The 49ers kick off their first public practice tomorrow, but they got things going today with a practice that included a rundown of the Nutcracker drill and an assortment of exercises and whatnot. As this was the first day of practice, Coach Singletary spoke with the media afterwards. He discussed everything from Aubrayo Franklin's absence, to the reasons for adding an additional practice, to the continuity the team has heading into this season as compared to last year.
Head Coach Mike Singletary
Post-Practice - August 1, 2010
San Francisco 49ers
"First of all it was a good first day. I thought there was a lot of energy, good communication, and we're off to a pretty decent start. I think our guys have a good idea of what they're doing. It's just a matter of pressing the details, and making sure that in everything we do, we understand exactly what it is we are doing. Not just being in the right place but making sure that when we are in the right place; that we are doing the right thing, exactly the way it's supposed to be done and that's the thing that we have to continue to build on. Today's practice gives us something to stand on and begin to build. So, from that standpoint, I thought it was pretty good."
On the reason for adding today's practice to the itinerary.
"We had two days of install. We had an install last night and we have one tonight. When I visited with the coaches, they really wanted to take last night and make sure that we didn't lose it and try and lump it into two days. We felt that if we did some kind of walk through and went through something, then last night was not a pile on."
On what offensive line coach Mike Solari was explaining to the team:
"He was explaining the nutcracker drill."
On what is going to be different about the nutcracker drill this year:
"Not a whole lot. The only thing that we're going to do a little bit different is that when we line up, we're going to add a little bit of movement to it on the defensive side of the ball, and that's it."
On the continuity and familiar faces this year at training camp and the feeling that you don't have to start from square one because of it:
"It's a very good feeling to know that there can be some continuity. I think that would be the word that connects everything that we did last year and take in the positives and beginning to build on those things and let this be a continuation of building and learning, rather than something new where you are trying to learn plays. So that's a very good feeling."
On S Taylor Mays' progress:
"He is making good progress. The thing that we are trying to do is get him as much exposure as we can and see how he responds to it, and I think so far so good as a team and as individuals."
On the level of concern that NT Aubrayo Franklin has not signed his contract and reported:
"You know, I don't really have a lot of concern. I just think that it's very important for us as a football team to understand that Aubrayo has to do what he thinks is best for him and I'm not going to try and dictate one thing or another. I'm just going to let him do what he has to do, and at the same time, we're going to do what we have to do as a football team. But we will not sit back and say, ‘Is he coming in today, is he coming in tomorrow?' The most important thing we have to do is really continue to focus on what we control and I'm excited about the guys that are here."
On whether Franklin risks losing his job by not being here and if he has reached out to him at all:
"We'll have to wait until that comes. No"
On whether he's concerned with Franklin's level of conditioning:
"No, that's the least of my concerns. In terms of being in shape, the one thing that he has done is he has really done a tremendous job in the offseason. He really is an example that all our D-Linemen have learned from, our young guys, seeing the work that you have to put in to be a good football player."
On the idea of having a "grueling" training camp:
"I don't know that it's going to be grueling. The first couple days, yes, but there is a point that we have to get to - to take a look at these first few days and get what we've accomplished and where we are and take that next step. But for right now, I'm sure that they are going to say ‘Man, this really is a tough camp,' but I'm going to continue to do what I've done and that is continue to communicate with our trainers, doctors, strength and conditioning coaches and just continue to get better."
On benchmarks that you want your rookie offensive linemen to reach as camp goes on:
"It's one of those things that I think we will know it when we see it. It's one of those things that when you are looking at a rookie offensive lineman, it's very difficult to say, ‘Well when he does this, and he does that, when he knows the plays and he can know the plays and still not be able to execute it.' It's something that we have to let it unfold, and as we watch it closely and monitor it, it will speak out and we will know."
On what WR Michael Crabtree will get of this month that he didn't get last year:
"I think the first thing will be confidence. I think what he did last year showed a lot about the kind of talent he is, the kind of mindset that he has, the kid loves football. So, what does he gain now? I think he gains a lot of confidence going into it knowing that I don't think I'm supposed to be here, I know I'm supposed to be in this position. But, what he accomplished last year was great and very few individuals can pull that off, and I think he had a lot of people praying for him and I think it worked out well."
On whether G Mike Iupati is ok:
"Yes, he is fine."
On whether he feels the offense is ahead of schedule:
"I just think that for the first day of practice, there just are a lot of details that we have to continue to get better at, and as we move forward, as we gain momentum, as we gain confidence, we'll have a better idea. Really, once we get into the season, I'm not going to say, ‘Well, were ahead of where we need to be or we're behind,' because it's very difficult to say. Even when we're in preseason, a lot of the defenses are not playing the way they would normally play; they're not playing their normal defenses. They don't want to give it away. So, once we get into the season, I'm sure [QB] Alex Smith will talk to you in terms of how he plays."
On the progression of T Anthony Davis and Iupati:
"For us, there is a way to go about doing it. I just think, [offensive coordinator] Jimmy Raye and I sat down and talked about it. When you look at the progress of [G] David Baas, [G] Adam Snyder, [T] Alex Boone, the progress they made in the offseason - the thing I don't want to do is I don't want to just throw a couple of rookies in there and risk that they can't swim. I want to make sure that we give them an opportunity, and there are enough opportunities. They're going to work with the first group, they're going to work with the second group, they're going to get a lot of reps. Why throw them in there and say sink or swim? I just think it's very smart to allow David Baas and [Adam] Snyder to understand that you know what, if you come out here and work your tail off, we'll just have to see what happens. I don't want to give anybody anything. I want the guys to have to work for it. Crabtree was in a situation last year when he came in that it was obvious. He was head and shoulders - when he came in, looking at him, this kid is going to play He's going to play, and we'll go from there."
On whether there are any open positions other than the offensive line:
"I think it is very important for our guys to understand is that the most difficult competition is not with another guy, it's with you, yourself. I want our guys to come out and really work their tails off, as if they're going to lose their job, and just try to get better each day. That's where we have to go. If we're coming out here and we're measuring ourselves against ourselves, we're not going to be very good. Where we want to go and where we have to go, we have to begin to look further than just this team. We have to look at where we are as individuals and collectively as well and being able to look around the league and say, ‘This is where we have to go. This is where I have to go as an individual in order for this team to get better.' So, competition I don't want to say to everybody that anybody is locked at their position because things change in this game. We'll see as we go."
On what he learned from last year's training camp:
"I think that you just have to continue the process of looking at your team, looking at where they are and you have to set your training camp according to where you feel it is that you need to go and begin to backtrack and set it up that way. Hopefully the end result is where you need to be before you play that first regular season game. I think it's kind of the same approach I took last year. It was more difficult last year because there are so many unknowns. This year, there are not as many unknowns so you can be a little more solid in terms of putting a schedule in place where you feel like you can arrive by the first game."