Nolan's Notebook: August 25

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RE: Are Ashley [Lelie] and Arnaz [Battle] back?"Yes, they practiced today. Or, they tried."

RE: And, they'll play on Friday?"I would hope so, yes, unless something unforeseen happens when they go inside. But they're walking off the field well, so we expect them to play."

RE: What about some of your other guys like [Tarell] Brown?
"From a playing-time standpoint?"

RE: Yes.
"Right now, the anticipation is that we go the first series with the first group on both sides of the ball. Whether we lessen that or increase it, right now we'll start there. That's what we're looking at."

RE: But Frank [Gore] would be a part of that first group, correct?
"Yes."

RE: J.T. [O'Sullivan] doesn't need any more time, you don't think?"It depends on how long the first series is. We'll see."

RE: So, just a series? Is that it?
"Right now, just a series. Yes."

RE: Did Baas play much today?
"Yes, he did. He practiced almost all of practice. Yes, he looked fine. As long as we don't have to take him out of something, then pretty much he'll feel that the practice is going all right for him."

RE: Do you plan to play him this week?
"I hope so. Yes. The plan is to get him in there. How many plays? Maybe a quarter. If he's doing okay and his conditioning looks good during the week, maybe a little more."

RE: It looked like you had [Tony] Wragge over on [Louis] Holmes side?
"Yes, because [Brian] de la Puente had a little arm issue so we kept him out. So, we fudged a little bit on the inside. But tomorrow we could be back with Tony at the other spot."

RE: In general even with some of the shuffling of preseason, the offense has played well. I'm just curious, your thoughts on the ways they've improved since last year?
"Well, it is preseason. Yes, we've gotten better. You'd like to think so, but again, it's pre-season. Hopefully we'll just stay on they same course we're on."

RE: Jeff Ulbrich was back in practice, too. How would you describe the competition between him and [Takeo] Spikes at this point?
"It's good competition. You know, Takeo is still learning the defense. Obviously his standing, you know, not being here for the mini-camps and OTA's and all those things, that's natural. But he's doing a good job other than that. With Takeo, as all players will, once they get familiar with the language and the system, it's easier for them to start playing it at a higher level. And right now, he's doing fine, but he doesn't know all the…he's still feeling it out."

RE: His role for September 7th?
"Right now, he's just competing with Ulbrich and that's probably…we're not necessarily trying to unseat somebody, we're just trying to get better, I guess you could say."

RE: Keith Lewis and Josh Morgan are both out…
"Yes, they're ill."

RE: Flu?"He just told me they were ill. That's all [Jeff Ferguson] told me. So they're ill."

RE: What about Allen Rossum? When will…
"I don't believe Allen, like I said the other day, I don't believe he's going to play this week. So, I don't know that that's 100 percent. So we'll wait and see."

RE: And [Adam] Snyder? Definitely not this week, but…
"Hopefully he'll be back next Monday."

RE: Aren't high-ankle sprains something a little bit more worrisome?
"It's the severity of whatever sprain it is. But you're right, high-ankles typically are worse than, I don't want to say low-ankle but, regular ankle sprains. But at the same time, all of them have a different degree of severity. So I don't know what his will be like."

RE: What is Rossum's injury?
"I think he has a contusion. It was in his back. I don't know if it was from his back to his lungs or all I can really say is he had a bodily contusion. That's what he had. I really don't know the specifics."

RE: Coach, at this point what do you think are going to be the toughest positions to make the final call at?
"Well, the quarterback. We already did and that was a tough call. Wide receiver will be a tough call. There's still some good competition going on where guys are playing hard from a playing-time standpoint. Dashon Goldson has done a good job throughout training camp. Right now, it seems to be set the way we're doing it. But those guys are still fighting. Some of those guys really want to be the guy. They're still competing at it. I would say right now the one that's the most undecided is probably wide receiver, at least at that one spot: the split-end spot."

RE: What are you talking about…the starter?
"Yes, really with Bryant Johnson and Josh Morgan - if the two of them don't play this week, we'll wait and see, because Josh is ill. Anyway, we'll have to feel that out."

RE: Are you leaning towards carrying five or six [wide receivers]?
"I'm on the fence right now. I'm not leaning."

RE: Have you thought about punt returns?
"[Robert] Ortiz. I thought about possibly Arnaz [Battle], but I don't know if I'm going to do that, necessarily. So right now, Ortiz can take it and we'll see. Michael Robinson is back, so we might be able to get him and Delanie [Walker] a little bit more kickoff stuff."

RE: About the Peter King thing…is that something you're going to have to address, or have you addressed with Alex?
"It's already been told to me. Look, guys. As I said, our quarterback position is the strongest it's been since I've been here. The conversation as they all do, especially on the phone, they call around to different places and…I don't know."

RE: You've told Alex this?
"He's been told, yes. I didn't tell him one-on-one, but today when we had some discussions about some things, Aaron [Salkin] went over on the walk-through. Because I said, 'Make sure you go tell him.' Because Aaron brought it to my attention while I was on defense and I said, 'Go mention to Alex the thing formally, and I'll talk to him later. I'll catch him later.' The only reason I hadn't thus is because Alex looked and he didn't make…"

RE: The quote with Peter King, you were talking about the quarterbacks as a group?"As a group, yes. As I've said all along, it fits what I've said all along and that is we have three guys we can win with. Again, I think he…I could answer for him but I know what I said. And I know what I was thinking. I was thinking the same thing I've been telling you guys every day we've been out here."

RE: What kind of camp is Vernon [Davis] having with this new offense?"Vernon's having a really good camp. He's had a good camp. As a matter of fact, today he made a couple of nice moves and, as was evident the other day in the game he had a couple things. I think he's done a good job. I'm pleased. When we get ready to go for the season, we'll see, but he's good."

RE: Are you excited to see what he can do in this [new offense]? I guess Mike [Martz] in the past hasn't used the tight end a lot but excited to see how he can utilize him?"I am excited. We speak about these things and I can watch practice and kind of see how that's going to be, but you're right. Mike is very excited about him, as he is about Frank [Gore]. Although Mike's had some very good players in the past, he's had good running backs, but different from Frank. So he's excited about the dimensions and elements that Frank can add. But as a tight end, without question, he's had some good tight ends. But they've been kind of blocker or receiver, that kind of thing, one or the other, whereas with Vernon, he's pretty versatile. The other night, he blocked as good as he did on a couple of catches that he had. He's always getting better and Vernon's working hard at it, which is good. He's a hard worker. That's probably the biggest reason that Vernon's going to keep getting better all the time because it's not like pulling teeth when you ask him to work hard. He works hard without coaching him. And that's a good thing."

RE: Did you see something in Thursday's game from Thomas Clayton that maybe you hadn't really seen before? I know he was playing against that Bears' No. 1 defense and he's usually against the three's or two's. Did you see something that impressed you?
"Well, what impressed me was whenever he goes in, he gets yards. Last year's preseason, if I'm not mistaken, he was the leading rusher in preseason. I could be wrong, but I think he was. So when he gets his opportunities…Because sometimes plays are designed to go certain places, and he may not in practice. Someone might say, 'You've got to do this. You've got to do that.' So in anticipation of the game, you think, 'God, if he just stays true to his read, he'll have a big run.' But whether he goes true or cuts it off, he finds the hole and really that's what it's about. You don't want run to darkness as a running back. You want to run to the daylight. He seems to find it."

RE: Before [Jonas] Jennings got hurt, it seemed to us like he was having a pretty good camp:"Jonas was having a good camp. It's unfortunate that he got nicked up there, but he'll be back. So that's good."

RE: Would you say it's the best of the camps that he's had for you?"I can't recall the first and second one, and last year I know he was banged up. I think the second one he was banged up. It's unfair for me because I can't recall. To be honest with you, I don't care about any of them anymore. As long as this one…that's the one that matters."

RE: Back to Clayton, do you notice a difference in his running style from last year?
"No, he did a good job last year."

Please submit your questions via email to xandowithnolan@niners.nfl.com and then check back next Friday to see if your question was selected!

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