By Bill Coats
08/06/2007 5:25 pm

Third-round draftee Jonathan Wade, an All-American sprinter at Tennessee, is hot on the heels of veteran Lenny Walls for the nickel back job. Walls was the front-runner early in camp, but the Rams put Wade on a fast track, and he has responded.

After viewing the film of Saturday’s scrimmage, coach Scott Linehan was even more enthused about Wade, who converted to corner from wide receiver midway through his college career.

“Jonathan Wade showed me something,” Linehan said. “We knew he’s got great skills as a corner. We knew he had limited amount of snaps, being an offensive player that converted to corner. I guess the one thing maybe that we didn’t notice as much was how he tackles; his ability to tackle was something that really caught my eye.

“I was really pleased with how physical he played in the scrimmage. And he played the whole scrimmage and didn’t back down, which shows me something about his toughness. I thought he was a real bright spot.”

Linehan also had praise for nose tackle Clifton Ryan, a fifth-round draft pick from Michigan State.

“Clifton is a true nose tackle, which since I have been here we haven’t had,” Linehan said. “I think he had an excellent day anchoring and playing nose. When people try to run the ball at us, he’s a guy that we would be able to insert in the game and really hold up. ”


Notes from Day 10 of training camp:

>>After a slightly unsteady start, second-year LB Jon Alston is looking more at home on defense.

>>Former Rams offensive lineman Grant Williams visited Rams Park on Monday. He’s in town doing work for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

>>Todd Steussie took most of the reps with the first team at LT, as Orlando Pace continues to ease back into contact work. He missed the second half of the ’06 season with a torn triceps muscle.

>>Game-planning for Friday night’s preseason opener at Minnesota won’t start until Wednesday. “We’re still in camp and working against each other until then,” Linehan said.

>>Because of the extreme heat, practices are closed to the public indefinitely.

All for now . . .