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Notebook: Brooks Shows Versatility

Posted Aug 27, 2011

As far as fast starts are concerned, Ahmad Brooks’ 13-yard interception return for a touchdown on the opening play from scrimmage Saturday night should go down as one of the best starts in 49ers preseason history.

Nine seconds into the game, the 49ers had seven points and Brooks’ had robbed his college teammate.

“I just really reacted to the play,” Brooks said of the 49ers only scoring play in a 30-7 defeat the visiting Houston Texans.

It was fitting for the outside linebacker, who recorded more interceptions than any 49ers player in training camp and continues to showcase more skills than just rushing the passer. Brooks recorded the 49ers first of three takeaways after stepping in front of Matt Schaub’s screen pass intended for running back Arian Foster.

Once Brooks diagnosed the play, it was easy for him to make the pick-six.

“I saw that he dropped back kind of far and I recognized the offensive line, they were starting to go down the field. I recognized that it was a screen … saw him throw the ball and I caught it.”

Coach Jim Harbaugh singled out Brooks’ play as one of the brightest spots on a night where the 49ers offense did not score any points.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been associated with a game where I’ve seen, on the first play of the game, (someone) pick-off a screen on an interception and take it in,” Harbaugh said.

The turnover was even more meaningful for the University of Virginia product. It came against a former Cavalier teammate.

“I went to school with Matt Schaub, so I’m very familiar with his game play,” Brooks said.

Brooks didn’t do any bragging after the game. The starting left outside linebacker continues to remain focused on what’s most important, solid play from the first-team defense.

“We got a lot of work to do,” Brooks added. “We were out there on the field a little too long. … We just want to get off the field as early as possible.”

Notes and Quotes

Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown started at left and right cornerback for the 49ers respectively, giving each player two starts apiece for the preseason. Second-year cornerback Tramaine Brock was the first defensive back off the bench in the 49ers nickel package.

Rookie cornerback Chris Culliver also received praise from Harbaugh after he broke up two passes and recorded a team-high seven tackles along with linebacker Scott McKillop. “I thought Chris Culliver played some tight coverage,” Harbaugh said. “It looked like he was running the routes for a few guys at times and getting his hands on the ball.”

Punter Andy Lee, who suffered a hip pointer last week against Oakland, held on to his holding responsibilities against Houston, but did not punt. Newly signed Sam Paulescu handled the punting duties and netted 400 yards on his eight punt attempts. Special teams standout Delanie Walker was impressed with Paulescu, who he competed against in junior college. “He did a great job,” Walker said. “On kickoff, we held them inside the 20 every time. On punt, they had one good punt on the first group and on the second team, we shut them down.”

Prior to kick-off, a “Respect The Game” public service announcement aired, which promoted fan safety at Candlestick Park. Check out the video which features Harbaugh, tight end Vernon Davis, safety Donte Whitner and tackle Joe Staley. Coincidentally, Whitner and Staley represented the 49ers in the pre-game coin toss.

The 49ers will announce roster cuts on Tuesday when the team trims its roster to 80 players.

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