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49ers Minicamp Continues


The second and final on-field day of the 49ers first minicamp was rained on, but not rained out.

After individual drills and another spirited conditioning circuit training session, Mother Nature came into play with a shower that lasted for the entire 11-on-11 portion of practice.

But despite the sheets of rain that came down on the players and coaches, the 49ers were able to have a productive day on the field.

Joining the team in camp on Saturday were NFL Player's Association representative, veteran cornerback Walt Harris, and his alternate, linebacker Takeo Spikes. On Friday, the two were in Maui at the NFLPA meetings.



Both veterans were excited to be back at the facility working with their teammates, despite the winter-like conditions.

"It was a good day today. A lot of work," Harris said. "It was good being around the guys and just seeing the new faces and going through this offseason minicamp with coach Singletary was just a good experience."

Spikes, who re-signed for two more years at the start of the free agency period was also happy to be back in the Bay Area amongst the teammates he formed a strong connection with a year ago.

"I wanted to stay here but I was going to look at every option," he said. "There were some other options out there, but at the end of the day I felt like this organization really respected what I brought to the table last year to this team on and off the field. That's why the deal got done so fast."

Harris and Spikes got their first taste of the conditioning circuit that got the attention of their teammates the day before.

"The circuit was a beast! But it was good," Harris said. "I think it helps us with the mental toughness that we're definitely going to need going into the year."

Head coach Mike Singletary said prior to the workout that he was enamored with the reaction of the players to the conditioning portion of the workout.

"I really think yesterday when we were running and going through the circuits, I was very impressed by the response of the guys," he said. "I was very pleased with what I saw and the coaches were and I think the players were."

Another issue pleasing the players which was widely discussed on day two was the simplification of the 49ers 3-4 defensive scheme. Several players raved about the adjustments made from the second half of last season, which helped the 49ers finish as the 13th ranked overall defense.

"I think (we liked it) just from the philosophy of it," defensive end Justin Smith said. "Sticking purely to a 3-4, not necessarily having to throw in a bunch of different looks and trick 'em stuff. We're just going to line up, play football and know our assignments.


"The whole defense just kept better and better when we were like, 'Here's what we're doing, basic 3-4, here's what we're going to do and we're going to be efficient at it.' And we just kept going from there."

Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis spoke highly of the philosophy adjustment as well and how it's going to be implemented again this upcoming season.

"I really like how the coaches are taking the approach of 'We're a 34 defense, this is what we are. You're going to have to do what you do to beat us, but we're going to do what we do and we're going to do it well,'" he said. "I've always been a firm believer of that."

When asked how long it will take for the 49ers defense to become an elite defense, Smith didn't shy away from letting his true feeling be known.

"We got all the people in place I think we need," he said. "It's just a matter of us transitioning that to the football field and being a better defense. I'd expect us to be for sure top-10, hopefully top-5, that's what we're shooting for. Our job is to be the best we can be and with the talent we have, we can be in the top-10 or top-5, for sure."

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