Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The 49ers begin their afternoon practice in another hour or so. A few notes left over from the morning session:
These practices feature more high-impact physical contact than what I recall seeing at most training camps. Example: Frank Gore runs across the shallow middle on a pass pattern. He's about to catch the pass when linebacker Takeo Spikes decks him. The pass is incomplete. Gore gets up and runs back to the huddle, ready for more.
Manny Lawson stood out to me a couple times. As noted, he defeated Vernon Davis, a difficult matchup, in Mike Singletary's nutcracker drills. I also saw Lawson beat left tackle Joe Staley in a one-on-one pass-rush drill. Lawson celebrated after beating Staley with a quick move to the inside. The 49ers need to see more of this.
Also in pass-rush drills, nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin beat center Eric Heitmann, who had little choice but to hold; Kentwan Balmer beat guard Tony Wragge, who also held; defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell convincingly beat center Cody Wallace; defensive end Pannel Egboh eventually prevailed against tackle Kyle Howard with a spin move; guard Matt Spanos fared better in an immediate rematch after defensive lineman Babatunde Oshinowo beat him in the first matchup.
Cornerback Dre Bly showed his frustration after receiver Josh Morgan beat him for a short reception. Morgan gained separation with a quick shove near the line of scrimmage before catching the pass from Shaun Hill.
Singletary kept urging players to stay off the ground. That is a standard message from coaches, but it's tougher to abide by such rules when the practices are so physical.
Smith's shoulder appears to be doing fine. The quarterback threw one pass roughly 60 yards in the air without any trouble.
Balmer "did OK" when working with the first team at right defensive end while Justin Smith received time off.
I spoke with Staley and Gore after the morning practice. Both seemed genuinely excited about playing for Singletary. More on that as camp progresses.