While the 49ers have not named their starter for the regular season, the 49ers would seem to have shown their hand just a little bit (Singletary's words to the contrary). In his press conference today (transcript after the jump), Coach Mike Singletary announced that Shaun Hill will start the game tomorrow night at quarterback versus the Denver Broncos.
It's not the most shocking news in the world and Singletary played it off as a toss up between the two and "[d]on't read anything into it." Of course, if we didn't read anything into it, well that'd be just plain boring! Last year was certainly a little easier to read into when J.T. O'Sullivan was named QB, but we can still make some moderately educated guesses at this point.
Singletary did not indicate how long Hill would play but he did state that Alex Smith would get some time with the first team offense to keep the competition fair. I definitely think that's perfectly reasonable idea.
Elsewhere, there are some interesting starters. Glen Coffee is getting the start at running back with Frank Gore sitting out the game. At this point it's a good idea given how hard it sounds like Gore has been working in training camp. No need to get him hurt.
Isaac Bruce joins Gore on the sideline in what seems like a veteran courtesy. David Baas and Michael Robinson remain out and it sounds like Moran Norris is out as well, with Zak Keasey getting the start at fullback.
Transcripts for Mike Singletary and Shaun Hill after the jump...
Post-practice – 8-13-09
San Francisco 49ers
On the quarterback rotation for Friday’s preseason game:
"Shaun Hill will start the game. I do not know who will start next week. It really could have been Shaun Hill or Alex Smith and we chose Shaun Hill. Don’t read anything into it."
On how much Hill will play:
"Right now we are just going to get into the flow of the game and see where it goes. I think the flow will dictate, more or less, how much he will get to play."
On who will start at running back Friday:
"[Glen] Coffee will start."
On whether Zak Keasey will start at fullback:
On who is winning the quarterback competition:
"It is kind of like I have been saying, I don’t care about today. What I care about is at the end of it. One can go a little bit ahead and a little bit behind, but in all fairness to them, the only thing I want to comment on is when we know who it is. In terms of who is ahead, who is not, it really doesn’t matter right now for us."
On whether QB Nate Davis will play Friday:
"He may take some snaps, but once again it depends on the flow of the game. We’d like to see him get some snaps."
On how pleased he is with the quarterbacks’ play in camp:
"If we were really pleased we would have one. We would say, ‘that’s the guy.’ But, I am pleased with the progression they are making. They’re continuing to make progress in all the little things they are doing. I am pleased about that. We will be really excited when the time comes to announce who that guy is."
On who will sit out of Friday’s preseason game:
"Obviously, some of the injured guys you already know about, those guys will not play. Isaac Bruce will not play. Frank Gore will not play. Other than that, there will be some guys limited as we go forward, but that is the plan now, outside of the guys who are injured."
On whether Gore was willing to sit out of the game:
"Frank is smart enough to know when we tell him we want Coffee to play, Frank will just back off. He’s good. He has been working his tail off out here. He knows that we know that I think this is the smart thing for us to do."
On whether Gore will play at all this preseason:
"I’m sure he will. Yes. I don’t know at all about LaDanian Tomlinson, but I do know he [Gore] will play some this preseason."
On why the team responds so well to him:
"I think the most important thing is that I am just being myself. I think that is why I can be consistent, because that is all I know. I talked to them the other day and told them I wish I could do something else. I wish I was a little bit smarter in this area. But this is who I am. This is what you get. I’m just going to continue to do that. I’m going to continue to play and continue to work hard. I’m going to continue to build relationships with our coaches and players, and we’ll go from there."
On whether his love of the game rubs off on his players:
"When someone is passionate about something, it is something you can’t hide. I know the guys know that I love the game. I have a tremendous respect for the game and what it has done for me and my family. I’m sure that is a small part of it."
On RB Michael Robinson’s and G David Baas’ injuries:
"It’s a day-to-day thing."
On why he is being so careful with injured guys:
"That comes from the relationship with Fergie [Jeff Ferguson], our trainer, and the relationship with the doctors. I tell the players, ‘when you tell us something, we believe that. I’m not going to assume anything. If you’re hurt, you’re hurt.’ Fergie has to make that decision. Some guys want to get out there and Fergie says, ‘Coach, I don’t think it’s time.’ Then it’s not happening because I know players are all about energy and emotion and the doctors and trainers are all about wisdom. That is the route we are going to take."
On whether LB Patrick Willis will play Friday:
"Patrick is a no. He is not going to play. He is doing great. He wants to play, he just talked to me about it over there, but it is not happening. Hopefully we will get him back Monday or Tuesday and we will go from there."
On what is wrong with Willis:
"It is just a little sore ankle. Everything else is fine."
On what he expects to learn from Friday’s preseason game:
"It just depends on how the game goes. There are some preseason games that tell you a lot. There are other preseason games you look at and they are kind of hard to get a gauge on. I think tomorrow night will give us a nice first step, a good indication of where we are."
On whether Alex Smith will get to work with the No. 1 offense Friday:
"He will get work with the ones, in order to keep it fair."
On whether Adam Snyder is currently the starting right tackle:
"I would say he is still competing, but he has done a good job of really making strides to be the starter. But I really want to leave him there at right tackle and let him play and let him develop. I really want to try to stay away from moving him around because he is such a good athlete. He has such flexibility in terms of what he can do and what he can play. That can be good and bad for the player. And, in his instance, I think it’s not a very good thing. He’s just continuing to develop, and I’m very excited about what I’m seeing."
On whether the flow of the game will determine how long the first team will stay in the game:
"Pretty much, it is set. We’re pretty much going to go by number of plays, unless, once again, you’re right. The flow will dictate that. Hopefully it works out in our favor in terms of going with the numbers that we want to run and the exposure we want to give our players."
On how many snaps he wants the quarterbacks to take:
"We’ll talk about it some more. I don’t really want to get into that, but we’ll talk about it some more."
On whether he has a certain script of plays he’s looking to run:
"I think offensively and defensively we’re going to do what we do. It’s one of those things where I know what they’re going to do defensively. I know Coach [Mike] Nolan, and Mike is going to bring the house. That’s Mike, and I don’t expect anything else. He’s going to play his defense. I don’t mean he’s going to blitz us to death, but he’s going to run his defense. I know we can expect that. Offensively, we’ll just have to see how much they want to get into their playbook."
On whether Snyder is exceeding his expectations:
"I think for Snyder, he’s just doing what he said he was going to do. He told me at the end of the season, and some this offseason, ‘Coach, if you leave me at right tackle and let me develop there, you’ll see I’ll be a much better football player.’ That’s what he’s doing."
Post-practice – 8-13-09
San Francisco 49ers
On his reaction to starting the first preseason game:
"Obviously, I’m just excited to get out there and play again. I agree that there’s no reason to read into this in any way. Obviously, starting the first preseason game isn’t the final goal. It’s to start every regular season game and go from there. I’m just excited for the opportunity to get out there and play again."
On whether the coaches have indicated how much he will play in the first preseason game:
"No. I haven’t gotten a word on that either."
On whether he’s too far involved to assess the quarterback race and whether he thinks it’s even so far:
"Yes, I guess. I mean, like you said, I’m probably too far involved to sit there and judge. I’m my own biggest critic and I don’t sit there and try to dwell on what Alex has done. So, it’d be impossible for me to say exactly how even it is. You guys would probably have a better perspective on that than I would."
On what he hopes to accomplish in the game tomorrow:
"Well, I hope that every drive that I’m out there, drive the team down there and score touchdowns. That’s ultimately the goal and that’s what I’m focusing on."
On whether he feels the need to prove he can throw the ball downfield:
"No, I have to approach the game taking what they give me. If the deep ball is available, I have to take it. But, I can’t go out there and force something downfield just for the sake of proving to people that I can throw the deep ball. So, I’m very focused on playing within myself, and I feel like I’ve proven when I do that, what I have is sufficient."
On whether he can get a good gauge on where he’s at from playing in a preseason game:
"It is tough to get an accurate reading on where we are. But, it is nice to go out there and play against somebody else, another defense. Obviously, we don’t game plan, necessarily, for preseason games. We don’t know exactly what we’re going to see from these guys. But, what it does is really make us think about our rules and the way we have introduced our offensive system. So, we’ll get a good gauge on where we are in that."
On when Mike Singletary told him he would be starting the preseason game:
"To be honest with you, I just found out, probably, around the same time you guys did."
On whether that was this morning:
On what Mike Singletary told him:
"Actually, he did not."
On how he learned he would be the starter:
"On my way out here."
On the level of excitement in the locker room and how everybody is looking forward to the season:
"Obviously, everybody is very excited. When you’ve been facing each other and going as hard as we have been at each other, you’re very excited to see a different uniform lined up across from you. There is a lot of excitement and optimism in that locker room heading into the season, without a doubt."