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Brock Lets Play Talk

Posted Aug 16, 2011

To hear Tramaine Brock brag or boast in the 49ers locker room would be like trying to hear a pin drop in there after a competitive, three-hour practice – good luck with that.

The 5-foot-10, 197-pound cornerback prefers not to trumpet his own play. But if Brock was to elaborate on his recent success, the second-year player would have plenty of talking points.

Take his recent start in the 49ers preseason opener in New Orleans. His performance was typical of the undrafted cornerback out of Belhaven University. Just like Brock surprised many by making the 49ers final 53-man roster last season, he caught onlookers off-guard while lining up with first-team defense against the Saints last week.

It didn’t surprise Brock as much; it’s a place where he feels he belongs.

At this time last year, however, it was a different story. Stuck in the back of the line competing with other undrafted rookies for practice reps, Brock wasn’t sure how he’d stack up against NFL-caliber wideouts. But after experiencing success in his first training camp and preseason with the 49ers, the young cornerback’s confidence began to grow.

It has certainly carried over into this season, too.

With veterans like Shawntae Spencer and Tarell Brown working through injuries during the start of camp, Brock, in true fashion, has quietly stepped up in their absence.

“Last year, I was timid,” said Brock, who was inactive for 11 games, on the practice squad for two games and on the 53-man roster for three contests. “This year, I’m more relaxed – so it’s been a better camp for me.”

Brock recorded a pass breakup during the first team period of Tuesday’s practice. And his play has even caught the eye of his head coach, who later complimented his football mentality.

Confident in his ability to compete in the professional ranks, Brock was eager to return to the Gulf Coast last week. The Gulfport, Miss., native registered one tackle while covering some of the Saints starting wideouts.

“It felt good to have that experience, but I have a lot more to learn,” Brock said. “I was kind of nervous, but I just tried to concentrate on being relaxed.”

Thankfully, Brock can lean on the wisdom of his fellow defensive backs. In addition to Spencer and Brown, Brock has spent time picking the brain of free-agent addition Carlos Rogers.

Rogers, the seven-year veteran who signed a one-year contract with the 49ers after playing the previous six seasons with the Washington Redskins, lined up opposite of Brock as the 49ers starting left cornerback and said he’s been impressed with what he’s seen from Brock so far.

“He’s a guy who I look at every day and say, ‘Man, that guy is going to be something special,’” Rogers said. “It’s going to take work. He’ll keep working at it, but he seems like he’s getting opportunities and making the most of them.”

It’s not known whether Brock will start again this Saturday when the 49ers host the Oakland Raiders, but he’s expecting to see plenty of action and it sounds like he’s ready for it.

“I’m trying to take advantage of the opportunity,” Brock said. “When I’m out there playing, I know how to play and my comfort level is up. It’s just easier than last year.”

As for the lack of self-promotion, Brock is happy to joke around with him teammates when the time is right. He’ll have fun with his Twitter account, too, but training camp is a time to get better. And that’s what Brock is most focused on.

Jokes can wait.

“I feel like I bring something to the table,” Brock added. “When I’m here, I just stay low-key, but if I’m away – I act more like myself.”

Notes and Quotes

Rogers has enjoyed the camaraderie within his defensive back meetings. Having played on the East Coast for six seasons, Rogers has played catch up on learning about his new teammates. So far, he likes what he’s learned and what he’s seen from them on the field. “It’s been a tight group, so it’s not hard to connect.”

Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks’ two interceptions on the day prove the 6-foot-3, 259-pounder can make plays in space. He picked off Jeremiah Masoli in the opening team period and later robbed McLeod Bethel-Thompson in the second-to-last team period.

Both interceptions took place at least 10-20 yards down the field. “I just know how to catch,” Brooks joked after practice. “It feels good to make a big play for the team. That’s what we need. If we get more plays like that, we’ll be a good team.”

Linebacker Patrick Willis recorded his second interception in as many days. This time, he recorded the takeaway while diving for a Masoli pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Willis showed excellent awareness and soft hands on the play.

Rookie Chris Culliver wrestled a football away from undrafted wideout Tyler Beiler during team work. Culliver has shown strong hands throughout camp. If his hands are on any part of the ball, he has typically been able to record interceptions.

Photo of the Day

C/G Adam Snyder makes a protection call at Tuesday's practice. Stay tuned to TV49 for an inside look at the team's offensive line later this week.

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