One of the newcomers to capture the most attention at the San Francisco 49ers' mini-camp over this past weekend was fourth-round draft pick and former Penn State quarterback Michael Robinson. The versatile PSU product stepped right in at running back from the start of drills and displayed impressive athleticism, power, speed and polish at the position after playing quarterback exclusively during his senior season last year.
Over the course of the three-day camp, Robinson displayed many of the skills that the 49ers believe will make him a multi-threat player for them.
"He did a very good job," coach Mike Nolan said. "He handled himself very well and it was evident because he was in on a lot of plays. He played a little quarterback, a little running back. We split him out on some things.
"What it is, is the running back is sometimes out of the formation as you've all seen teams do, so he did some that looked like a wide receiver position. So he did a wide variety of things for such a short notice for minicamp. It's not like he got a book all week to study, he showed up on Thursday night like everbody else and Friday it was cold turkey."
Adams to Fullback?
Fourth-year defensive lineman and former Nittany Lion Anthony Adams, the 49ers' starting nose tackle, made a few cameo appearances last season at fullback, where his compact 6-foot, 300-pound frame and low center of gravity were put to good use as a blocker on short-yardage and goal-line situations.
Expect more of the same this year as the 49ers experiment with changes at the position now that 2003 Pro Bowler Fred Beasley no longer is with the team.
"Yes, we have talked about that," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "He will play some (fullback). It will maybe be a little bit more than it was last year. But you'd like to be in those situations. A lot of third-and-shorts and goal-line would be good.
"So if that happened, maybe we would see him more often. In the standard package we could have something also. We've talked about it, (offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner) and I. But it would still be a basic attack, but he could go in and do that." Adams, in fact, is effective enough in the role to be the team's regular blocking fullback, Nolan said. But the Niners need him more at his natural position. "He's good," Nolan said. "He could do that (fullback) full-time and be the guy. But we're not thick enough at the other spot to be able to do that."