49ers Blog and Q&A

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

November 8, 2007
Tick tock -- Alex Smith's mental clock

What's the state of Alex Smith's mental clock? Earlier in the week, Smith blamed a couple of misfires in the Atlanta game - including the one to Bryan Gilmore - on throws that were a bit rushed. There's a fine line on when to throw those passes, Smith said. You have to wait for the receiver to make his break and get open. But you can't wait so long that a defensive lineman is on top of you when you throw.

Smith said his mental clock - the time in which he feels he must get rid of a pass - went off too early on some of those plays. But he said it wasn't because he was worried about absorbing another hit to his still-healing right shoulder.

"I don't think so," he said. "No. It's not something I'm thinking about the shoulder or anything."

Instead he said he was anxious about letting go of the ball -- and potentially making a play -- before the pocket collapsed. As it turns out, he had more time than he thought to step into those throws.

Patrick Estes is back on the 53-man roster wearing No. 76. Mike Nolan, however, said that Kwame Harris will continue to be the top back up at left tackle. Harris had back spasms today and did not practice.

Nolan and his coaches will decide this week whether linebacker Roderick Green can play against Seattle. If he does, he'll be limited at first to passing downs.

Frank Gore (ankle) will go through a limited practice today. Nolan said he was "hopeful" to have Gore back by Monday night.

If you are watching the college game tonight - Louisville and West Virginia - here are the prospects to keep an eye on, according to Scot McCloughan. He also listed the guys to watch during Saturday's USC vs. Cal game. You'll notice that big-name guys like Steve Slaton and Pat White and DeSean Jackson are not on the list. Until they declare for the draft, NFL teams can only scout seniors.

Thursday night:

#82 Gary Barnidge TE
#12 Brian Brohm QB
#85 Harry Douglas WR
#78 Breno Giacomini T
#11 Malik Jackson OLB

West Virginia:
#96 Keilen Dykes DT
#35 Owen Schmitt FB

#79 Sam Baker T
#83 Fred Davis TE
#49 Sedrick Ellis NT
#96 Lawrence Jackson DE
#55 Keith Rivers OLB

#4 Thomas Decoud FS
#20 Justin Forsett RB
#53 Michael Gibson T
#7 Lavelle Hawkins WR


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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