The 49ers opened up training camp with Kyle Williams taking the bulk of first-team wide receiver reps opposite of 11-year veteran Anquan Boldin.
Williams, a fourth-year pro who was taken off the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List earlier in the morning, looked like his old speedy self at Thursday’s opening camp session. Williams displayed quick burst on his routes and also was willing to dive for an overthrown pass.
The 5-foot-10, 186-pound wideout’s best moment of practice came when he ran passed rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper and hauled in a 35-yard deep ball from Colin Kaepernick.
“I see you running Dub!” Kaepernick said, referring to Williams’ nickname of "K-Dub."
Williams has primarily played as a slot receiver in his career with the 49ers (35 catches, 461 yards, four touchdowns) but was mostly running as the team’s “Z” receiver to open camp. Second-year wide receiver A.J. Jenkins also took turns with the first-team offense with Boldin.
For all those critics questioning whether or not the 49ers will be able to find wide receiver production without the services of Michael Crabtree, Williams had a message earlier in the day.
“We have depth contrary to what people may believe,” Williams said.
Williams was able to run aggressively at practice, something he was chomping at the bit to do all season.
“You never really know until you get to go out there and practice, but I’ve felt good for a number of weeks now,” Williams said before the near three hour session. “I’ve been able to do just about everything you can do on your own. I’m prepared for it. I’m ready to go.”
The young wideout suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 12 of the 2012 regular season but made it look like a distant memory with his effort on Thursday. Williams also took reps as the primary punt returner and kick returner.
Training Camp Notes
-Crabtree watched a large portion of the opening camp session from the team’s weight room. The 49ers leading wideout from last season conversed with Mario Manningham, who rehabbed on an adjacent practice field with other players on the PUP list.
-Craig Dahl took the first-team reps at free safety. It remains to be seen if the 49ers will use the multi-safety rotation they had in place for minicamps. First-round pick Eric Reid joined the second-team defense along with free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
-Ian Williams took the bulk of first-team reps at nose tackle, but Glenn Dorsey saw action in between Justin Smith and Ray McDonald during team period.
-Smith showed no signs of his triceps injury lingering into 2013. Smith was able to power his way into the backfield to swallow up second-year running back Jewel Hampton for a short loss.
-Rookie wideout Quinton Patton wore a blue non-contact practice jersey.
-Williams, LaMichael James, B.J. Daniels and Chad Hall all fielded punts. Williams, James, Ricardo Lockette, Hall and Chuck Jacobs fielded kick-offs.
-Garrett Celek, San Francisco’s second-round pick at tight end, took reps snapping the football during a punt period to open practice. McDonald caught several intermediate passes on the day.
-Joe Staley recorded the first interception of camp after a hard pass from Scott Tolzien bounced off Frank Gore’s hip and bounced into the waiting arms of the All-Pro linebacker.
-Kaepernick completed several deep balls to close out the afternoon session. Vernon Davis and Boldin were the primary targets for the starting quarterback. Davis caught a couple of deep crossing routes. Boldin’s deep crossing route was the play of the day. Michael Thomas and Tramaine Brock had the coverage, but were beat by a piercing throw that split the two defenders and led Boldin up field for a 30-yard gain.
-Colt McCoy was intercepted by Thomas on a deep sideline ball intended for Hall. McCoy finished the practice with a deep seam route for rookie tight end MarQueis Gray, who ran past the coverage of linebacker Nate Stupar.