USA TODAY Sports
49ers had coach Jim Harbaugh led the way on the second day of media availability. He was joined by Frank Gore, Bruce Miller, Alex Boone, Aldon Smith, Tarell Brown and NaVorro Bowman. We take a look at their various comments in media transcripts.
HEAD COACH JIM HARBAUGH
(on being prepared to go against the Ravens pass rush) "It's a big challenge and a big task against the Ravens pass rush. They are really good football players and have a really good scheme. They do a great job of locating those down linemen and locating those outside backers as well. They have 10 guys that are rotating in there. In their first two playoff games, I think they were in there 92 or 94 plays each of those games and they were up tempo games against Denver and New England. They have talented players to rotate in there and it's going to be a challenge task for us."
(on if a lack of defensive rotation for his defense will lead to any fatigue) "I really believe our team and defense, our down on the line guys and our front seven guys, have a very high capacity for work. They are built that way. I have seen our defense get stronger in the second half of games."
(on the evolution of the pistol offense with Colin Kaepernick) "Well it was combination of each, but mainly something that our staff believes in, quarterback driven runs. It's something that have done at Stanford and something that we did with Alex Smith and Colin, and definitely it's been more with Colin."
(on if they drafted Colin Kaepernick to run the pistol or he just fit that better) "That would be more of the order there. Colin Kaepernick is tremendously gifted at that part of the game."
(on how his parents feel this week) "I know they are excited. I have talked to them a few times and I know they are very much looking forward to the game."
(on President Barak Obama's comments about not being sure if he would let a son play football and if he agrees) "Well I have a four-month old, almost five-month old son, Jack Harbaugh, and if President Obama feels that way then there will be a little bit less competition for Jack Harbaugh when he gets old. It's still early. Like I said, Jack is only five months old. He is a really big kid. He has an enormous head. We don't have a forty on him yet, but his wingspan is plus one and as soon as he grows into that head he is going to be something. It's early, but expectations are high for young Jack."
(on running evenly to both sides) "We feel pretty good running to either side. I think those numbers may be more of a coincidence than a mindset."
(on the importance of having an outstanding tight end in football) "We have always believed in that, a tight end and a fullback. When I got my first coaching job at the University of San Diego, I called my coach Bo Schembechler and told him that I was the coach at the University of San Diego. Before he said congratulations he said, ‘Tell me you are going to have a tight end that puts his hand in that ground on every snap. Tell me that you are going to have a fullback that lines directly behind the quarterback, and a halfback in the I-formation.' ‘Yes coach we will have that.' ‘Good, congratulations on getting the job.' We have really good tight ends, there is no question about it. The importance of the tight end in the league is twofold, in the passing game and key in the running game to set the edge in our offensive formations and running the path. Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, and Garrett Celek, I am really happy with Garrett's emergence as an ascending player. Vernon is arguably the best tight end in the National Football League because he is a great pass catcher, a tremendous route runner, and he is blesses with 4.2 or 4.3 speed. Delanie Walker is kind of like our swiss army knife. He can do just about anything in terms of block, catch, run, motion the formation, change formation. We are really blessed to have those two."
(on wearing the pen around his neck during the game) "Well I take great offense that you call it a necklace. It's a whistle. It's a coaches' whistle that coaches have long worn around their neck. I believe every coach should have a whistle. It's hard to imagine going out to practice without a whistle. Then I just put a pen onto the whistle string. It's not complicated at all. If I need a pen it's just right there."
(on the importance of Aldon Smith and Justin Smith) "Aldon has had a tremendous year for us and a tremendous two years for our football team. The players and coaches have voted Aldon our most valuable player for this past year. I think that speaks volumes to the kind of impact that he has on our team. That was an internal vote. Justin Smith is one of the greatest players to ever play in the National Football League. He is the kind of player that everybody should have a Justin Smith on their team. He is a great talent, great character, great leader, and really along with Patrick Willis is the core and fabric of our leadership on defense."
(on how much Bo Schembechler as a coach is a role model to him) "Next to my dad, right on the same level as my dad is Bo Schembechler. He is one of the greatest coaches to ever coach the game. I have also studied Woody Hayes quite extensively. I believe those two men, along with my dad, in my mind, young mind and old mind today, the three coaches that I try most to emulate."
(on the impact the loss to the Giants last year had on this year and the success) "Life is full of bitter disappointments, and that was one. We were not defeated. You can kill a man but you can't defeat him, not as long as he has hope. We started from ground zero to approach a new season."
(on the importance of bringing Vic Fangio with him to San Francisco) "It's tremendous. Vic Fangio and Greg Roman, and if you look at our teams and us, our lives have gone nowhere but up since those two have joined our teams both at Stanford and the San Francisco 49ers. I really believe them to be two of the best coordinators in all of football. Greg Roman is the best of the best. He is the best coordinator in football. I really believe that. He is innovative and has changed a lot about football this season in terms of brining the trap back to football and bringing counters back to football and bringing wham plays back to football with some of the formations that we use. He has a creative mind and he is a tremendous football coach. Vic Fangio along with Greg are two of the best."
(on Jack Harbaugh winning the 2002 National Championship (Division I-AA) at Western Kentucky) "I watched that in Oakland and it was the best game on TV that I have ever watched. It was the best football game that I can ever remember watching on TV. I was just really proud of my dad and his coaches and his players."
(on what he sees in Joe Flacco) "Outstanding quarterback. Winning quarterback. Tremendous habit of success and he's left a trail of that behind him and he continues to do so. Tremendous throwing action, arm talent and a winning quarterback. I mean, he's a football player, I don't know if you can give a guy a higher complement than that. He certainly is."
(on Alex Smith's role in practice and involvement in game planning) "Really it's been said. He's prepared and been involved in the game planning, in preparations, he's prepared himself as the starter each week. That's what he's done, that's what we expect of him and that's what he has delivered. Another person really to credit in Colin's success because Alex has really helped coach Colin and has been right there by his side. Sitting there in meetings every single day. He coaches Colin now more than I do, and that speaks high of the kind of person and teammate that Alex Smith is."
(on a lack of sacks by Aldon Smith in recent games) "A couple things I think, Justin not being in there probably plays a part in that. We love having Justin in there but the player of all that has been really good, Aldon, got a game ball from our team off of his performance in the Falcons game, a number of pressures and hurries and really played the run extremely well. He recovered the fumble and did an overall thorough and very good game from Aldon and even though we don't have the sacks there, that low hanging fruit for people to see, they don't always see the things that Justin is doing or Aldon is doing game in and game out. These players are very high level to us and that's why he's probably our most valuable player."
(on temptation of New Orleans) "It's something that some of the players have addressed and we have talked about very little. We trust our team. I saw that some people commented on the fact that our team wasn't taking pictures or video cameras when they were coming off the plane last night. That was not addressed by anything, no media, nobody talked about that. That was something that our team didn't do for some reason. Suffice it to say, we just trust our team."
RUNNING BACK FRANK GORE
(on what he thinks about Ray Lewis) "Ray is a great player. He's been doing it for a long time. He's the best at the business. I love him. He's like a brother (to me). We come from the same school."
(on whether he knew Ray Lewis got his first NFL sack against Jim Harbaugh) "I saw it on ESPN. I didn't know it, but I saw it."
(on what he remembers about last year's NFC Championship Game) "We didn't finish. The Giants won the game. It was tough. It was real tough. I had a chance to go to the Pro Bowl and I couldn't even go because I was so hurt. Knowing that we were the better team, but we didn't finish. They won and they moved on."
(on how the 49ers carried last year's NFC Championship loss into this season) "We set our goals. Our main goal was to get the NFC West, then get the NFC and then the Super Bowl. Once we got in the Super Bowl it was different, real different. Last year we were kind of happy about beating New Orleans. This year, we beat Green Bay, but we were like, ‘Cool, let's go get the next one.' It's just different. Our mindset was totally different this year than last year."
(on what impresses him about Colin Kaepernick) "What impresses me is that he is a young guy, who started half of the season. When things go wrong he stays calm. Defenses just don't know what they're going to get from him. He can run, throw, block. He can do whatever."
(on whether they are comfortable because they played in the Superdome this season) "It doesn't matter. It could've been anywhere. We still have to play."
(on the biggest difference with the team this year compared to a year ago) "This year everyone knew that we had a good team. So we knew it was going to be tough and it was tough. We knew, in the locker room, that we have to be ready every week."
(on how muscle activation therapy has helped him) "It has helped me a lot. Sometimes, after games, it usually takes me two-to-three days to get the soreness out. I go to (a specialist). I see him that Monday and he gets my muscles reenergized. I could be feeling real good that Wednesday and ready to go by Friday. I could play the game that Friday. He's been doing a great job with me. I'm happy that he came in my life at this stage in my career. He helped me a lot."
(on the identity of the 49ers) "(We are) physical and tough. It's hard to break us. We're going to fight to the end. We have a great team."
(on the importance of Vernon Davis) "Just being on the field, Vernon is a threat. The guy's so fast and strong. A lot of defenses can't do their regular stuff because they have to key in on Vernon. Just him being on the field helps us out a whole lot."
(on how important the tight end position has become) "It's real big. A tight end who can catch and also have speed - you can't put a linebacker on him. You'll have to bring a safety in or a cornerback to cover him and we can run the ball."
(on the impact of Randy Moss) "Just being there for the younger guys and helping (Michael) Crabtree and A.J. (Jenkins) and helping Ted (Ginn, Jr.) again, just being a pro. He made big plays this year. When his number is called, he shows up. That's all we need from him."
(on his mother) "My mother means everything to me. She was a tough woman. She raised me and my brother and my sister. That was a lot of weight. I love her. She means everything. (This game is) for her."
(on the difference between Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick) "Kap (Kaepernick) is probably a little bit more athletic and can run more than Alex. They both are good quarterbacks. We won with Alex. We're winning with Kaepernick. Coach (Harbaugh) made the decision to go with Kap, that's who we're rolling with."
(on whether Aldon Smith is starting to wear down from being an every down player) "No. When you watch film you see guys coming out to chip him. It's not affecting him at all."
(on whether it was difficult losing a lot of games at the beginning of his career) "It was real tough. It was tough coming to work. Especially for me, coming from a winning program in college. I wasn't ever used to losing. I used to take it hard. I'm glad that Coach Harbaugh and his coaching staff came at the right time and we've done good things."
(on what he remembers from previous losing seasons) "Some guys, who are not here anymore, were like ‘Whatever.' I wasn't used to that. If we lost a game in Miami it was like our season was over. I'm just happy with our coaching style and who we have now. It's changed everything."
(on the difference in attitude from a losing season to a winning season) "I love it. You can get up and walk around with your head up. Everybody loves you in the city. You want to practice. Our goal is to get here (the Super Bowl) and we're here."
(on whether he ever wanted out of the 49ers) "No, I didn't. I knew what type of guys we have in the locker room. We had the Patricks (Willis). We had the Vernons (Davis). We had the Justins (Smith). I knew we had players. We just didn't have the right people to lead us and now we do."
(on whether he wondered if this time would ever come) "I felt as long as we stayed together (we would make it to the Super Bowl).
(on whether there is a great responsibility playing for a franchise with a rich Super Bowl history) "No, it's not pressure at all. We're going to do our best as a team to win. We want to win. We just have to go out there and do what we did all year, being the 49ers."
(on the difference in the 49ers) "We do so many things now. If it's not with me, it's with (Michael) Crabtree. If it's not with Crab it's with LaMichael (James) or Vernon (Davis) or Delanie (Walker). It's just different."
(on is injury history) "It's tough. My second knee injury. I thought football wasn't for me. My coach, we sat down and talked. He really wanted me to keep working. He wanted me to get an opportunity to play in the NFL."
(on Aldon Smith being named the team MVP) "He deserved it. Last year he had 14 sacks. This year, everyone was questioning whether he could be an every-down linebacker, and he showed it. He is one of the best at the position. He had a great year."
(on what it means to have depth at the running back position) "It keeps me fresh. I love it. Earlier, in my career, I probably wouldn't like it, but now, getting ready for the fourth quarter and the defense is probably wearing down and I'm fresh; and I get going."
GUARD/TACKLE ALEX BOONE
(on quarterback Alex Smith being a great teammate) "That could have gone sideways in a hurry, absolutely. I think a lot of people forget how great of a teammate that is. I applaud him every day for making Colin (Kaepernick) better and teaching him and still practicing as hard as he does. That's a tough situation. I love Alex to death. He's like a brother to me. He handled it well."
(on why Alex Smith continued to be a good teammate after Kaepernick was named starting quarterback) "That's not who he is. He's not that kind of a guy. He would never want a distraction to separate this team. I think he saw where we were going and to divide that team would be a horrible thing."
(on Jonathan Goodwin) "He's like the dad of the offensive line. He takes care of everybody. We're all a bunch of goof balls, and then there's Jon, he's so serious and calm all the time. Jon has played in so many high pressure situations that he understands what this game means. To have him out there is a big deal for us."
(on Kaepernick's influence on opening up the run game) "It's been huge. You line up in that pistol and you never know which way it's going. Even when he's throwing the ball, something breaks down and he takes off running. Frank (Gore) gets the ball and he's pounding the ball. It just exploits the defense in so many different ways."
(on if he notices that the defense plays differently with Kaepernick at quarterback) "Oh yeah. Absolutely."
(on if it's easier on the offensive line with Kaepernick at quarterback) "Sometimes. Sometimes not, but that's just part of the offensive line to have fun and just get physical. A lot of it has to do with the read game. That will change up the defense and then the guys will kind of start to read us and we can come off the ball more and it just changes the game a little bit."
(on President Barack Obama saying he wouldn't let his son play football) "I'd let my kid play, absolutely. It's a physical sport nonetheless. You grow up knowing it's physical and every year it gets different. It takes a different kind of guy to play this game, I think. There are going to be injuries, and there are going to be problems. We're looking to try to correct them."
(on making changes to football to help make it safer) "I don't understand how you do that. I've just never understood how you change the game when you've got guys who are getting bigger, faster, stronger every year. The technology and the equipment just has to keep going and going."
(on if he'd be concerned letting his son play football) "No, no. Not at all. If he wants to play, he can play. He's his own man. With little kids, you don't have to really worry about them that much, but as you get older, you have to learn how to play the game a little better. I think the NFL is trying to do a great job with that right now trying to teach the little kids to understand. It's just football. It's going to be physical."
(on if the Ravens are a trash talking team) "Most teams don't really talk that much, but I've heard stories about these guys talking a lot. Guys have told me not to get into it with them. We're not going out there to get into a yelling match. Just go out there and play football."
(on the how physical the Ravens defense is) "I watched the game last year and just noticed how physical it was. Anytime you watch this defense, you know they're going to be a physical defense. That's what they're known for. It's going to be one of those full day suckers. You just have to be ready for it. You have to pack a lunch, and you have to know it's going to be 60 minutes all out."
(on if the read option offense changes the blocking technique) "Different angles. It changes in the sense that we're known as being a power offense, so it changes that aspect of it."
(on offensive coordinator Greg Roman's offense being considered Old School) "Absolutely. When we call traps and stuff, I think, ‘Man, when was the last time you ran a trap? High school or something?' You never really run them in college. I think that's what makes G-Ro so great. He understands football to another level. He understands when things will work or when things are good and when we have to start backing off on this or start hitting this. That's what makes him the best offensive coordinator."
(on what makes a trap unique in the NFL) "It's so hard to trap a guy in the NFL because they're so much more aware in the NFL. They understand that if I'm not being blocked, somebody is going to come hit me somewhere, so you really have to know when you're ready to run the trap. Because if you don't, you're just going to kill the play, and that's not what you want. G-Ro is on top of it all the time."
(on if he was surprised at how well Kaepernick played in his first game) "I'll tell you this, I was a little surprised until he came in the huddle and said, ‘We're going in right now. Let's do this.' I think everyone was like, ‘OK, let's do this.' No questions asked. He went out and had a phenomenal game and has been taking steps every week."
(on the distractions in New Orleans) "Just staying in the hotel. Coach said it before. We're here on a business trip. Randy (Moss) even said it. We're here on business. We're not here to party. We're not here to have fun. We're here to work, and when you're done, you can do whatever you want."
(on being down 17 points to Atlanta in the NFC Championship game) "We went in at halftime and everyone said, ‘OK, let's not panic. Let's not freak out. Let's just be who we are, and let's get back to football. Defense, you stop them. We're going to go out and drive the ball.' I think that's the one thing about this team is we have kind of grown to have a confidence about us and everybody understands it. We can put points up. We just have to be calm. Things aren't always going to go our way. That's football, but the key is not freaking out on the sidelines, not getting too upset, not worrying about anything. I think this team did a great job of that."
(on when Moss talked to the team) "Earlier this week. He made some great comments. To have a guy like that on this team is huge. He said some things that were totally right. We're here for business. We're not here to play. We're not here to have fun. We're not here to go out."
(on if he's surprised Kaepernick has stayed as calm as he has) "No, I'm not surprised at all. I've never seen that kid break a sweat. Have you? I've never seen him get rattled. He threw an interception the first series in the Packers game. He came over to the sideline, kind of looked down for a second and was, like ‘Alright, let's go.' I was like, ‘OK, if you say we're going, we're going.' That's what I love about him. He's always so confident, so in the moment, never gets high-jacked, never out of it. That's what makes him such a great quarterback."
(on if he was aware of the San Francisco 49ers being 5-0 in the Super Bowl) "I am now. Thanks for that. I appreciate that. We know that we're 5-0 in the Super Bowl. Those were those teams, and this is our team. And we're going to try to make it 6-0 by giving it our best shot."
(on practicing against defensive tackle Justin Smith) "An eye opener. That guy is unbelievable. That guy will rip you apart. He'll do it again over and over. I feel like I've grown so much in this league by understanding football through his eyes. He tells me all the time, ‘Do this. Don't do this. Don't ever do this no matter what anybody says, and if they pay you don't do it either.' He's a great mentor, a great friend, and getting a year under playing against him has made everything else slow down."
(on what Smith has told him never to do) "He always says don't ever do the same thing the whole game. Don't ever short step anybody the entire game. Don't ever step back on them. Everything you do has to do with changing it up. They have to be thinking just as much as you are. The less they think, the more you get affected by it, and it's helped me tremendously."
(on if they still have a lot of work to do this week) "We went over something. We went outside, got a nice little jog in, sweat in. For the most part, every day you're working. You're always trying to build on more and more and what the game plan is and what their defense is going to do. This week will be very key for us - everyone focusing in, dialing in. There are a lot of distractions out there. I think this team is up for the challenge."
LINEBACKER NAVORRO BOWMAN
(on if he believes this could be one of the most physical Super Bowls ever played) "I don't know about ever, but I think it'll be a pretty physical matchup. Those guys definitely demonstrate physicality, and I would like to think that we do, too. So, I'm excited about the matchup and I'm really looking forward to it."
(on if he has seen many teams that can match their physicality) "From a coach's mindset, I don't think so. They like to say that we're a very physical team, and we just like to go out there and demonstrate it. It's the team's job to play the way that they want to play. We just like to go out there and set the tone early. I think that gives us the best chance to win the game."
(on if he wondered why he wasn't drafted until the third round) "Of course. I've been playing this game exceptionally well, just doing the things that it's taken to get to this level. But, when things like that happen, you have to overcome it. You have to put it behind you and deal with the situation that you're in, and that's pretty much what I did. Everything has worked out for me."
(on if he believes teams were hesitant to draft him because of issues in college) "I don't know. I was young, living my life. Now, I've learned from those mistakes and enjoying my life now. I'm happy about everything that's come my way."
(on linebacker Aldon Smith's play this season and dealing with issues) "We're human, man. We're not perfect. We're going to make mistakes, just as you are. That's pretty much what me, him, any other guy has been going through. But, when it comes to football, it's something that we like to do. It's something that frees us up. We enjoy doing it, we enjoy competing, we enjoy being around each other. Aldon's just done a great job of answering every bell. Even when Parys (Haralson) went down, guys didn't know how well he would play in the run game. He stepped up to the task and been playing the way that we expect him to play."
(on if he is surprised by how well Aldon Smith has played as a starter) "Not surprised at all. He was able to show us what he can do his first year. So, I was excited about it, actually, and glad to see him come out on top."
(on if the first time he believed he could play at a high level was when he filled in for linebacker Patrick Willis in his rookie season) "I always knew I could play, but the first time for me to show it was against Arizona my rookie year. Like I said, that's what you do: you have to take advantage of your opportunities and that's what I did."
(on if he believes the linebackers will dictate the flow of Sunday's game) "Every game starts with us as linebackers, and we expect it to be like that. We don't have a problem with it. Our work ethic speaks for itself. Our commitment to our team, to the game, to the preparation for the game speaks for itself. We like to say it starts with us every single game."
(on how defensive coordinator Vic Fangio calls the game and how he interacts with them) "Vic's in his own world up there. We're out there doing what our commander says. Not really going to talk about the scheme or anything, but Vic does a great job with calling the game in a way that we feel comfortable and that he feels comfortable. It's working out for us."
(on the influence linebacker Patrick Willis has on him) "Me and Pat's relationship is very brotherly-like. We do pretty much any and everything together. Whether we have any problems or whether it's something good, we're happy for each other's success. We enjoy playing with each other. I think we both push each other every single day. We don't get complacent with anything that we receive or accomplish. We always are just trying to do better and make sure we can make our team better."
(on if Patrick Willis is humble) "A humble guy Pat is. Just a guy who's always thinking about the next person. He actually surprised us -- I think it was last week -- with a gift, just because. That's just the type of guy Pat is. Just demonstrates leadership skills and a great friend, and would do anything for you. I'm just glad to be a part of his team."
(on the Super Bowl distractions) "That's a hassle, I'm going to be honest. Just having people chase you down when you're just trying to go grab a bite to eat, or things like that. It comes with the game, it comes with the success, but if we could put a schedule or something together, we'll handle that and then we go out and enjoy our days. It's something that we just have to deal with, I guess."
(on if he has thought about his late father and high school coach this week) "Yeah, I think about them every single step of this way. From me coming from where I come from, those two really inspire me, had a lot to do with where I'm at, and I wish that they can see me right now, see me shining, see me still working and remaining the person I am. I still have one more thing to do, and that's to win the Super Bowl. It'll be for those two men."
(on what made Aldon Smith the team MVP) "He's always doing his job. I think that's pretty much an MVP: always doing his job, you don't really have to say too much to him, and he's always producing. When we need a big play, he's always able to produce that, and I think he's very worthy of that award."
(on if Aldon Smith's defense in the run game was his biggest improvement this season) "Yes, I think so. I think playing a full, 60-minute game in this league is very tough to do. His first year, he wasn't an every-down guy, and for him to take on that challenge this year, run with it and have the success that he's having just shows the type of guy he is. He definitely proved himself this year."
(on if he can appreciate the 49ers teams of the 80's and 90's) "Yes, I can appreciate what they did. I think it just puts those teams in another category. It's an elite category. We have a chance to be placed in that category and we don't want to let that opportunity slip away."
(on how Joe Flacco is different from other quarterbacks that he has seen) "I think he executes their game plan very well. He doesn't let the game get out of control. I think he's a very good manageable quarterback and understands what his coaches are trying to get accomplished on offense, and understands the matchups that they're trying to get. He's definitely, I think, earned the respect of being at the top, doing the things that he's been doing throughout this season. I think he's in the ‘elite quarterback' conversation."
(on Jim Harbaugh's personality) "Harbaugh is a down-to-earth guy. He wants to win. I think you would get that if you were around him as much as we are. You understand that he wants to win. He wants nothing but the best for the team. Even if some guys may disagree with some of the things that he does, it always comes together at the end and works out for us."
(on if Harbaugh takes the time to get to know his players personally) "Always. Harbaugh's always around, available whenever you need him. Always laughing, joking. Whatever it is, Harbaugh does it. It's really not a cliché or anything. He's actually the guy that you see and talk to every day."
(on the challenges that Ray Rice presents) "He's their go-to guy. They get the ball to him just the same amount as they get their receivers the ball. In the passing games, he's a threat just as well in the running game. We're going to have to be on our ‘A game' and be prepared for Ray also."
(on how their linebackers have been so successful) "Preparation, work. We do this. We're football players. Guys who want to compete, guys who want to make the next big play. On some defenses, you have one or two playmakers, one or two guys who you know are trying to make a play. On our defense, I think we have 11 guys out there that are trying to make a play, that are trying to get the crowd into it, try to make sure that we're communicating well. Just do all the things well, and I think that's what makes us a great defense."
FULLBACK BRUCE MILLER
(on how Head Coach Jim Harbaugh inspires him to play well) "He inspires me, but other guys do it too. For guys like Frank (Gore), when you see the way they practice you don't have a choice but to block as hard as you can for them. It's much more of a respect thing for them."
(on how difficult it is to play offense depending on what things Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman asks him to do) "I get to do a lot of different things because I'm not just running downhill and hitting guys; I get to block and get in different schemes. I love this offense. I think we all take pride in being intelligent football players, so the more they can give us the more we can do, so we take pride in that."
(on whether or not he would let his son play football, if he had a son) "We're playing football. I started really young so I'd like to get him started really young and get him going."
(on if the reports about head collisions dissuades him from letting his son play football, if he had a son) "I think it's actually getting better with the way trainers are dealing with it. It can only get better with the advancements in technology."
(on how LaMichael James performed this season and what it was like to be part of the touchdown against Atlanta) "He's been great to come in and do the things he's done. The way he runs the football for us has been a huge lift on our offense with him being as explosive as he is."
(on when he found out that he would no longer be a defensive player and be a fullback instead) "It was kind of up in the air for a while and we kind of flipped sides during training camp. I was playing a little bit of defense and a little bit of offense and I think they just went with whichever one they thought I fit best in, which was fullback."
(on his description of Coach Jim Harbaugh's personality) "He's just a fanatic about the game. He loves football, loves coaching and loves all his players so he gives everything he has as a coach."
(on what it feels like to come back to the same venue where he won earlier this season) "I'm excited about it. I love playing on the turf and playing in the dome, but hopefully we'll have a few more fans this time."
(on how Frank Gore has inspired him) "His work ethic is inspirational. When you see him in the facility, the weight room and the practice field- everyone knows he's a good football player on Sunday- but his work ethic the other times is what we see. He pushes everyone to be a better football player."
(on President Obama saying the game of football has gotten too violent) "It is a violent game, but not too violent. Guys are big and explosive players so the game is violent, but I don't know about too violent. I think they are taking caution to be careful and concerned for the players safety and taking that into account more."
(on switching to Colin Kaepernick at quarterback and if that opens things up for him) "I don't know if it's opened up any more than it was before. I think Colin has opened the offense up with his legs a whole lot more when we do our option plays, so that's a switch. I think Frank runs the football the same way no matter what play."
(on if the 49ers and the Ravens are two of the most physical teams in the league) "I think we like to think that we're a physical team, but I guess on Sunday we will see."
(on the way Alex Smith was able to handle his emotion) "He's just a great team player. He's a professional with the way he's handled this. He's been nothing but encouraging for our team and for Colin."
(on whether he was nervous going into the Chicago game to see how Colin Kaepernick would play) "I don't think I was unsure. I was more excited for him to show what he could do. I know that around our facility guys knew what he could do and had confidence in knowing he could make plays for us, which is what he showed them."
(on what Colin Kaepernick is like outside of the game as well as during the game) "He's definitely more reserved off the field. I actually lived with Colin for a little bit and he's very to himself, but when he gets in between the lines he definitely gets fired up. He's a fiery leader for our football team."
(on how he made the switch from defense to offense) "I think the main difference is guys are a little bit closer. They're two to three yards away from each other, and it's different when you have to run eight to 10 yards to make contact with somebody. I'm still learning and working."
(on how exciting it is for Colin Kaepernick to develop into a player that people are paying attention to) "I'm happy for him that he's been able to show his talents. In practice you are able to see his physical talents that he has but it's great for him to just to go out and show that in the Super Bowl."
(on the winning culture Coach Jim Harbaugh has brought) "From day one, he just coaches football and expects his players to come out and practice and lift weights every day. He expects us to prepare during the week, and guys take those things seriously, which is why I think we're sitting here now."
(on how he feels about his position as a fullback being an endangered species in the league) "I think the fullback position in our offense is very important and I'm not even the only one that plays it on our team. We do a lot in the position because a lot of guys move around."
(on how important the 49ers history is and what kind of legacy they are able to leave this year) "It's huge and you get the feeling when you're walking around in the city and fans come up to you and they're so excited. They want us to bring this winning tradition back to San Francisco. It's exciting, and we want to do that for them."
(on if this game is more special by playing against someone like Ray Lewis) "Yeah, he and a lot of their guys are high class defenders in the NFL who have played for a long time. Last time we played them I actually didn't get to play in the game because I was out, so this is the first time I get to play the Ravens and I'm excited."
(on how strict curfew will be since they are in New Orleans so close to Bourbon Street) "We have curfew put in place every night this week starting tonight."
(on his favorite Super Bowl memory) "I am a big Falcons fan so watching them play the Broncos was pretty cool. Also, the one with the Rams and Titans was great, but this will definitely be the best one."
(on how it feels to finally be at the Super Bowl) "It is so special because it's such a long season where you put in so much work. When you finally get to the post-season you never know what is going to happen. To make it through the games and to this point, it is finally starting to sink in. When we practiced last week at the facility we were even still shocked coming off the win in Atlanta, so it's really starting to set in that we are at the Super Bowl."
LINEBACKER ALDON SMITH
(on why being named team MVP means so much to him) "A lot because you have a lot of guys on this team who are all-stars, who have made Pro Bowls consecutively. You have Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, I can go on. I come in my second year and I get the MVP, it means a lot."
(on how he found out he was named team MVP) "We were all in a meeting together as a team. (Head) Coach (Jim) Harbaugh got up and just went out there and said it."
(on his relationship with Justin Smith) "Other than our last names being Smith (and) us going to Missouri, from the time I stepped into the NFL, he was the guy who helped me out with everything. I worked out with him during the (2011)-lockout and he helped me a lot just coming in my rookie year. Then on the field, we just work well with each other. We feed off each other. We have a rhythm that we just developed together."
(on why he has gotten less sacks recently) "A lot more guys coming to block me. I'm getting double-teamed a lot, triple-teamed at times, and then the quarterbacks are getting the ball out fast. Another thing that's really cool about that is if I'm not making a play, a lot of times I'm getting double-teamed a sack comes from somebody else. I might not get it, but at the end of the day the stats still say it's a sack."
(on if he agrees that San Francisco seems to get stronger in the second half) "I do agree with that. We really work hard. We lift a lot. We take good care of ourselves and I think that all just transitions on. We're not just a team that's good in the first half; we play four quarters of good football."
(on if he was surprised he was named team MVP) "Yes, a little bit. Like I said, there are a lot of guys that are good (and) a lot of guys that could have gotten that award. It was an honor."
(on the quality of linebackers playing in the Super Bowl) "You could say (that) it's the linebacker bowl, right? There are a lot of guys that can play. You have a lot of guys. You have Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, me, Ray Lewis, (and) Terrell Suggs. There's going to be a lot of talent out there. That's where we are."
(on the demeanor of Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio) "Vic is a calm guy. He's not one of those coaches that's yelling at you and doing a lot of vocal. He gets the message across and everybody understands it. We take it and go with it."
(on if he talked to Michael Strahan while he was chasing his sack record) "No, I actually talked to him before the Atlanta game on the field. We joked around about it. He was kind of giving me a hard time about not getting it. That's about it."
(on Head Coach Jim Harbaugh saying every team needs an Aldon Smith on it) "That's an honor. Coming from Coach Harbaugh, that means a lot. It's an honor."
(on President Obama's comments on the safety of football) "I think the game has been like it always has. It's a physical game. Everybody plays hard. Guys get hit sometimes and that's what we all know coming into the game. We all signed up for it. It's not like we signed up and thought we were going to play tennis. We came out. We're playing football."
(on whether the team has talked about the potential distractions of New Orleans) "Really be responsible. We know what our goal is. Our goal is to come in here and win the game, not just to come down here and be at the Super Bowl. We're coming down here to win the game. We all have that goal, so everybody is just being responsible and doing the right thing."
(on losing in the NFC Championship last season) "We were so close last year. We were so close. We all know how we felt and we didn't want that feeling again this year. I think every time we were all together, whether it was for our workouts, just our meetings or just hanging out, we all knew that if we ever got back to this situation, it was not going to end up like that. We want to be here."
(on how Justin Smith helps him on the field) "It's attention. He's a guy that draws a lot of attention. He's a great player and a Pro Bowl guy. With that, if they're doubling him, they might single me up. Regardless, we're all getting a lot of attention and one of us will be free or singled up and we'll take advantage of it."
(on the advantage of the two weeks between the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl) "I think the advantage is that you get your body healthy. You get your legs back. The only disadvantage would maybe be the little bit of momentum that kind of gets lost."
(on the extra attentions he has gotten from opposing offenses) "I really just go out and play. I don't try to think too much about what they're doing. I have to play my game. I have to do what I do well to be successful, so my goal is to just go out there and play."
(on what Randy Moss said to the team before they left) "Everybody respects Randy Moss. Everybody respects his word and what he's done on the field. He really just kind of kept it simple. We all know our goal. We all know what we really want, so just make the right decisions and be ready to play on Sunday."
(on what was being said after falling behind by 17 against Atlanta in the NFC Championship) "Not a lot was being said. More so, we all believed in each other. We all knew what our goal was and we all had that understanding that we wanted to come out of there with a win. I think that's one of the things that propelled us to the win - nobody panicked, nobody second-guessed each other. We just went out there and put four quarters together."
(on whether playing at the Superdome earlier this season gives the 49ers an advantage) "We've been here before. I don't think that really matters at all. It's a game. Every game is different, so we'll see."
(on the process of getting a sack) "You beat the guy in front of you. Then you go and make the big play. Everybody cheers and you feel good."
(on Head Coach Jim Harbaugh) "He's a unique guy. He still thinks he's a player. He's really intense. I don't know John that much, but I don't know if he's as intense as his brother."
(on Coach Fangio and his dry sense of humor) "Vic is a really cool guy. He's just cool and he doesn't say a lot. You're right on his sense of humor. He makes jokes and they're not really that funny. He thinks they're funny, but nobody laughs. He gets his message across."
(on how Coach Harbaugh acts like a player) "You catch him running across the field, throwing the ball and doing little things like he's still playing. He's a big kid out there."
(on who the team looks up to as leaders) "I think we all lead. I think there are a couple guys that have been playing a long time that you can look up to like Justin (Smith) and (Patrick) Willis, but there are a lot of guys. Everybody is a leader and that's what makes us really good."
CORNERBACK TARELL BROWN
(on if the Ravens are a chatty team in regards to motivating one another) "No, not really. I think that's just the way they motivate their team and everybody feeds off that. They do a great job of communicating with their team and that's what helps them. So, whatever works for them, that's good."
(on if the 49ers practice the same type of motivation) "No, not really. I think everybody is accountable for themselves. If they have something to say, they'll say something, but for the most part we all motivate ourselves and just go out and perform."
(on if there was a lot of trash talking last time they played Baltimore) "It's always trash talking on the football field. Everybody's competitive. Everybody wants to go out there and put their best foot forward and everybody wants to win. So, it's always going to be trash talk, but nothing crazy."
(on Aldon Smith and why he deserves team MVP) "His play speaks for itself. He's been dominant every time he's in there. He's been dominant coming off the edge. He's been dominant stopping the run, dominant rushing the passer. So he's been doing a lot of great things that's helped our team win a lot of games. I definitely think he's up there for the MVP as well."
(on Aldon Smith struggling to get sacks as of late and what he has seen him doing over the last couple of weeks) "He's doing a great job still. A lot of guys are chipping him. A lot of guys are squeezing to him. A lot of guys are really pretty much double teaming him, so that happens. Other guys are getting free. Other guys are making plays and that's the thing about football. We're a very unselfish team and that's what we need, guys that can come out and demand double teams and get other guys free as well."
(on what it has been like watching San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick develop and if it has been fun to see) "Just to watch him grow as a player, I think going against him every day when he was a backup, we saw the potential. We saw the athleticism. We saw the arm strength. So for him to come out and do the things that he is doing is special and he's making those game-changing plays and things that we need."
(on what has made the biggest difference in Kapernick's development) "Poise. I think it's poise and his knowledge of the game. He's coming along very quickly. A lot of guys don't pick up the game as well so fast at a young age and he's doing a great job doing it."
(on if he was surprised that Donte Whitner was picked up so late during free agency considering what he brings to the defense) "It definitely surprises me just from him being a dominant player throughout his career, him coming in as a 20-year old, starting almost every game for the Bills, and coming to us and doing the same thing. His force has definitely been recognized and he got that this year getting the opportunity to go to the Pro Bowl as well."
(on Donte Whitner learning the defense overnight) "It was less than overnight to be honest with you. I think, the first time I had the opportunity, the first time we had the opportunity just to kind of chat, he picked the defense up just like that. I thought, me personally, I felt like he had ran the same defense before. He was making all the calls, all the checks. It was surprising to me, but you can tell the potential that he had."
(on if he learned a lot from playing the Ravens last year on Thanksgiving) "Well, you can and you can't because there's different coordinators, different time of the year. They were more of a run-based team at that time. Now they're a lot more balanced. They're doing a lot more of stretching the field as well this year, the past couple of games as well. (Anquan) Boldin is a strong receiver. He's been dominate throughout his career. Played against him numerous times, with Arizona as well. So, they're definitely a great challenge."
(on his favorite Super Bowl moment growing up) "Not just moment, I've always relayed back to the Cowboys-Bills Super Bowl just because being a Dallas native. That was always big for me. So just watching them and watching them compete."
(on San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh being an old school type of coach) "He believes more is more, practice what you preach. Everyday let's work to get better. It's no days off. We have no slow-paced walk-throughs. Everything is up-tempo. Even in the film room, everything is up-tempo and everything is to the T. That's the great thing about coach. We understand what he expects, and he's one way all the time."
(on his thoughts on President Barack Obama's comments regarding health and playing football) "It's definitely my life. It's something I've been doing for a nice amount of years. It's definitely a dangerous sport, but at the end of the day the league is doing a great job of putting in place things to help players, help players with safety as far as the hits and with helmets and different things like that. I can understand where President Obama is coming from with saying that, but at the same time the league is doing a great job of preventing a lot of those things."
(on what he would say to President Obama regarding the league's efforts to balance safety and the way the game is played) "It's a physical game. If you're passionate about something that you do and you teach it the right way - tackling, keeping your head up, form tackling, making sure you don't spear people, no crowning of the helmet - those things will prevent a lot of injuries as well."
(on San Francisco being a good tackling team and what is the reason for that) "We practice that every day. It's an everyday thing. We do open-field tackling, working on breaking down form tackling, getting your hands on guys, tackling guys in space. So, that really helps us when the game time comes around and makes the job a lot easier. But, when guys are swarming to the football if guys do end up missing tackles, there's somebody else that can back you up and come up with it."
(on the most interesting thing he's seen since he's been in New Orleans) "Just a lot of people with beads hanging out and enjoying themselves. It's a great city, a great place to hold the Super Bowl. We're fortunate to be here and we really appreciate the hospitality and the things that they're doing for us here in New Orleans."
(on bridging the gap between the team's past and forming its own identity) "It's a new team, new era, new time. Those guys did an amazing job of setting the standard here with the 49ers and we're just trying to get it back to where it's supposed to be. This is a great organization. Anytime you get to play for this organization you want to put it at the top. You want to leave a lasting legacy here. So, for this team we just want to get it back to where it was and make sure the tradition upholds."
(on what he sees from Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense) "Balance, very explosive offense when they want to be. (Baltimore running back) Ray Rice runs the ball very hard. They have a great offensive line. They do a great job of getting a lot penetration on D-linemen. Flacco can make every throw, a strong quarterback and the receivers are physical guys. They can stretch the field downfield. They make all the catches, and Flacco can make all the throws. So, it will definitely be a challenge for us. We've played against a lot of great quarterbacks throughout the years, these past two years being under Coach (Jim) Harbaugh, but this guy here, he's a great quarterback as well."
(on if facing elite quarterbacks over the years has prepared them to face any great quarterback) "Most definitely. Our back has always been against the wall. We like it like that, us as a team and us as a defense. We understand that it's going to come down to us, and if we want to win the game we have to make plays, and for us to make plays we have to get turnovers, and we have to go out there and do that. For us, we have to be physical. We have to play 49er football and go out and play our game and have the least amount of errors and mistakes in this game because a lot teams capitalize on those things through the postseason."