49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 11, 2007
Starters to play a quarter Monday

Mike Nolan said Saturday he wanted his starters - both offensive and defensive - to play the first quarter during the team's preseason opener Monday. The second-team units will play the second quarter and some of them will begin the second half. The third-team guys will finish out the game in the third and fourth quarters.

At running back, he said Maurice Hicks and Michael Robinson would alternate in the first quarter but that Robinson would continue to play in the second. It's not that Hicks is ahead of Robinson on the depth chart, Nolan said. It's just that Hicks is a veteran while Robinson is still learning the position.

At quarterback, it will be Alex Smith in the first quarter and Trent Dilfer in the second. Dilfer also could start the third quarter. Nolan said that Shaun Hill probably would play the rest of the second half but that there was a possibility Luke Getsy could see some action at the end.

At left tackle, Jonas Jennings and Adam Snyder will play the first half while Damane Duckett will play the second. At right tackle, Kwame Harris will start the game with first-round draft pick Joe Staley entering in the second quarter. Staley also could start the third quarter with Harvey Dahl taking over shortly thereafter.

The 49ers had just one practice session Saturday. On the field, tight end Zach Hilton stood out on two straight plays. On the first, he grabbed a deep pass along the sideline from safety Mark Roman on a pass from Hill. On the next one, he reached up to snag a Getsy pass over the team's other starting safety, Michael Lewis. Of course, it's hard to overthrow Hilton, who at 6-8 is the tallest guy on the team. I don't know how many tight ends the 49ers will keep this season, but if it's four (the same as last season) Hilton has a very good chance of making the squad.

Aubrayo Franklin was walking around the locker room without a limp Saturday. Franklin sprained his medial collateral ligament in his left knee earlier in the week and said he was on track to return to action for the team's regular season opener. For the record, he also gave the proper pronunciation of his first name. It's ah-BRY-uh

Tarell Brown came out of practice earlier and had a bag of ice wrapped around his left knee. The rookie cornerback is sore but plans to play in Monday's game. Receiver Marcus Maxwell (hamstring) missed a third practice but said he expects to play.

There will be a moment of silence at Monday's game in honor of the late Bill Walsh.

-- Matt 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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