The 49ers finished up their trip to Napa with an evening practice against the Oakland Raiders.
After sitting out the morning session by design, cornerback Walt Harris drew attention with back to back plays in the redzone. Harris dropped an easy interception in the endzone, but then got right back after it a few plays later with an athletic leap to tip a touchdown pass away.
"It was real fun. That was my first practice today and going in the red zone and being able to contribute was a lot of fun," said Harris. "I think we did pretty well. We had a chance to look at ourselves against another team and I think we fared pretty well. There is always room for correction, but we did some good things out there today."
Cornerback Tarell Brown suffered a hand injury when he defended deep against Javon Walker. Head coach Mike Nolan said his athletic training staff would get Brown's hand x-rayed but that he didn't think it was anything too serious.
Nolan said that safety Dashon Goldson also suffered an arch strain in practice.
Overall Nolan said he felt his first-team defense performed well and that he was pleased with their communication.
The 49ers offense was without its top receivers in Arnaz Battle, Isaac Bruce, Bryant Johnson and Ashley Lelie in the evening session. Bruce made the trip, but the coaches opted to rest the veteran. Battle sat out the second session after working in the morning, keeping with his usual once a day practice routine.
Lelie's calf flared up at the end of the morning practice to keep him out of the evening session, while Johnson sat out after tweaking his hamstring this morning.
That again created opportunities for the 49ers younger group of receivers, and wide out Jason Hill and Dominique Zeigler rose to the occasion. Hill had two touchdown grabs in the red zone for scores. Both were passes from quarterback Alex Smith.
"I felt like I had a little bit more energy in the evening," said Hill. "We had a longer break to rest and I had more juice in my legs. I just wanted to get the ball and I wanted to make a play."
In the next two-minute drill, Smith took all of the snaps and after a shaky start, he found a rhythm with Zeigler. The undrafted free agent out of Baylor from a year ago caught four passes on the drive, including the touchdown.
"We were running what we were supposed to run, and it was coming wide open," said Zeigler. "I was just making the plays like I'm supposed to make. It was nothing spectacular. He was throwing me the ball good, and I just caught it."
Quarterbacks Shaun Hill, Alex Smith and J.T. O'Sullivan all saw action in the afternoon practice, sharing opportunities in skelley and team.
In one of his series of reps, O'Sullivan completed two passes to running back DeShaun Foster, but sandwiched in between was an almost pick by a leaping Hiram Eugene. Eugene had his hands on the ball, but couldn't come down with it. O'Sullivan also attempted a backwards shovel pass to Foster that resulted in a fumble.
Hill and Smith took all of the reps in the red zone. Smith had the two touchdowns passes to Jason Hill, but he also had a deflected pass that was intercepted.
Hill enjoyed touchdown throws to Moran Norris, Thomas Clayton and Robert Ortiz in the red zone, but he too was picked earlier in practice on a pass that went off the hands of tight end Vernon Davis. Hill had another hiccup when he was picked by linebacker Robert Thomas, but he responded on the following play with a well-aimed deep ball to Josh Morgan in double coverage.
Nolan said that he does not know at this time who will start at quarterback on Friday night when the 49ers go live against the Raiders in their first exhibition match.
Tackle Jonas Jennings also rested in the evening, keeping in line with his once a day camp routine.
Six 49ers players did not travel to Napa: S Mark Roman (hamstring), S Lewis Baker (thigh), G David Baas (pectoral), RB Michael Robinson (knee), WR Jerard Rabb (groin) and LB Parys Haralson (shoulder).