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June 7, 2011
Camp notes: Rookies getting first taste of an NFL playbook

Attendance on Day 2 of the 49ers minicamp grew by two when offensive lineman Adam Snyder and rookie Daniel Kilgore joined the group. Kilgore's presence means that exactly half of the team's 10-man draft class is on hand, which in turn highlights one of the advantages of the session: For most rookies, this is the first time they've met their future teammates and this is their first exposure to the playbook.


Kilgore and fellow rookie lineman Mike Person (pictured), for instance, took copious notes during the classroom session and later took what they had learned to the practice field. Veteran Joe Staley said the practice routine starts with pass-block drills, goes to run-block drills to bag work and ends with the unit joining quarterback Alex Smith and the skill players to go over some scripted plays.

Staley and Snyder are leading the group of offensive linemen and acting as de facto coaches. They've been part of the core group of players that have been working out together at San Jose State. Additionally, Snyder was on the 2005 team that also ran a West Coast offense and is somewhat familiar with the language and schemes of Jim Harbaugh's system.

Staley said he and Snyder have a good grasp of the offense but it's not as ideal as it would be if it was taught by the coaching staff. "I mean, today me and Adam were talking back and forth and we were kind of unclear about some things," he said. "So that's where you need the coaches, you know? Obviously, it's not as clear cut as it would be if you had the coaching staff with you."

The rookies also are staying at Staley's house through Thursday, the final day of the camp. Said Staley: "They're asking questions. They're both kind of quiet kids. One's from North Carolina ... one's from Montana. They're kind of country boys, so they kind of have that farm mentality."

The other rookies at the camp are quarterback Colin Kaepernick, running back Kendall Hunter and receiver Ronald Johnson.

Odds & Ends

• While Kilgore and Snyder were added to the practice, the team did have one subtraction. While receiver Michael Crabtree was on hand for the hour-long classroom portion, he did not take part in the practice and was not on the field. Fellow receiver Josh Morgan said that Crabtree's feet were sore after wearing new cleats on Spartan Stadium's FieldTurf field Monday.

• Two of the centers on last year's roster, David Baas and Tony Wragge, are unrestricted free agents and are not taking part in the minicamp. A third, Eric Heitmann, is battling a neck injury and is not cleared to practice. Snyder is filling in at center this week, but Staley made a pitch for the 49ers to re-sign Baas. "Hopefully we can sign Dave back," he said. "That would be real key for the club. I thought he did a great job last year. That will be a real priority for our team to sign him back. Love to have him back."

• Two other linemen also are not on hand this week. Tackle Alex Boone is on his honeymoon, Staley said. Guard Chilo Rachal, meanwhile, had a prior commitment he couldn't break. Rachal has been working out with other former USC players in Los Angeles.

• Snyder Tweeted Tuesday that both he and Staley are below 300 pounds. Well, not quite. Staley said he weighed 304 pounds. He said he's been heavier in prior seasons but felt he lost his maneuverability. He said he feels faster at his current weight and that he is stronger now than he's ever been before.

• Receiver Kevin Jurovich is going in the opposite direction. Last year, he weighed about 185 pounds. This year the former San Jose State standout is up to 195 pounds with hopes of getting to 197. The 49ers want to see what Jurovich can do in the slot where he would have to deal with more traffic and where he would have some blocking responsibility.

• Kaepernick, who had surgery last month, again took some warm-up passes, but he yielded to Smith and David Carr during the practice sessions. Receiver Dominique Zeigler also is sitting out the practice sessions after suffering an ACL tear last year. Zeigler has been observing from the sideline.

• The 49ers camp will go through Thursday. The team may get together again in the last week of June depending on whether the lockout remains in place.

-- 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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