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July 21, 2008
Nolan, McLoughan conference call highlights

I'm making a guest appearance on The Bee's most-read blog in place of Matt Barrows, who is traveling.

The 49ers hosted a conference call with head coach and Mike Nolan and general manager Scot McCloughan this afternoon. Some of the highlights:

• There will be no timetable for deciding whether Shaun Hill or Alex Smith starts at quarterback. When that decision is made, Nolan, McCloughan, offensive coordinator Mike Martz and Ted Tollner all will have a say, Nolan said. He added each would be given a "fair" chance to win the job.

• Other positions where competition is fairly open are wide receiver and the "Ted" linebacker position on defense. Jeff Ulbrich, Brandon Moore and rookie Larry Grant are fighting for time at the Ted spot.

• Asked if he was worried about his job security, Nolan answered the way any coach would, saying he's not worried about it.

"Job security in my mind comes second to winning," he said.

• The additions of Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson change the dynamic at wide receiver, where Arnaz Battle and Ashley Lelie are the only significant contributors returning.

• Nolan said defensive end Justin Smith probably will play from a three-point stance and from upright.

• McCloughan feels "really good" about first-round pick Kentwan Balmer, third-round pick Reggie Smith and fourth-round selection Cody Wallace all being signed in time for training camp this week.

• Larry Allen's return isn't dead yet. He's spoken with offensive line coach George Warhop in the last couple of weeks, but Nolan hasn't spoken with Allen.

• McCloughan said free-agent linebacker Takeo Spikes still is on the team's radar.

• A proposed joint practice with the Raiders isn't "etched in stone" Nolan said. If it happens, it will be in Napa and it will be a closed practice.

The practice likely would happen before the Raiders and 49ers play in the preseason. Nolan made it clear it would not be a scrimmage.

• Nolan likes fans at practices, but said a lack of manpower might make it difficult to accommodate fans at every session during training camp.

- Jason Jones


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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