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

September 4, 2008
Snyder to start at left guard; Walker rests calf

Mike Nolan today said Adam Snyder will start at guard next to Joe Staley and that David Baas will be the back-up at both right and left guard. Baas played right guard the last two seasons but practiced early in his career at left guard. He and Snyder had been rotating at left guard this week. "I thought he did decent," Nolan said of Baas' performance Friday against San Diego. "I don't remember the number of reps he got but he did alright."

Snyder's been the team's left guard all offseason but struggled at the position early in training camp. "He started to get more consistent," Nolan said. "Even the line in training camp was getting used to the new offense as well. But the last couple of games, they weren't too bad. They were pretty good."

Nolan said the starter at split end is still undecided. He said Ulbrich would start at "ted" linebacker but that he and Takeo Spikes likely would split time in the game. "Takeo's a good player," Nolan said. "He just needs to get more comfortable with the defense, that's all."

Nolan said he expected first-round pick Kentwan Balmer to play some Sunday. "But how many reps and when he goes in, I'm not sure yet. But we look to utilize him," Nolan said. Balmer didn't play a lot in college, Nolan said, and simply needs more time on the field. Still, he said the rookie showed all the signs of being a good lineman. "Some guys have potential but they don't have the other things that go with it," Nolan said. "They're just body beautiful. But they don't really have the work ethic or the toughness. The reason I have confidence Kentwan will get there, he does ... have good work ethic, he is coachable and he does have good toughness."

Delanie Walker had a sore calf today and sat out practice. He is expected to return tomorrow. Walker was the only player missing today. Both Aubrayo Franklin (knee) and Parys Haralson (shoulder) went through a full practice. Haralson has been wearing a black No. 7 jersey that normally belongs to quarterbacks. Like a quarterback, Haralson is not to be touched during practices.

Nolan said he would not announce the eight inactive players until close to game time, a policy he adheres to with the players as well. He said he used to notify players early in the week but noticed they wouldn't practice as hard.

"They shift down to first gear rather than practicing all week at a high level because they thing, 'Well, I'm not going to play,'" Nolan said.

He said now he waits until pre-game to tell players. " ... They may be a little more disappointed than normal but we get a better roster on Sunday."

-- 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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