49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 2, 2008
Saturday practice, morning coffee edition

While you were still stumbling around in your pj's, I was checking out the early-morning status at 49ers practice. Here's what I saw: Both Shaun Hill and Alex Smith were throwing footballs. It *appears* that Hill will run the first-team offense this morning with Smith leading the second.

Good news on the Kentwan Balmer front. The rookie defensive end was jogging on his injured right ankle, the first time he has done so all week. Also taking part in the early-morning jog were Ashley Lelie (calf) and safety Mark Roman (hamstring). A lot of people are asking whether Dashon Goldson will eventually supplant Roman as the starter. Goldson keeps making outstanding plays in practice, and yet I'm skeptical.

Asked about the Roman-Goldson competition the other day, Nolan said this of Roman: "He's a veteran player that plays very smart." Of Goldson, he said, "a good player, and he's just going to get better and better. He is somebody that we're very positive about." I realize I'm parsing words, but I don't think that Goldson has won Nolan's trust at this point. Nolan is extremely picky about his safety, perhaps moreso than any other position aside from quarterback. It took him two full seasons to find a safety combination he likes, and Roman has earned that trust.

-- 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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