Tag Archive | "gary"

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Midweek Musings

Posted on 04 February 2009 by Mark Suchy

Random thoughts from the local sports scene that are bouncing around the cranium this week…

*  I don’t know about you, but this current Maryland men’s basketball team is probably the most forgettable group ever assembled during Gary Williams’ tenure in College Park.  No inside presence, very little depth, a repeated inability to play cohesive team defense and a lack of a true “go-to” player all add up to the debacles like last night’s in Chapel Hill and the embarrassment in Durham two weekends ago.  For a guard-dominated team, there sure aren’t many good ones on this roster.  In my opinion, Adrian Bowie has to play 30 minutes a game at point guard and settle that position once and for all.  That would allow more freedom off the ball for Greivis Vasquez to come off of screens and play a little closer to the rim (because, Lord knows, he’s just not very good from way outside).  More Sean Mosely can’t hurt either.  But unless and until Braxton Dupree and Dino Gregory contribute much more significantly, this Terps team is doomed to finish with a maximum of 6 ACC wins.  Just look at the remaining schedule and tell me how they can finish the second half of conference play at 6-2 (which is what it will taje to go 9-7 and be a legitmate “bubble” team come NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday).  Wake, Duke, UNC, Clemson and Virginia Tech are all significantly better than Maryland and will assure the Terps another NIT trip.

As for the status of Gary Williams, it appears he will at least get another year to straighten out the current problems in the program.  At least as it regards recruiting, this is a positive development.  Any appearance of internal conflict could easily chase away potential Terps, no matter how highly or lowly regarded they may be.  And right now, this program needs all the talent it can possibly unearth.

*  So Ty Wigginton is a Baltimore Oriole?  I guess I’ll upgrade from that 13 game plan to a 29 game plan now.  I mean really.  How much more of this type of mediocrity are all lifelong Oriole fans supposed to swallow?  I understand that every major league team needs depth and versatility for the rigors of a six month season, but exactly how does having Wigginton fit in?  Is this a preliminary move that clears the way later this year to trade Melvin Mora (assuming he waives his no-trade clause, which I would imagine he’d be happy to do by mid-July when they’re 22 games out) or even, perhaps, Brian Roberts?  There simply appears to be an overabundance of utility players on this current roster.  Wigginton, Chris Gomez, Ryan Freel.  Awfully inspiring.

*  Speaking of the Orioles, I brought this up on-air the other day while filling in for Nestor.  Why wouldn’t the team have any interest in Manny Ramirez?  I know the answer already ($$$$), but why wouldn’t you at least explore something along the lines of two years?  He could be the everyday DH, hit a ton in Camden Yards, stick it to Boston and New York 38 times a year, and show some of the younger players how to be a complete major league hitter.  And don’t give me the argument about Manny taking away at-bats from Felix Pie or Luke Scott.  Really, who cares?  If you’re telling me that people wouldn’t be much more inclined to go see the Orioles on a Tuesday night in June against Seattle because Manny’s in the lineup, I’d tell you you’re lying.  The guy is the best right-handed hitter available, a certain Hall of Famer and a draw.  Oh, right, I forgot, who cares about selling tickets when MASN is lining the hallways of the Warehouse with cash.  Silly me.

*  Money, money, money.  We’ll be hearing plenty of talk about it over the next month as the Ravens map out their future with the pending free agents.  My guess is that Ray Lewis has played his final game as a Raven; he will simply take the highest offer, and the Ravens will choose not to match.  The two most critical pieces to retain are Terrell Suggs and Jason Brown.  After that, it will be “right player, right price” as the team rebuilds for ’09.  And every one of us that cares about the team should not go insane about any of the moves this front office makes until the season is played.  As I recall, there was an awful lot of yammering and Ozzie bashing last April, May, etc. about his draft manueverings and picks, free agents, trades, etc.  Be patient, everyone, and give this entire front office a little credit as the off-season plays out.  More often than not, the moves work.  Which is the most critical reason behind the franchise’s success over the past decade.

*  Early Final Four hunch: Duke, Marquette, UConn, Michigan State

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Given a choice why would someone want to play for Gary Williams?

Posted on 08 January 2009 by Jason Jubb

I ask myself this question all the time. If I was a HS basketball player being recruited by multiple top universities why would I want to play for Gary Williams and Maryland?


For starters, Gary tends to limit playing time of most freshmen which may have been a good idea at one time, but in today’s game I have to wonder if that deters top talent.


Then I look at Gary and his coach style/demeanor. Once again, his in your face style of coaching was something more suited for yesterday’s generation. I often feel his constant verbal tirades and sideline antics are more counterproductive than anything else. I would think that it may even make players play in a mode where they are scared to make a mistake which is never good.


I frequently make this comparison to Mike Krzyzewski. With the game on the line and down a point would you rather see coach K on the sideline remaining calm as if he knows you will pull out a win or would you rather see Gary sweating through his jacket and freaking out uncontrollably? It amazes me that a coach can sweat more than a person playing the game.


Maybe it’s just me but I am starting to think it’s time for Gary to move on and I am starting to understand why so many of the areas top recruits are going elsewhere. Sorry Gary, you did a lot for this UMD and brought it back from troubled times, but after failing to put a decent team on the floor for a number of years I think it may be time to move on.

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Matt Stover: One of a Kind

Posted on 04 December 2008 by Brian Billick

Rick Gosselin is one of, if not, the best NFL writers in the country.  Writing for the Dallas Morning News I thought Ravens fans would appreciate Rick’s comments about Matt Stover.  Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis are the “icons” of this franchise but Matt is one who also needs to be constantly brought up in the discussion of who are the most important players in the Ravens’ short history.

Rick wrote the following:

“Matt Stover is an NFL conundrum. He has played in two NFL cities and worn two different uniforms — but has only played for one franchise in his 18-year career. Stover is the place-kicker for the Baltimore Ravens and the last holdover from the franchise’s stay in Cleveland as the Browns. Stover was five years and 480 points into his career when Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore in 1996 and renamed them the Ravens. A Lake Highlands product, Stover has spent the last 13 years of his life in Baltimore kicking his way into the NFL’s top five all-time scorers. Stover ranks fifth with 1,905 points. The top five are all place-kickers, and Stover is the only one who has done all of his scoring for one franchise. Here’s the list of the NFL’s all-time top scorers:

Player Seasons Teams Points
Morten Andersen 25 5 2,544
Gary Anderson 23 5 2,434
George Blanda 26 4 2,002
John Carney 21 7 1,926
Matt Stover 18 1 1,905

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The Young and Restless

Posted on 14 November 2008 by Brian Billick

As I prepared for my game this week between the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs I had a chance to see first hand what the Chiefs are going through with their purging of their roster and building anew this franchise. Trading away their best defensive player (Jared Allen to the Minnesota Vikings) and loading up on draft choices this year you can clearly see the commitment the Chiefs have made to the future, and the growing pains they are experiencing at 1-8.

Seeing Herm Edwards and Carl Peterson put this plan in motion, I can’t help but think back to the 2002 season when Ozzie Newsome and I were faced with the same task.

As much as we as coaches would like to think otherwise, our jobs (particularly that of a head coach) are inexorably linked to the finances of any given situation. In 2000 the Baltimore Ravens reached the top of the professional football pyramid winning Super Bowl XXXV and then returning to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs in 2001. The price was unavoidable, however.

In 2002, the Ravens fielded the youngest team ever (19 rookies) in the history of the NFL. The decisions made in the preceding years to the “Cap Purge” of 02’ were all made with the consensus agreement that the team would have to be gutted after the 2001 season. With every signing leading up to the Super Bowl year General Manager Ozzie Newsome would make the obligatory observation, “Now we all know the piper has to be paid in 2002, right.” It was an acknowledgment by all involved that the expenditure “over the cap” had an unavoidable consequence in today’s NFL. That for every dollar “over the cap” you spend you will be devoid of those dollars in subsequent years.

At the heart of the Ravens’ Championship year were players like Shannon Sharpe, Priest Holmes, Rob Burnett, Duane Starks,Tony Siragusa, Qadry Ismail, Sam Adams. Jeff Mitchell, Jamie Sharper, Jermaine Lewis and even future Hall of Fame Rod Woodson would all be victims of the financial “balancing of the books” that every team must come to recon with.

It was only fitting that the cover of the 2002 Ravens’ Media Guide adorned the oil portraits of myself and Ozzie. Indeed, we where left with the task of rebuilding a championship team with our “financial” hands tied behind our backs. We did so in the only way left to a team in this situation and that is to draft and draft well.

Draftees like Jamal Lewis, Adalius Thomas, Todd Heap, Gary Baxter, Casey Rabach, Edgerton Hartwell, Ed Reed, Anthony Weaver, Dave Zastudil and Chester Taylor would team with holdovers Chris McAlister and future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden to form an AFC North Division Championship team in 2003. They key was the franchise’s willingness to take the dramatic steps to “purge” their championship team of older and more expensive talent and replace it with younger more affordable players.

The problem lies in being a victim of your own success. When you draft well, even though the young player comes cheaper, they play themselves into the higher priced market that makes it increasingly tough to keep all of your good players. Ultimately, the successes of drafting Ed Reed, Todd Heap and Terrell Suggs then forced the Ravens to let go of Jamal Lewis, Adalius Thomas, Gary Baxter, Casey Rabach, Edgerton Hartwell, Anthony Weaver, Dave Zastudil and Chester Taylor. It has become a vicious cycle, in a reverse of nature, the “young eating their old.”

In training camp of the 2002 purge year Todd Heap had a humorous, but acute observation. We had long had a tradition on our team that the most veteran players got to sit in first class when we traveled. Typically that would be seven or eight players, usually with 10+ years in the league. Todd Heap, who was just entering his third year in the league, at our first OTA with this young group observed, “Coach, looks like I am going to be in first class this season.”

Having spent the day with Herm Edwards, it’s clear he is finding the same things I did in 2002. Though tough getting through the loses, it was one of the most enjoyable years I have had coaching. Working with and developing the young talent is what being a coach is all about. Herm will also find that by having to play so many young players you are going to learn a great deal more about them than you might otherwise have a chance to do. Next year when he looks at his roster and sees a bunch of 2nd and 3rd year players he will not have to worry about how they will play in their first starts. They will all have 10 to 16 games of playing experience.

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Laurel Park: Selections for Saturday, Sept. 27th

Posted on 27 September 2008 by Gary Quill

Horse racing history will occur today at Belmont Park at approximately 5:55pm and you can witness it live on ESPNews. Reigning Horse of the Year, Curlin, competes in the $450,000 Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup. A victory will make him the only horse to surpass $10 million in career earnings as well as pass Cigar to become the leading money winner of all-time.
Recapping my selections from Saturday, Sept. 20th at Laurel Park …
Best Bet, Rough Shot / Imagini entry (# 1/1A; 2nd race; 3-2) as expected one of the two were scratched. Rough Shot ran and ran rough shot over this weak field for an easy 5 length score, paying $4.20 3.20 2.20.
Longshot, Fine Shine (# 6; 5th race on the turf; 8-1) at 21-1 failed to get involved at any point in the contest and finished dead last.
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $116 on Legendary Lover (# 5; 9th race; 4-1) trainer Gary Capuano pulled a fast one, electing to have Travis Dunkelberger ride eventual winner Wonder Mon instead of my selection Legendary Lover, ridden by Carlos Quinones to an evenly 5th place finish as the 5-2 2nd choice, taking the SHOW parlay down with him.
Here’s who I like for Saturday, Sept. 27th at Laurel Park…
Best Bet:         Raging Ron entry (# 3; 8th race; 5-1)

A small field of five promising 2 year old colts will knock heads for the first 5 furlongs setting a blistering pace, but there will only be one (Raging Ron) who will pass the fading speed… at least that’s how I see it.

Longshot:        Songapproved (# 9; 7th race on the turf; 30-1)
She’s been down this road before, coming back to her level after facing boys and at a claiming price way beyond her worth. Today she fits in with these and should make some noise at a price.
SHOW Parlay available bankroll: $80.90   ($196.90 – $116 bet + $0 return)

With the five race winning streak now history, let’s start over with a new $20 bet.

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: $20 on Kitty Pleaser (# 6; 1st race; 2-1)

Third time is a charm as this maiden makes his third career start. Trainer has a nice win percentage. At the very least he should hit the board to make a small profit in the SHOW column.

These are who I like. How about you? Good luck with your selections!

Help save thoroughbred horse racing in the great state of Maryland.
On November 4th, vote FOR the Maryland Slots Machine referendum.

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Laurel Park: Selections for Thursday, Sept. 18th

Posted on 18 September 2008 by Gary Quill

Magna Entertainment, parent company of Laurel Park is contributing $2 million towards the “Pro Slots” cause. That’s some serious coin and speaks volumes as to how badly the horse racing industry needs this referendum to pass in order to survive beyond 2009.
Recapping my selections from Wednesday, Sept. 17th at Laurel Park …
Best Bet, Classy Credentials (# 1; 4th race; 3-2) was the 4-5 betting favorite but ran into tough racing luck when she was forced to avoid a fallen horse early in the race. After recovering, she moved at the leader entering the stretch but had nothing left at the eighth pole and settled for third, paying $2.10
Longshot, Best Approach (# 7; 1st race; 6-1) never got involved in this contest at 14-1, finishing an uneventful trip in 5th place.
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $37 on Heavenly Moon (# 10; 7th race; 3-1) was a wise selection. Though the betting public wasn’t convinced (Final Odds of 7-2), she ran her typical solid race finishing second, just ¾ length behind the winner returning $3.40 to SHOW. Our bet pays $62.90 as the SHOW parlay lives on.
Here’s who I like for Thursday, Sept. 18th at Laurel Park…
Best Bet:         Too Salty For Me (# 4; 2nd race; 5-2)

Throw out his last race and he’s a winner today. It’s that easy. If only they all were this easy to handicap. With a clean break, he should be able to grab the early lead and never look back.

Longshot:        Populist (# 7; 5th race on the turf; 8-1)
She only has raced once on the grass (runner-up at 5 ½ furlongs among maidens), but was entered in an overnight stakes turf race at Delaware Park in June going 1 1/16 mile (today’s distance) which was taken off the turf due to unfavorable conditions that day. Appears trainer Gary Capuano had confidence in her grass running ability in June, so I’ll back her today in a $32k Allowance affair.
SHOW Parlay available bankroll: $123.70   ($97.80 – $37 bet + $62.90 return)

With a three race winning streak on the line…

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: $63 on Gianna’s Princess (# 2; 7th race on turf; 4-1)

This 4 year old is 4 for 4 in hitting the board on the Laurel Park turf course. She doesn’t have the motivation to cross the wire first (1 of 16 lifetime) but at today’s distance and level has never failed to pick up a check.

These are who I like. How about you? Good luck with your selections!
Help save thoroughbred horse racing in the great state of Maryland.
On November 4th, vote FOR the Maryland Slots Machine referendum.

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How will Houston Texans leave town for game at this point?

Posted on 13 September 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Like the rest of you, I’m watching in horror at what’s happening in Houston right now.

On the football side, it appears that New Orleans could be the first option but even that must be a sticky proposition right now and I’ll go into that later in this blog.

But before I do, I’d prefer to address the “real world” issue by saying that i was up late and into the early morning tracking this storm because I have some other vested interests.

I have family in Houston. I have friends in Houston. I have some really great memories of Houston. But seeing this storm roll through has been painful. We’re all praying for them but it looks quite messy and devastating. Glass everywhere downtown, buildings just devastated.

Back to Ravens football and the game: Yesterday I took a straw poll of all of the folks around WNST and none of us really believed they were going to be playing this football game on Monday night at Reliant Stadium. All you had to do was look at the storm and see its tracking and know this was a bad situation.

Now word comes out of Houston that Reliant Stadium has roof damage and that the “game is off” according to the newspaper.

The Ravens have no official word. The league officials must be scrambling but, honestly, had to see this coming. There’s a conference call slated for later in the afternoon.

We’ve all heard about the “skip the bye week” schedule change. We’ve all heard about the possibility of a doubleheader in Dallas on Monday night (not realistic because of staff, warmups, hotel evacuaees from Houston and locker rooms…this would be a stretch). We’ve all heard about moving the game to New Orleans — probably the frontrunner simple because of distance and availability — or Atlanta and play in front of an empty house.

But I can’t fathom how the city is going to be able to provide any transportation to get the Houston Texans out of the city to play a game anywhere. The airport might not be available. And any buses might be hard to find given the carnage that this storm will leave behind.

I’m just saying…

The NFL folks are pretty smart about this stuff, but I wondered aloud a few times yesterday whether they shouldn’t have tried to get the team out of Houston before the storm. If New Orleans was the place, then why aren’t they already there? If Houston was fine after the storm, which always appeared to be a stretch/wish, it would be easy to get the Texans players/staff back into town. I checked the web hard to see if they did “evacuate” or “escape” but I see no evidence of that.

Like the rest of you, I’m just watching and reacting.

But how would the league mobilize a travelling party of 120 people in the Texans organization to fly or bus or drive anywhere tomorrow morning when Gary Kubiak’s cellphone might not work and there might be a tree blocking Matt Schaub’s car. Chances are most of the team doesn’t have electricity at this point.

And it ain’t like they’re gonna call a cab to get them somewhere.

Maybe the team spent the evening at a downtown hotel, but those are the very buildings that every CNN report said would be the most dangerous with glass windows and height in a storm of this magnitude. And the aftermath of the downtown glass destruction is now evident.

Strange days indeed…

More to come for sure…

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UPDATE: Injury report and Wednesday Ravens notes

Posted on 10 September 2008 by caseywillett

Here is the Ravens injury report for Wednesday:
Did Not Participate:
Brendon Ayanbadejo (leg)
Troy Smith (illness)
Fabian Washington (neck)
Limited Participation
Yamon Figurs (hamstring)
Kelly Gregg (knee)
Corey Ivy (ankle)
Ed Reed (neck)
Full Participation
Chris McAlister(knee)
Jason Brown (ankle)
Jared Gaither (ankle)
Todd Heap (back)
LeRon McClain (ankle)
Willis McGahee (knee)

The Ravens returned to practice today as they prepare for the Houston Texans. Here are some news and notes from today:

Good news from media portion of practice this afternoon. Kelly Gregg was back on the field and may possibly be ready to play on Sunday
Haloti Ngata was not at practice during the media session, and there has been no reason as to why he was not there. Again, he was not there during the media portion of practice, he could have very well come out for practice later.
Fabian Washington, Brendon Ayanbadejo, and Troy Smith, were all not at practice this afternoon as they nurse injuries.
Fabian sort of rules himself out on Sunday. He said he is still dealing with some neck issues.
Troy Smith was in the locker room for a brief moment this afternoon. He looks to be in a little better shape than last time we saw him, but Coach Harbaugh said they will know more about his status on Friday.
Look for it to be a possible rotation of Willie Anderson, Adam Terry, and Jared Gaither, at the tackle positions. Terry could possibly see some time at the left tackle position if Anderson comes in at right.
There has been no news as far as possibly having to make changes in the Ravens travel plans as it relates to Houston yet,” whatever those plans are, they’ll let us know when it’s time, and our job is to get ready for the Texans.”
Todd Heap said that his back injury that he suffered in the 4th quarter of the Bengals game is ok, and not something that is going to bother him. Heap said that he landed on the Bengals player’s foot, but will be ok for Sunday.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak had an interesting take on the Ravens offense:’ I think you’ve got to worry about stopping the offense. When you look at the Ravens last week, the bottom line is they were dominant on the line of scrimmage. I’m not sure I’m right, but I think the quarterback only threw the ball 17-18 times last week. If you’re in this league and the quarterback only has to throw the ball that many times, then that means your football team’s got total control of the game on the ground. I think our tremendous challenge is figuring out a way to stop their run. If they can hold the ball longer, just like Pittsburgh did-I think Ben threw it 16 times or 15 times, I’m not sure; it wasn’t many-you’re in trouble as a football team. We’ve got to stop their offense, and when you look at last week they’re very physical and do a great job in the running game.”
One of the things to watch for is that Mario Williams will jump from one end of the line to the other, to cause match up problems.

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Casey’s ‘Six Pack’ preview for Ravens-Falcons

Posted on 28 August 2008 by caseywillett

So as the Ravens get ready for their final preseason game tonight versus the Falcons, here are six things to watch for. I guess we will call them Casey’s Six-Pack:
  1. O-line reunited – For the first time this preseason, the offensive line is expected to be back together with Adam Terry and Jared Gaither both likely to play tonight. It will be interesting to watch how they gel with Jason Brown, Marshal Yanda and Ben Grubbs after missing so much time. I expect that they will stay out there longer than usually expected for a fourth preseason game.
  1. Tight Ends – Todd Heap and Dan Wilcox will be on the field together tonight for the first time this preseason and the first time in a while. They are both coming back from injuries and will get some time with the first team offense tonight. Wilcox made his comeback last week and looked pretty good. Tonight will be another stepping stone on his road to recovery. I would imagine he will stay out there a little longer than Heap tonight. Also keep an eye on the guys know battling for that third tight end position. Adam Bergen will probably see the field first then you I imagine you will see Edgar Jones and Keith Heinrich.
  1. The Joe Show – Tonight Joe Flacco will see a lot of reps. While I do not think he will play the entire game, here is another chance for him to show what he can do and earn even more respect from his teammates. I think Joe will pass the test tonight with flying colors. Later in the game I expect you will see Casey Bramlet come in and run some of Cam Cameron’s offense.
  1. 3rd down stoppage  – The Ravens have allowed their opponents to convert 50% on 3rd downs this preseason which is why teams have racked up 67 first downs against them. Stopping teams on 3rd down has been an issue for this team during the preseason. They cannot allow teams to sustain long drives on them whether they lead to three or six points.
  1. Limit the air attack – The Ravens secondary, in particular Cory Ivy and Frank Walker, have been picked on a bunch this preseason. Not having Ed Reed, Chris McAlister or Samari Rolle factors into that, but how confident are you that they will be there all together during the regular season? The Ravens have allowed 607 yards through the air this preseason at a 58% completion rate. Of the 112 passes that have been attempted against the Ravens so far, 82 of them have been short passes. The Ravens have to stop the air onslaught and be able to find a way to stop the no-huddle offense.
  1. Prove you belong – After tonight, about 20 members of this football team will no longer be members. Tonight is the final audition for the coaches, scouts, front office and people who will make the roster decisions by 4 p.m. on Saturday. For guys like Ronnie Prude and David Pittman, they have to take advantage of Derrick Martin not being able to play. Do guys like J’Vonne Parker, Adrein Clarke, Joe Reitz, Jameel McClain, Lorenzo Williams and several other guys do something tonight to make a case one way or another as it relates to making this team? Does an aging veteran like Gary Stills just get caught up in a salary cap and numbers game and become expendable? Can Haruki Nakamura, Tom Zbikowski, Allen Patrick, and other late-round draft picks feel confident in their spot on the team after tonight’s game? One thing is for certain: they have had all of a long camp and preseason to prove what they have. Here’s one last chance to prove tonight that they belong on this team.

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Ravens Camp 8/5/08

Posted on 05 August 2008 by caseywillett

So Kyle Boller will be the starting quarterback for the Ravens on Thursday night versus the Patriots. I think it has zero relevance in the race to be the starting quarterback on September 7. I still think that spot will still belong to Troy Smith.
Here are some notes from practice today:
          The Ravens concluded all of their on the field practices for the media and public this afternoon with a special teams practice. The Ravens will hold a walk thru tomorrow morning and then board planes that afternoon headed to New England.
          Adam Terry was on the field this morning and not wearing the walking boot that he has had on for the last week.
          With Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle both out of practice this morning, Fabian Washington and Frank Walker played the corner positions. Once Fabian stopped practicing this morning, Corey Ivy took over for him.
          Jm Leonhard was out there as the other safety along with Dawan Landry in place of Ed Reed. Coach Harbaugh has said that Leonhard, Haruki Nakamura, and Tom Zbikowski will all rotate through that position.
          Bart Scott came out for practice this morning and then went back inside after a brief time and did not return for the rest of practice. Bart missed yesterday afternoon’s practice with a thigh issue.
          Chris McAlister and Mark Clayton joined the walking wounded today at practice.
          Gary Stills missed the morning practice, but returned for the afternoon special teams practice.

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