The camp wrap
THUMBS UP FOR TOP ARMS: He was practicing with and competing against guys who weren't wearing pads and were avoiding contact, but Ken Dorsey couldn't have looked much better in his first trial run as the team's No. 1 quarterback. He was a commanding and impressive presence both on and off the field during the three-day session. "You can see Ken Dorsey growing all the time," coach Dennis Erickson said. "He's making some throws and got better and better all the time." THE VIEW AT NO. 2: And Doman? "Brandon is doing some good things. The thing about Brandon is that he's very athletic and he can move around and make things happen," Erickson said. "That's why he was drafted. I think as you see him continue to get involved offensively, and as you see him as we get into preseason in games, you'll see him make plays. He's not Jeff Garcia, but he's like Jeff as a quarterback, and hopefully he can grow to be something like that." THE RIGHT CHOICE: Dorsey clearly looked like the better quarterback with both guys getting plenty of work this week. But that wasn't so clear last summer, when Dorsey and Doman ran neck-and-neck for the No. 3 job behind Garcia and Tim Rattay. That's the way it looked to many observers, and that's also the way it looked to the coaching staff as the team decided to go with the rookie over the second-year man last year, Erickson admitted Friday. "Very close," he said. "It really was. It was a long discussion. It wasn't a decision we made overnight. We talked about it and it was very, very close." There wouldn't be much discussion if the Niners had to pick a starter between Dorsey and Doman today, but Erickson did say about the latter, "We're fortunate to have him back in our situation." DREAMY QB: You couldn't wipe the smile off Dorsey's face this week as he soaked it up in the limelight. "It's a dream right now," Dorsey said Friday. "I'm living it, and trying to make the most of it." MISSING SHOTGUN: There wasn't much work out of the shotgun for Dorsey and Doman this week, but Erickson said that formation still will be a part of the gameplan this season. "We're going to use it with Tim (Rattay) back there; it probably benefits us a little bit more," Erickson said. "When (Garcia) dropped, and moved around, he was very efficient doing that. Tim was in the shotgun a lot in college and I like what he does back there. We may do it a little more, yeah." THIS BOOT MADE FOR NOT WALKING: After his scary fall in practice Thursday, defensive tackle Bryant Young was wearing a boot on his left leg Friday to protect his injured ankle as he watched practiced from the sidelines. But the injury is nothing to worry about. "He's OK," Erickson said. "He probably could have practiced today. If he had to play Sunday, he could play. It's just an ankle sprain. It's not a high ankle sprain. He might go next week, but I'm not going to take any chances. It has to be healed. There's no sense taking any chances with him and those other (defensive linemen) could use some work. It's not anything critical." BATTLE FOR BATTLE: Now that veteran Curtis Conway and draft picks Rashaun Woods and Derrick Hamilton are on board, it's going to be tougher for Arnaz Battle to make the team at receiver. But the second-year wideout had a nice camp, showing his skills in all phases and, significantly, making it through without any nagging injuries. That's what he has to do next week and, especially, when the pads go on next month. SPEAKING OF CONWAY: The guy has only participated in two organized practices this year, and already he's starting to look like the successful veteran player that he is. "He was a lot better today than he was yesterday," Erickson said. "With Curtis, it's a matter of getting himself back in shape. He's not in bad shape, but he has to continue to keep working. You can see he has some things that he's learned as a veteran. He picked things up. He did a lot of things a lot better today than he did yesterday." FLYING LINEBACKERS: And defensively? While this camp focused on the offensive side of the ball, it was kind of difficult not to notice the team's speedy linebackers jetting around the field in coverage packages. "Defensively, we're flying around the ball," Erickson said. "Jamie Winborn and Derek (Smith) and Jeff (Ulbrich), they are just kind of running the show back there right now." ON TO THE BIG SPRING CAMP: The defense will be getting as much work - and focus - as the offense when the Niners conduct their final spring minicamp beginning Monday, a four-day, full-squad event that - as far as preparation goes - is the team's major practice event of the entire spring. "In passing camp, the offensive and defensive lines came out and did some things while the linebackers and secondary and the receivers and stuff came out and did some other things, and then they came together at the end of practice," Erickson said. "Next week, it will be just like a regular practice during the season." Which is as close as you can get to the real thing in the spring.
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