49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 6, 2008
O'Sullivan to start vs. Raiders

J.T. O'Sullivan will start Friday's game and play at least the first quarter, Mike Nolan said following the team's afternoon practice. Alex Smith will enter in the second quarter and play through the third; Shaun Hill will finish out the game. Nolan insisted that the rotation did not reflect a pecking order in the battle to be the 49ers' starter this season. Instead, he said that he was already familiar with how Smith and Hill looked in games. "I've got experience with both Shaun (Hill) and Alex (Smith) in game situations though we do not have that experience thus far with J.T. O'Sullivan," Nolan said. Conversely, offensive coordinator Mike Martz is familiar with how O'Sullivan looks in games having been his offensive coordinator last season. O'Sullivan played in four games last season for the Lions, completing 13 of 26 passes, one touchdown and two interceptions.

The 49ers will start implementing their game plan for the Raiders tomorrow. Because O'Sullivan will get the start, he received all of the first-team offensive repetitions during the afternoon session. He was 10 of 16 on the afternoon, including a nice touch pass downfield to Delanie Walker over linebacker Manny Lawson. He also threw two interceptions, one that was picked off by linebacker Jeff Ulbrich, the other by cornerback Nate Clements. Smith was 3 of 6 in the afternoon practice; Hill was 3 of 7. The team has one practice tomorrow and O'Sullivan is expected to get the bulk of the first-team snaps.

Several players sat out the afternoon practice, including RB DeShaun Foster, T Jonas Jennings, WR Arnaz Battle, WR Bryant Johnson, S Dashon Goldson and S Mark Roman. With Roman and Goldson out, Keith Lewis (Valley High) teamed with Michael Lewis at safety in the first-team offense.

Nolan said that the 49ers will be light on receivers Friday and that rookie Josh Morgan will see plenty of time with the first-team offense. "As you know, our wide receiver corps is down, so Josh Morgan more than likely will be in there with him with Arnaz Battle," Nolan said. "And then you're going to see Jason Hill and some other guys that aren't truly the (first string)." The 49ers keep a tally of how many passes each receiver has caught in training camp. The top three, in order, are Johnson, Morgan and Jason Hill.

Congratulations to kicker Joe Nedney, who will be inducted into the San Jose State University Sports Hall of Fame next month. Nedney set the school's career scoring record in the early 1990s.

Friday's game may be blacked out in the Bay Area, but it will be on as scheduled in Sacramento. KOVR says it plans to air the game at 7 p.m. Take that, Bay Area!

-- 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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