49ers Blog and Q&A

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

October 5, 2011
Notes: Dobbs, Williams competing for role on Sundays

Jim Harbaugh loves competition. So when Will Tukuafu went on injured reserve this week with a wrist injury, he didn't just give Tukuafu's role to one of the team's rookie defensive linemen, Demarcus Dobbs or Ian Williams. He's making them compete for it.


"Both of those guys are on notice that things are changing this week," Harbaugh said. Tukuafu had been filling in as a backup defensive end to both Ray McDonald and Justin Smith. Both Dobbs and Williams lined up at defensive end in the exhibition season, although Williams also played nose tackle.

Both have been among a group of five rookies who have been inactive on game day for the first four weeks. The winner of the competition will be on the team's 46-man roster and also is likely to take over Tukuafu's role on special teams. Ricky Jean Francois filled in at defensive end after Tukuafu left Sunday's game.

Frank Gore today said his ankle felt much better today than it did on Wednesday last week. Gore hardly practiced at all at Youngstown State, and he was a question mark right up until game day. He said he intended to practice today.

Harbaugh and his staff worked out three runnings backs on Tuesday, Dimitri Nance, Jalen Parmele and Tyrell Sutton. It didn't sound as if the 49ers were poised to sign any of them. "Getting the lay of the land in case something happens," Harbaugh said. "Like to be prepared before you have to be prepared."

And now, The Curious Case of the Untucked Sweatshirt. Many of you noticed that immediately following Sunday's game, backup linebacker Blake Costanzo ran over to Harbaugh at midfield and motioned for him to untuck his sweatshirt from his khakis. Harbaugh obliged. I asked Costanzo what was going on there.

"It's kind of, throughout the week, it's business time," Costanzo said. "We're practicing. We're getting ready for things. He tells us, 'When we win, we can untuck our shirts.' And he forgot to do it. And I just helped him out with it a little bit."

-- 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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