49ers camp report (82): Focus on running game

August 3, 2011, 3:24 am
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
Practice No. 4
Summary: Running back Frank Gore ended a holdout and returned to the practice field, and the 49ers shifted their attention to the run game. At one point, the 49ers had 20 consecutive run plays as part of their 11-on-11 work. Gore got a big share of the load, too. Coach Jim Harbaugh explained that the focus shifted more toward the ground game when the team was allowed to work in full pads. "Taking advantage of us having our armor on and thudding it up a bit, and you can hear it when it's good, you don't even really need to see the play, you can hear it," Harbaugh said.
RELATED: Gore takes care of business on the field
Offensive Plays of the day: Rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick and tight end Vernon Davis hooked up repeatedly on intermediate and deep passes. Davis exploited a mismatch against rookie Aldon Smith on a crossing route for a big play, and then he gave Smith an earful all the way back to the huddle.Defensive Plays of the day: Safety Reggie Smith appears to be solidifying his starting spot with a good showing in practices. He intercepted two passes, both on plays in which Kaepernick escaped the pocket. Defensive end Will Tukuafu had good pressure on Kaepernick, who tried to force a 25-yard pass into Davis. Reggie Smith jumped the route for the interception.Injury report: CB Shawntae Spencer (left hamstring) and LB Patrick Willis (foot) sat out the entire practice after leaving practice early Sunday evening. . . . LB Ahmad Brooks, WR Ronald Johnson, CB Phillip Adams (left hamstring) were removed from practice after sustaining slight injuries . . . . NT Isaac Sopoaga (hamstring) missed his fourth practice. LB Alex Joseph did not practice for the third day in a row. WR Michael Crabtree (left foot), WR Dominique Zeigler (left knee) and FB Bruce Miller (shoulder) are on physically-unable-to-perform list. . . . TE Nate Byham (torn left ACL), WR Dontavia Bogan (torn right ACL) and CB Curtis Holcomb (ruptured left Achilles tendon) are out for the season.The replacements: With all three starters on the defensive line unavailable for practice, the team's first unit consisted of Tukuafu at left end, Ian Williams at nose tackle and Ricky Jean Francois at right end. Starting defensive end Justin Smith was excused from practice for a personal reason.
RELATED: 49ers lining up free-agent visits
Eye on reps: Brooks has been working with the first team at left outside linebacker. With him out of action, Parys Haralson moved to the left side. That opened up the right side for Aldon Smith, the No. 7 overall pick in the draft.
High praise: Left tackle Joe Staley has his hands full against Aldon Smith every day in practice. "Aldon, man, he has impressed me," Staley said. "He's multi-dimensional as a pass-rusher. He has real long arms, is explosive and naturally strong. I can see why we drafted him where we did."On the sideline: Veteran center Jonathan Goodwin, who has started for the New Orleans Saints the past three seasons, paid a free-agent visit to the 49ers. He watched the team's entire practice from the sideline in street clothes.Next practice: The 49ers return to practice Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. for a scheduled three-hour practice. The club will also have an hourlong walk-through in the morning.