

Patrick Willis, who seemed lost in the shuffle during spring drills, had his coming out party during today's morning practice. You can safely say that he was extremely visible - both to sideline observers and to his offensive teammates.

Just ask Brandon Williams. Willis almost took the wide receiver's head off after Williams made a short catch during a red-zone drill. Willis followed that up by meeting fellow rookie Thomas Clayton in the hole and putting a nice lick on the running back.

The 49ers' first-round pick also stood out in the live tackling drills that ended practice. He had a big hit on back-up fullback Steve Dildine that echoed throughout the practice field. And he ended practice with an interception off a tipped pass, his second interception in two days.

"It's starting to come me a little bit more," Willis said afterward. "I just want to do things better than I did them the day before."

In case you didn't infer it, the 49ers were again in full pads this morning, their third straight full-contact practice. They will start alternating between pads and shells beginning tomorrow.


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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