49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 4, 2010
McKillop carted off; Niners hit the road

For the second straight afternoon, a 49er had to be carted off the field into the training room. This time it was inside linebacker Scott McKillop who leaped high for a pass to Josh Morgan in 7-on-7 drills and came down awkwardly on his leg. He immediately flipped onto his stomach and started punching the ground. Trainers put a sleeve on McKillop's left leg before taking him away. He was later diagnosed with a knee sprain and will be evaluated further.

Because Takeo Spikes already had been given the practice off, Matt Wilhelm filled in in the first-team defense. Several 49ers missed the afternoon session. The injured were Delanie Walker (concussion), guard Chris Patrick (shoulder sprain), David Baas (concussion) and Chilo Rachal (dehydration). Spikes, Nate Clements, Justin Smith, Michael Lewis and Travis LaBoy were given the afternoon off. Tarell Brown and Reggie Smith filled in for Clements and Lewis respectively. Rachal was carted away yesterday after collapsing from dehydration.

The 49ers will take practice on the road tomorrow. The team made a last-minute decision to hold a practice at Cal-State Monterey's Otter Soccer Complex. It starts at 9:15 a.m. The 49ers will not be visiting Napa this summer to scrimmage the Raiders because they play the Raiders twice (one in the preseason and again Oct. 17). So this is their one chance to escape Santa Clara.

Quarterback Nate Davis is concretely the team's No. 3 quarterback right now. It seems that Davis' throws have been routinely high, and receivers have had to make leaping catches to snag them. Today, Davis threw an awkward pass that wobbled and was picked off by Ahmad Brooks. Davis, however, rebounded on the next play. Rolling to his right, he uncorked a deep pass to Brandon Jones, which Jones hauled in despite obvious pass interference from safety Chris Maragos. (The ball *may* have hit the ground). It was Davis' best throw of camp so far. Meanwhile, Jones is looking a lot like he did last year -- in a word, good -- before he broke his shoulder.

Earlier today, someone asked me what the difference was between the nutcracker drill and the one-on-one blocking drill, both of which the 49ers do every day. The nutcracker is more of a sumo-like situation where two players clash and try to push each other back. In the one-on-one, the defensive player is trying to get away from an offensive lineman to get the quarterback (or at least a staffer posing as the quarterback). With that in mind, I paid close attention to this morning's one-on-one blocking. Here were the matchups:

1. NT Ricky Jean Francois vs. C Tony Wragge. The two battled to a draw on the first one, but RJF shoved the center backward a few feet on the second. Verdict: RJF

2. DE Justin Smith vs. G Mike Iupati. There was only one battle. Verdict: Draw

3. LB Manny Lawson vs. OT Joe Staley. On the first, Lawson tried an inside move that Staley stonewalled. On the second, Staley did a good job of riding Lawson around the outside. Verdict: Staley

4. LB Diyral Briggs vs. OT Matt Kopa. Kopa rode Briggs out of the play the first time. In the second, Briggs was too quick around the outside. Verdict: Draw.

5. DE Khalif Mitchell vs. G Chris Patrick. Mitchell shoved him back a few feet. Verdict: Mitchell

6. NT Jean Francois vs. center Cody Wallace. RJF blasts the center backward on snap one. On snap two, he beats Wallace to Wallace's left. Verdict: RJF

7. DE Kentwan Balmer vs. Brian de la Puente. The two tangle for a moment but BdlP puts Balmer on his backside. Verdict: de la Puente

8. DE Mitchell vs. de la Pueunte. Mitchell scoots him back a few feet. Verdict: Mitchell.

9. OT Alex Boone vs. OLB Ahmad Brooks. This was the marquee event. On the first snap, Boone rode Brooks out of the play. "I can tell you that was one of your better ones," a happy Mike Solari told Boone after. On snap two, however, Brooks started outside but then tore inside with an impressive move that would have crushed the quarterback. Somebody yelled for a tiebreaker, so the two lined up for a rare third battle. That one, sadly, turned out to be a stalemate. Verdict: Draw.

-- 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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