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49ers Survey Options at Nose Tackle

Posted Oct 17, 2013

Rookie Quinton Dial and practice squad member Mike Purcell could see time at nose tackle whether starter Glenn Dorsey (hamstring) is healthy for Sunday or not.

Yes, the 49ers have just one true nose tackle on their 53-man roster.

No, starter Glenn Dorsey isn't the team's only option on the nose.

With Dorsey (hamstring) in question for San Francisco's Week 7 matchup in Tennessee and against the Titans, other names are starting to surface.

PHOTO GALLERY: HISTORY OF 49ERS-TITANS MATCHUP

Rookie Quinton Dial, a fifth-round draft pick that is practicing for the first time this week since offseason surgery, tops the list. He and defensive tackle candidate Tank Carradine, a second-rounder last April, remain on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List. They now have no medical restrictions.

"This is much like their first day in football," Jim Harbaugh said Monday, when the first-year pros had their first walk-through session. "And I’m sure that there’s some gravel in the gut there and some anticipation, excitement, nerves, all those things. So working with them and the players are, our coaches are, to get them acclimated back into playing 11-on-11 football.”

Dial has the size -- he's listed at 6-foot-5 and 318 pounds -- to man the nose if Dorsey, who did not practice Wednesday, cannot. The 6-foot-3, 303-pound Mike Purcell, another rookie and a member of San Francisco's eight-man practice squad is available for activation too.

"We might have to bring one or both of them up" for Sunday, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Thursday, shortly before the team created a 53-man roster spot by waiving wide receiver Chris Harper. “Michael is obviously ahead of (Dial and Carradine). He had all of the offseason work. He had all of training camp, played in preseason games. And Mike’s able to go in there and battle in the trenches for us.

"He’s experienced when you compare him to Quinton and Tank. So he’s ready to go if needed.”

The 49ers could also elect to employ defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie up front, just as they did in Week 6 after Dorsey's first-quarter injury cost him the final three quarters of action. Jerod-Eddie, who recovered a fumble in Week 4 and intercepted a pass in Week 5, would make his first career start in his second NFL season.

But it's Dial and Carradine, given their draft status and their return to the field, that are all the rage and understanbly so.

“Both of those guys were in all the meetings from day one. Being in a meeting, studying in a meeting and seeing it on tape and actually doing it is two different things," Fangio said. "So they’ve got to show it on the field that they know what to do rather than the meeting room. And they’re in the process of doing that and overall, based upon this is day one for them with no OTAs and no training camp, I thought they both did fine.”

Inside linebacker Patrick Willis was more impressed with the pair's performance in workouts.

It was amazing to see,” Willis said. “You can tell they’ve been working hard. You can tell (the training staff) has been staying on top of them.

"Those are going to be guys that are going to have to come in and play, play and make a difference for us, and I know that they will. They’re good kids and they work hard. We’ve got to help them and implement them into the defense."

Willis said whoever lines up front and in between defensive tackles Justin Smith and Ray McDonald won’t alter the linebackers’ duties.

“We just have to make sure we’re communicating well,” he said, “and all are on one accord.”

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