49ers camp summary (84) -- Day of the back-ups


49ers camp summary (84) -- Day of the back-ups

Summary: There was more mixing of the two's and three's in with the starters. The veteran regulars had a few big plays during various 11-on-11 situations. Frank Gore and Brandon Jacobs each had solid runs up the middle. Vernon Davis had several nice grabs on crossing routes. Ahmad Brooks came down with an interception and Justin Smith had a called sack. But the bigger plays were made by a handful of back-ups. Demarcus Dobbs had a great touchdown reception in the back right corner of the end zone in a short goal-line situation over the coverage of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. Cornerback Anthony Mosely broke up a would be touchdown reception by Randy Moss knocking the ball out of Moss' hands on his way down in the back of the end zone in the same drill. Cornerback Perrish Cox and defensive lineman Ian Williams had several good plays throughout practice as well.

Injury report: Receiver Michael Crabtree (right leg) missed his seventh consecutive day of practice. He came out onto one of the main fields halfway through Saturday night's session. He worked with head strength and conditioning coach Mark Uyeyama for about an hour. Typically, he has been working on a side field. Receiver Joe Hastings (right leg) and cornerback Curtis Holcomb have yet to return to practice either and continued their work on a side field. Tight end Nate Byham was out for a a second day. Offensive lineman Jason Slowey was at the facility earlier in the day but was not on the field for practice. Running back Jewel Hampton (foot) is on the non-football injury list, while outside linebacker Darius Fleming (knee) is on the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Offensive play of the day: The Dobbs touchdown reception was impressive, but an improvisational play between Alex Smith and Frank Gore stands out. Under pressure from Ahmad Brooks, Smith quickly saw that Gore was open in the right flat and lobbed the ball, almost underhand, over the defenders to Gore. Gore went for a big gain in the open space.

Defensive play of the day: Cornerback Perrish Cox kept pace with the speedy Ted Ginn along the right side line and had a beautifully timed break up of a perfectly thrown deep ball from Alex Smith.

Eye on reps: Starting left guard Mike Iupati has yet to return from the birth of his first child. In his absence, Leonard Davis played left guard and Alex Boone played right guard with the starters. Josh Johnson, Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien all had reps with the first team offense and against the first team defense at different times during the two-and-a-half hour practice.

Rookie report: Linebackers Kourtnei Brown and Cam Johnson stood out among the rookie class. Johnson had a called sack on Kaepernick in 11-on-11 drills as well as a stop on Frank Gore up the middle. Brown broke up a pass in the back of the end zone and also tipped a ball that bobbled through the defense before landing into the hands of guard Joe Looney.

Extra work: Second year defensive lineman Ian Williams got the defense yelping when he dropped running back Anthony Dixon in an 11-on-11 drill from within five yards of the goal line. He also was credited with a sack and almost had another sack of Josh Johnson from behind.

Coaching moment: At the end of practice, Jim Harbaugh lined up as the field goal kicker. When the ball was snapped, he rolled to the right for the fake. When the ball was pitched to him, his feet slid out from under him and he fell clumsily with a thud on his left side causing the entire team, and Harbaugh himself, to burst out laughing.

Quotable: During an 11-on-11 situation set up around an eight play drive, Aldon Smith and Justin Smith were in hot pursuit of Colin Kaepernick, Much to everyone's surprise on the sideline, Justin had the lung power to shout, "He's running again!"

Next practice: The 49ers will not practice on Sunday. They will return to work on Monday. None of the 49ers' practices in Santa Clara this summer are open to the general public due to the ongoing stadium construction.

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vance McDonald became aware of a report the 49ers had engaged in trade talks involving him at his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas.

But McDonald said he did not give it much thought because he had another immediate priority.

“I still had my best man’s speech to do,” McDonald said.

Later that evening during last month's draft, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called McDonald to keep him in the loop. There was no trade, and McDonald returned to Santa Clara on Monday to continue participation in the 49ers’ offseason program.

“The first thing I told him was, ‘Man, there aren’t a lot of coaches that would do this,’” McDonald said of his talk with Shanahan. “He just wanted to fill me in.”

Nearly four weeks later, it is as if nothing ever happened.

“The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance on draft day,” Shanahan said this week. “And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they’d be interested in that same thing.”

McDonald said he completely understood why the 49ers would check with other teams around the league to see what they could acquire in a trade.

“Basically, it’s just like any other team in the NFL would do,” McDonald said. “If you’re a 2-14 team, obviously, there are a lot of things you can improve on, a lot of spots that need to be filled. There are a lot of things you need to improve upon in the offseason. So if teams are going to call and inquire about you, then obviously the next step is to … call around to every other team.

“So that’s exactly what happened to me. It isn’t like they don’t want me here. There was never a lack of communication on any level.”

Even before he knew his immediate future with the 49ers, McDonald said he tried to maintain the proper state of mind.

“I had the mindset this isn’t going to change anything,” McDonald said. “I’m going to end up where I end up and I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing, which is do everything to be a better football player.”

McDonald enters the fifth year of his NFL career after signing a new deal in December that amounts to a three-year, $19.7 million extension. Three days later, the 49ers placed McDonald on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

McDonald was on pace for his best season as a pass-catcher. In 11 games, he had 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, he is competition for a spot in the 49ers’ offense, along with fifth-round draft pick George Kittle, undrafted rookie Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

McDonald said he likes what Shanahan has brought to the 49ers, including added responsibilities of the tight end position.

“Last year, all we talked about was how fast our pace was,” McDonald said. “With Kyle, it’s insanely quick. He’s a very detailed guy. It’s interesting to hear him present information. You try to apply it and play with the same mindset that he has. It’s a task that we all enjoy doing.

“We (tight ends) are the end of the line. There’s communication with us and the wide receivers and running backs. We’re also in command with receiving corps. There are a lot of things on our plate. Hopefully, this doesn’t get back to the wide receivers, but we’re supposed to be smarter than them. It’s a fun job to have. We don’t try to rub it in too much.”

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly is back in college football.

The former Oregon coach, who served as 49ers head coach last season, signed a multiyear deal as an ESPN analyst, the network announced Friday morning. He will work predominantly on pre-games, halftimes and in studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly, 53, was fired on the evening of the 49ers’ season finale. The 49ers went 2-14 under Kelly and set the franchise record with 13 consecutive losses. Their only victories came against the Los Angeles Rams. Kelly also auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became 49ers general manager, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kelly served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to ’12. His teams compiled a record of 46-7. Under Kelly, the Ducks advanced to the 2011 national championship game, losing to Auburn 22-19.

Kelly won the AP College Football Coach of the Year. He twice won the Pac-10 coach of the year. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. After his first two NFL teams went 10-6, Kelly was fired in 2015 with one game remaining in the season. The Eagles were 6-9 at the time of Kelly's firing.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”