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Brunner's Blog: Small School Stops


College area scout Todd Brunner checks in for his first on the road scouting blog of 2008. Find out what he's been up to since visitng the 49ers Training Camp.

Area scout Todd Brunner is back for year three of his popular Brunner's Blog. Get his perspective on the first two days of the 49ers 2008 Training Camp, as well as the latest news from the scouting department.

Since I've been on the road for the past few weeks, it's been tough to catch the preseason games that are on local television, but last night I was able to watch the game at Chicago and that was the first preseason game I watched in its entirety. That was great because when you're away from the Bay Area, you read about everything, but you see only bits and pieces of the highlights, which is only two or three plays and that's about it. But this time, it was nice to see a full game on national television and to get to see everyone play.

It was good to see the offense put 37 points on the board and in general I thought everybody played well. All three quarterbacks played well. JT O'Sullivan played well and I was happy that Alex got a chance to run with the first team. He showed that he can move the team as well as JT did. It was the first time I've watched them since I've left training camp and it was nice to see the offense put all those points on the board.

After watching the guys play, I think it's going to be tough making the final roster cuts in some positions, because all the guys looked good. We had a couple of guys banged up, who played the last couple of weeks but the guys behind them looked pretty good. It's going to be a tough job for the guys back there in Santa Clara to make the decisions on the final 53 players.

As far as making cuts, the only input we have as college scouts in the process is if guys get cut from another team who we may have scouted last fall, and who could be a position of need for the 49ers. So, they may call and get our input on a particular player but we're pretty much focused on the college season.

While I've been on the road, I've been busy. I paid visits to a number of schools already, mostly a lot of smaller schools this time of year. I like to go to the smaller spots early in the year, just to see if there's a need to go back a second time.

So, since I left training camp, I've visited Monmouth University, Montclair State, Lafayette College, Towson University, Morgan State and finally Navy, which I just wrapped up my visit Friday morning. I've found a handful of good players and I'll keep an eye on them, and if they do well, possibly revisit those schools later in the fall.

Whether it's a small university or a big one, we go through the same process we would at a big school. We look at how these kids perform day in and day out against everyone they play. That's a big thing. Do they dominate at the level they play? If they are going to jump from Division II or Division I-AA into the National Football League, they need to dominate on their level of play? It's all about whether or not the player can play the position that he's lining up at.

I headed home this afternoon, and then I'll be back out on the road, driving down to Richmond on Sunday and then spending all of next week in Virginia. I'm be visiting St. Paul, Virginia State, (both of those are historically black universities) Richmond University, Liberty University, and James Madison. I'll close out the week at the University of Virginia, where I'll see them start their season against the University of Southern California.

It will be my first game of the year and I'm excited. I think it's going to be a pretty good game, and a great opportunity to evaluate Virginia players against one of the top schools in the country in USC.

Every game that we see is important, because even if you're seeing a bigger team play a small school, you like to see the guys at the smaller school test their ability and limit their mistakes. USC is a top ten school year in and year out and getting a chance to see the kids at Virginia perform against the best in the country really gives you a clear picture of what the players can do.

I'll blog about some of the players who catch my eye in my next blog.

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