Francois doing well at nose tackle

Second-year defensive lineman impresses his coach, at least until Franklin signs his tender and comes to camp.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Anybody seen Aubrayo Franklin?

The San Francisco 49ers completed their first week of training camp Friday with no sign of their missing nose tackle. Franklin, designated the team's franchise player, has yet to sign his $7-million tender.

In his place, second-year lineman Ricky Jean Francois is working at nose in the Niners' 3-4 defense. Although he's a significant drop-off in terms of weight – 295 pounds compared to Franklin's listed 317 pounds – Francois is getting good reviews from defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.

"Across the board, Ricky is doing a good job," Manusky said. "He's still got a lot to learn, but we're happy with his progress."

Francois, who didn't see his first action last season until Dec. 20 at Philadelphia, knows he's holding down the position until Franklin finally signs his contract.

"I understand that Aubrayo's not here," he said. "I hope he comes back very soon, but I can't sit there and worry about it."

INJURY UPDATE: Linebacker Scott McKillop underwent surgery at Stanford Medical Center for a torn anterior cruciate ligament and patellar tendon in his left knee. No official announcement has been made regarding his status, but he's likely out for the season.

Meanwhile, guard David Baas (mild concussion) and tight end Delanie Walker (mild concussion) dressed in pads but were held out of contact drills. Sitting out were center Eric Heitmann (shoulder stinger), wideout Scott Long (hamstring) and linebacker Travis LaBoy (concussion).

CAMP VIP: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke to a group called the Bay Area Council in a tented area next to the practice field after the morning workout ended. Later, he was given a tour of the weight room by quarterback Alex Smith and met several players.

RULES CHANGES: NFL officials are touring camps this summer to inform players of new rules changes this season. Among the changes are new overtime rules plus rules designed to protect defenseless players. Also, if a ball carrier loses his helmet, the play will be declared over at the spot where the helmet came off.

Most 49ers player had questions about the positioning of the umpire, who is being moved from the defensive side of the ball, near the linebackers, to the offensive backfield.

Niners Digest Top Stories