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San Francisco 49ers

Stadium: Levi's Stadium | Coach: Jim Harbaugh
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense11th125.1 (10th)232.3 (19th)
Defense2nd84.9 (4th)221.1 (8th)

49ers report: Notes, quotes

The Sports Xchange
 
Notes, quotes · Inside slant · Strategy and personnel
 

--It's not unusual for teammates to mix it up during training camp. But usually scuffles break out between offensive and defensive players. On Saturday, high-profile offensive players Vernon Davis and Larry Allen got into a heated confrontation on the sideline.

It took several teammates to pull the players apart. Davis had to be restrained from going back after Allen. When asked if it was a concern, 49ers coach Mike Nolan paused for five seconds before answering.

"Yes and no," he said. "I don't like guys fighting (because) someone might get hurt. But if you're fighting about something, it means something to you. That's really important. We didn't score on that first drive like our offense wanted to. I know that was the frustration of all 11 guys coming off the field."

--Allen reported to training camp a day after his teammates. He had an excused absence because of personal reasons. Allen reported at his playing weight of 340 pounds, he said.

"He looks great," Nolan said. "I told him he could start modeling for GQ."

--TE Vernon Davis has stood out on the practice field. He is a big part of the offense, and he also makes sure everybody on defense knows he's a big part of things. He has gotten in almost daily shoving matches with his defensive teammates.

Said teammate Nate Clements, "He brings energy. He's a competitor, and he backs it up. He's doing what he's supposed to do. He's not going to back down, and that's great. We're out there making each other better. It's all in good fun."

--Running back Michael Robinson was out of action for a couple days after suffering from dehydration but he remained active as a quasi-coach.

Newcomer Arkee Whitlock was signed one day and had to take a lot of reps on the practice field the next day. He probably would not have been able to make it through practice without Robinson, who broke the huddle with Whitlock and told him what to do on every play.

Said Whitlock, "He is a great teacher. He's got a future as a coach."

"We're all here to make each other better and make the team better," Robinson said. "You don't want to see someone get embarrassed and not know what he's doing. The best way for the team to get better is for everyone to be playing at their highest level. If one person doesn't know what he's doing, it slows down the practice and the whole team doesn't get better because of it."

--Right tackle Kwame Harris said he is working hard on being more consistent in his pass protection. He surrendered 8.5 sacks last season, according to STATS, Inc. Harris pointed to the 49ers' 34.4-percent conversion rate on third downs as an area in which he can help the team improve from last season.

"I think part of that has to do with protection up front and that falls on all of our shoulders -- it falls on my shoulders," Harris said. "So that's going to be a constant point of emphasis for me. I love playing football. I love running the ball. That's where a lot of my passion lies. At the same time, they're not handing it off all the time. So that's a point of emphasis for me coming into this camp."

--Outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain is being counted on to supply the 49ers with most of their pass rush. Assistant head coach Mike Singletary expects big things out of the free-agent acquisition. Singletary said he believes Banta-Cain will record at least 10 sacks this season. "There's no reason he shouldn't be one of the leading sack guys in the league," Singletary said.

--Coach Mike Nolan truly meant it as a compliment when he called fullback Zak Keasey "ugly." Keasey, who has spent the past two seasons on the practice squad, certainly was not offended.

"I know where he was coming from," Keasey said. "It's more about my playing style on the field. I give it all I got and work real hard and I'm a gritty, hard-nosed player. I do the best I can."

Nolan has said Keasey has a good chance to win a roster spot this season. Nolan often uses him as an example when talking about players who have the heart to play in the league.

"Zak Keasey looks ugly to me, but he plays pretty darn well," Nolan said. "I like Zak."

Nolan also noted that Keasey is a lot different than Kevan Barlow, the running back Nolan traded last year to the Jets for a fourth-round draft pick.

"I don't want a talented guy just because he's talented," Nolan said. "Frank (Gore is) really talented and he wants to play. Kevan Barlow has some talent, but he's just ... get him out of here. And you have guys like Zak Keasey, who just has a heart of gold. The son of a gun just might make it because he's tough as nails."

QUOTE TO NOTE
"If I see things are quiet and the guys aren't getting rowdy, I'm going to take it upon myself to do something about it. I want that X on my back. Put it on me. Come and get me." -- Tight end Vernon Davis on his willingness to ruffle some feathers and annoy his defensive teammates.

Copyright (C) 2007 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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