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J.T. O'Sullivan to start Friday: Let the wild speculation begin

Well then.  J.T. O'Sullivan will be getting the reps this Friday with the first team offense.  According to Mike Nolan he'll play between a quarter and a quarter and a half.  Alex Smith will then play into the beginning of the third quarter and Shaun Hill will close out the game.  Nolan emphasized this does not mean O'Sullivan is the starting quarterback.

Based on his past comments about splitting up the starts I'm not so surprised. Originally it was going to be Hill and Smith starting the first two games, but since O'Sullivan reasserted his spot in the QB competition, that idea is out the window.  It seems like O'Sullivan is in the perfect position where his extra knowledge of the offense is allowing him to put some pressure on Smith and Hill.  At the same time, the extra knowledge could hurt his chances.  The coaches figure he knows the most and thus expect more out of him.

Speaking of starters, the top of the wide receiver depth chart is a bit injury riddled and so it looks like Jason Hill and Josh Morgan will see plenty of first-team action on Friday.  According to Barrows, the top 3 receivers in terms of training camp receptions are Bryant Johnson, Josh Morgan and Jason Hill, in that order.  Since Isaac Bruce and Arnaz Battle have sat out a fair number of practices that is not exactly a stunning statistic.  At the same time, when you're meant to be a first string guy, like Johnson, it's good that he's making plays, even if it is just training camp.

EDITOR'S NOTE 7:50PM: I was poking around Sando's NFC West blog and saw something interesting.  Prior to the announcement of O'Sullivan as a starter, Sando said:

Based on what we've seen, I would expect Nolan to maintain the current order based (to some degree) on which quarterbacks are scheduled to work more with the starters late in the week. That type of allotment could favor J.T. O'Sullivan and Alex Smith in this first exhibition game. The 49ers are anxious to look at each quarterback, so the assumption is that all three will play. But the logical move would be to give O'Sullivan and Smith the longest looks against the Raiders.

So maybe that gives us a little more insight into the decision.