Mini camp notebook

Lane Kiffin has a word of warning for anyone envisioning Darren McFadden becoming the all-purpose threat he was in college. The Raiders plan on being extra careful with their first-round draft pick and have no plans on giving him a full workload during his rookie season.

McFadden was among 41 players who attended the first day of Oakland's three-day rookie mini-camp beginning Friday. Veterans and any player with an accrued season in the NFL were not invited, leaving the coaching staff to work with the draft picks, free agents and a handful of players in camp for a tryout.

Most of the attention focused on McFadden, the two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up who was the fourth overall pick in the draft. He and Michael Bush split most of the reps on offense and looked incredibly fluid at times as he sprinted downfield after taking a handoff.

Kiffin cautioned, however, on expecting too much too soon from the young running back.

"You've got to be really careful," Kiffin said. "We kind of made that mistake with Reggie (Bush at USC) when we first had him, and I think Sean Payton did a little bit of that his first year at New Orleans. You get a guy who can do much and you get him doing everything and they don't get really good at one thing. The last thing we wasn't to do is take away from what he's here to do, and that's run the ball."

Kiffin spent most of his afternoon strolling back and forth between the team's two practice fields, working with McFadden and the other running backs during one period, but primarily staying in the background while offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan ran practice.

But the Raiders head coach definitely liked what he saw from his newest offensive prize.

"(McFadden) is so fun to work with because he's a football guy. He loves it," Kiffin said. "You can see it in his eyes. He wants to learn. If pads were on I think you would have heard a lot of noise from him."

Other highlights -- or lowlights -- from the mini-camp:

· Fourth-round draft pick Tyvon Branch was the fastest defensive back at the Scouting Combine and showed some off some of that speed along with some nice moves during his first NFL practice. During one kickoff return drill, Branch broke upfield then abruptly cut left, juking fellow rookie Trevor Scott.

Branch and free agent signee Louis Rankin stayed after practice to work on punt returns, as well. For now, Branch is the front-runner to win both return jobs.

· Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is no longer sporting the hippy hairdo he's had for years. At the urging of a friend of his daughter, Ryan agreed to have his hair cut for the Locks For Love cancer campaign, which helps design wigs for cancer patients.

· New wide receivers coach James Lofton was a busy man, schooling draft picks Arman Shields and Chaz Schillens on the nuances of playing receiver in the NFL. Lofton gave the duo tips on positioning the ball when making catches near the sidelines and also on how to get a lower, more stable stance at the line of scrimmage. The two obviously need some work. Shields dropped two easy catches during a receiving drill while Schillens had one clank off his chest.

· Bush, who sat out all of his rookie season while recovering from a broken leg suffered during his final year in college, ran well and showed no lingering effects. Bush also looks noticeably bigger in his upper body, though according to Kiffin he has not gained any weight.

· Linebacker Ronnie Pentz of San Diego, in camp for a tryout, helped his worth by making a diving interception.

· Among those in attendance were Mark Davis, son of owner Al Davis and the heir apparent to the Raiders organization, and Fred Biletnikoff, the Hall of Fame receiver and former assistant coach.

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