49ers Blog and Q&A

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

June 13, 2011
NFL-caliber conditioning? No sweat for Aldon Smith

Last year's 49ers first-round pick, Anthony Davis, struggled with his conditioning early on as a rookie. This year's first rounder, Aldon Smith, is having no problem keeping up.

Smith, who arrived in the Bay Area last week, has fallen in with the core group of 49ers who work out at San Jose State. That means he's now working alongside fellow Missouri product Justin Smith, a noted workout warrior who has been leading the San Jose State group, especially the defensive players.

On Thursday, Justin Smith had the group running two-by-two races up the east arch of Spartan Stadium, a grueling routine that lasted 40 minutes. Today, they were back on the east side of the stadium, this time sprinting up the bleachers from the bottom row to the top. Outside linebacker Parys Haralson was leading those drills.

For Aldon Smith, it was no sweat. (Actually, his t-shirt was drenched like everyone else's). Smith was consistently among the first few players to the top on each run. The Smith boys -- Aldon, Alex and Justin -- seemed to excel at this drill.

"It's about the same," Aldon Smith said of his college routine. "The only difference is it's hotter back home in Missouri. Other than that, it's all conditioning. You're getting your heart rate up."

Strength and conditioning are about the only things the 49ers defenders can work on. Unlike their offensive counterparts, they have not been given a playbook. That's why the defense didn't take part in last week's player-organized minicamp. They wouldn't know what to practice ....

Odds & Ends

* Aldon Smith is in the Bay Area permanently, he said. He's currently living out of a hotel, but is looking to buy in the area. That means the team's first two draft picks -- Colin Kaepernick is the other -- are here for good. Players drafted in the first two rounds likely have made enough money through endorsements and trading-card deals to at least last them until they sign their contracts, which, if the current CBA prognostications are correct, might be in mid to late July.

* Count Haralson among the players who are in excellent condition this offseason. Aside from the stadium work, Haralson said his workout routine has been similar to what it's been in recent offseasons. Still, he said he was leaner than he's been previously. He said he currently weighs about 257 pounds.

* Defensive end Ray McDonald also has been part of the core group at San Jose State. McDonald, a free agent, likely will be one of the 49ers' priorities when free agency finally begins. (He also could be a restricted free agent) Fellow defensive linemen Aubrayo Franklin and Demetric Evans are unrestricted free agents, which means the 49ers could have fewer linemen than they've had in the past. If Franklin doesn't return, Isaac Sopoaga - he's another regular at San Jose State - might move to nose tackle. That would make either McDonald or Ricky Jean Francois the likely candidates to take over for Sopoaga at left defensive end.

* The list of players working out on Monday: Haralson, Mike Iupati, Kaepernick, Kevin Jurovich, McDonald, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Alex Smith, Adam Snyder, Sopoaga and Curtis Taylor.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW 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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