That's day one under wraps for the San Francisco 49ers training camp, and with it we learned ... not a lot, as it happens. Only so much can happen in one day, and the team's probable starting quarterback couldn't even take part. As per the new league rules while transitioning from the lockout to the new deal, Alex Smith, a free agent who signed with the team on Friday, is not allowed to practice until August 4th. But we did learn things like how Jim Harbaugh handles a training camp, getting a look at the kind of coach he is.
According to everybody present, Harbaugh was very hands-on, snapping the ball to rookie Colin Kaepernick at one point, while animatedly directing things on all fronts. Speaking of Kaepernick, he impressed the media attending and generally looked good. Matt Barrows tweeted that he was accurate and made the downfield throws required of him, while Matt Maiocco noted that the best offensive play of the day was a 25-yard corner route from the rookie to Vernon Davis. Last year we were writing about 11-to-85, is there a chance that we're going to get 7-to-85 this season?
We won't know that until Smith is able to participate in training camp, though Kaepernick's play would seem to factor into the decision more so than Smith's. As it stands, Smith is going to be the starter, even if he is less-than-stellar in training camp. It won't take a Smith screw up to lose him that spot, it would take Kaepernick excelling to do that.
By all accounts, it's appears to be a distinct possibility.
Anthony Dixon took the first-team snaps at running back, with feature back Frank Gore holding out for a new contract. Gore will be the centerpiece of the offense, but the snaps have to be good for Dixon, who figures to have his hands full battling rookie Kendall Hunter for the primary backup role. Dixon was out of the sixth round in 2010, while Hunter is out of the fourth round this past draft and was predicted to go much sooner. Moran Norris led the way for Dixon, and Bruce Miller didn't quite get in the thick of things yet. He's on the physically-unable-to-perform list but figures to be off of it soon.
There was one big injury, as rookie Curtis Holcomb figures to be out for the entire 2011 season as he'll require surgery for his ruptured left Achilles. Holcomb was a late-round draft choice was going to be battling for a spot on the roster, perhaps against someone like second-year player Phillip Adams. You never like to see injuries, but on the first day of training camp? It's essentially tragic. There's going to be a lot of those around the league.
So it was a productive day and everybody feels a little bit better to know that there's somebody out there throwing footballs and somebody out there chasing quarterbacks. The 49ers will have another practice Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.