Saturday's exhibition game against the New Orleans Saints represents the final chance for several…
SETTLING DOWN: Coach Dennis Erickson says he frequently speaks with young players about staying under control in practice so unexpected hits such as the one Hearst don't take place. "We talk to them all the time," Erickson said. "We try to preach to all those young guys that the key is to stay on your feet. If you stay on your feet, nobody is going to get hurt. We really haven't lost anybody because of that. The key to that is staying up and we've done that pretty well."
RUMPH RETURNS: A day after sending a chill through camp when he limped away from practice grimacing, cornerback Mike Rump was back wearing shorts, cleats and his red 24 jersey, though he did not participate in practice and won't, Erickson said, until probably next week. Rumph has a mild groin strain, but said he initially thought it was much worse when he was hurt Tuesday morning. "I've really never been hurt before, even in college," Rumph said. "Just to be running and all of a sudden just to feel it give out on you, it scared me. But I've been getting treatment on it all day, and it feels much better. But it still feels real sore, because it's only been one day. I'm just waiting on (trainers) to let me know what I need to do next."
BEASLEY BEHIND SWEEP: The new wrinkles in coach Dennis Erickson's playbook continue to come out. During team drills, Beasley took a pitch and swept the right end with Hearst as his lead blocker in a reversal of their usual roles. That's a play you never would have seen in recent seasons. Now it's a play that promises to gain a respectable chunk of yardage on shock value alone.
SPEAKING OF NEW PLAYS: This one was a doozy, even if it gave you a headache to watch - before the ball even was snapped. Late in team drills, the Niners came to the line with three receivers split to the left and a tight end split wide to the right. One receiver then shifted from left to right and lined up in the slot. Before the ball was snapped, another receiver went in motion from left to right. Quarterback Jeff Garcia then dropped back and fired a perfectly-timed throw on a deep curl route to rookie Brandon Lloyd - the only remaining receiver on the right side - who split two defenders while making the catch and then scurried into the end zone.
CONCERN AT CORNER: This is what the Niners went with on their first-team defense for several series during team work: Jimmy Williams at left cornerback, Fred Weary at right cornerback and Rashad Holman working as the nickel back.
CORNERING NEW ORLEANS: Since Rumph won't play in Saturday's exhibition game against the Saints, Erickson said Holman would start in his place at right cornerback and Weary would become the nickel back. Antuan Simmons also played at the nickel position Wednesday in practice.
CAPSHAW RELEASED: The Niners released rookie punter Freddie Capshaw, solidifying incumbent Bill LaFleur's hold on that position. "We're trying to get some flexibility as far as bringing some people in for a roster spot," Erickson said of the decision to release Capshaw, who averaged 46 yards on his two opportunities to punt in the first two preseason games. "Bill clearly is our No. 1 punter. Not that we couldn't bring Freddie back; he did some awfully good things. Basically, we released him because of that and there might be some moves here in the next week or so."
FLANIGAN STILL HURTING: Defensive tackle Jim Flanigan, who has been limited in practice as he makes a slow return from calf problems, pulled himself from drills in the morning as he continued to experience leg problems. Flanigan's problem now has been isolated to his legs after doctors thought last week it might be related to his back. Erickson said Flanigan might become an "every-other-day guy" in practice as he continues to work through his injury. With Bryant Young out, Adams and Travis Kirschke will start at defensive tackle Saturday against the Saints.
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