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San Francisco 49ers June 2010 OTAs: Coach Singletary and Alex Smith speak

The 49ers began their second of four sets of OTAs today, and thanks to Ninjames for keeping up with the tweeting about it. In the meantime, with practice over for the day, Coach Singletary and Alex Smith both spoke briefly with the media after practice.

The big news, as far as I'm concerned, is that Patrick Willis is back on the field and practicing. There was not a concern that he'd be out too long, but it's always good to get one of your best players back on the field and working with his teammates.

Coach Singletary did speak specifically about a training camp battle I'm excited to watch, that between Glen Coffee and Anthony Dixon:

On how he would assess RB Glen Coffee with RB Frank Gore absent:

"Glen is a work in progress. He continues to work and do the things that he needs to do. He's competing. He's competing with [RB] Anthony Dixon and trying to be that guy when Frank comes out, that guy that goes in. It will be interesting to see the progression of both he and Anthony Dixon."

I've posted Singletary and Smith's transcripts. And for those curious, the remaining dates for OTAs are:

June 8
June 10-11
June 14-16

The team will wrap up offseason training with a mandatory mini-camp June 17-19. I'm wondering whether we'll see Manny Lawson at that practice.

Head Coach Mike Singletary
Post-Practice - June 7, 2010
San Francisco 49ers

Opening Statement:

"Good afternoon. I guess the first thing that I want to say is in concerning [former UCLA basketball coach] John Wooden yesterday. I guess news has continued, I'm not sure which day it happened whether it was Thursday, Wednesday, I'm not sure. He's a man to me, in this field of coaching, that deserves all of the credit in the world. I think he did a tremendous amount of mentoring at every level. He's the kind of coach that what he did reached boundaries outside of basketball. I had a chance to meet him, visit with him, talk to him on the phone. He was very nice to me whenever I had the opportunity to meet with him. I'll forever be indebted to him for the things that he talked about."

On the time and circumstances of meeting Wooden:

"A couple of years ago we were in the same place during the offseason. He was speaking and I was there basically to help honor some of the athletes that were awarded. I think it was academics that were there. I was there and he was speaking. After he spoke I just ran down and found him and had a chance to visit with him. I had talked to him on the phone previously, just simply because I was intrigued by the amount of success he'd had. When you have that kind of success in any field, it's really a phenomenal feat. He is someone that any coach would want to follow in those kinds of footsteps."

On any advice Wooden gave him:

"What he did was give me a card that had seven things that his father taught him and carried over into coaching. Those seven things I have in my wallet at all times. Other than that, it was just whatever you do, just be yourself and don't shy away from things you believe at heart."

On whether he has the seven things memorized that Wooden gave him:

"No, I don't."

On whether his first call to Wooden was out of the blue:

"He is someone that I have always admired and wanted to meet. He's just one of many guys I've been fortunate enough to sit down with and talk with that have been generous enough to spend that time with me. He is one of those guys."

On whether he spoke with Wooden after he was hired as head coach:

"I did not speak with him after I got the job here. Everything was before I got the job."

On whether he spoke with Wooden when he was going around meeting with other people:

"Yes sir. Yes sir."

On having LB Patrick Willis back on the field:

"More than anything, it's just really good to see his attitude pick up. Pat is not a very good guy to be around when he can't do things. He just worries you do death. He just keeps asking questions, what about this or when do you think this is going to happen? So, I'm saying, ‘When are you going to get dressed? When are you going to get out of here?' Give all that information to someone else, it's just nervous energy. He hates not being with the team. That's just who he is. It's just great to have him out here. He's excited and his energy carries over to the team."

On Willis standing by him during team drills:

"You know what? I just think it's great to see him out here. It's great for the team and so it's an exciting thing and he's only going to get better."

On whether S O.J. Atogwe is being considered by the team:

"Right now, we're going forward with what we have. We're happy with the safeties that we have now and I'm just going to leave it right there."

On whether QB Nate Davis is coming along and how he is doing in the classroom:

"He's coming, not as fast as he would like, not as fast as the coaches would like, but he's coming. I think the biggest thing with Nate is to figure out how he learns and get that burning desire to whatever it takes to be out here and to get it done. I know he can do it, it's just a matter of him doing it. Time will tell."

On how much attention he is paying to the stadium vote tomorrow:

"Obviously, it's really important for all of the people that are excited about it or are thinking about it. It would be tremendous if they would get out and vote because it is important. I think it's a tremendous step for the organization, I think we all know that. Everything that Santa Clara, what the people here have done has been great. Now, it's just following through and getting out and voting. Hopefully, we'll have the opportunity to have a stadium."

On how he would chart the progress of T Anthony Davis and G Mike Iupati:

"I think every day they're making progress. I'm very thankful to have [offensive line coach] Mike Solari and [assistant offensive line coach] Ray Brown working together to help get those guys, as well as the other offensive linemen, [T Alex] Boone and some of the other young guys that we have, ready. I think the coaches are doing a tremendous job with those guys and they're responding. I think the upside is tremendous."

On Davis and Iupati getting some reps with the first-team offensive line:

"I just think the coaches are trying to get them all of the reps they can, whether it's the first team or the second team or whatever. They're just trying to get them more reps."

On how he would assess RB Glen Coffee with RB Frank Gore absent:

"Glen is a work in progress. He continues to work and do the things that he needs to do. He's competing. He's competing with [RB] Anthony Dixon and trying to be that guy when Frank comes out, that guy that goes in. It will be interesting to see the progression of both he and Anthony Dixon."

On what he will remember most about WR Isaac Bruce's career with the 49ers:

"I just remember him being the ultimate professional, what a classy human being. He is a great guy, well respected. His credibility preceded him before getting here. I just think everything he did while he was here, the professionalism, the work ethic, the candor; everything about him was what drew all of our receivers to him. Anytime you can go somewhere and you're supposed to be a great player, you're supposed to be this and that, you can go somewhere else and guys can understand why you're that and you don't have to blow your own horn or anything like that. You just live it. That's what he was. I'm very excited about him. I'm excited about the whole transaction that's taken place. He's going to retire a Ram and that's what he deserves."

On whether QB Nate Davis' learning disability has anything to do with him learning the offense:

"I'm sure that has something to do with it. I think it's a continuing progression in terms of the coaches, the doctors, Nate, everybody involved continuing to work as hard as they can to get him to where he needs to be."

On whether he has talked with Raiders head coach Tom Cable about practicing together this summer again:

"No, have not."

On whether that is because there is a regular season matchup between the teams:

"I just think this year we're going to stay among ourselves and continue to get better. Everything we need to do, just do it amongst ourselves."

On QB Alex Smith's performance in the first eight OTA practices:

"The most amazing thing to me about that whole deal with Alex is you take a guy like [Colts QB] Peyton Manning, who's had the same offensive coordinator for 10 years. You take a guy like Alex, who's never had that. The only question to ask is what if? You have a ‘what if' there. To me, going forward, that ‘what if' will begin to answer itself. I'm excited about what Alex is doing. I'm excited about his leadership. I'm excited about how he's directing traffic and doing all of the things that we hoped he could do. I anticipate great things for him going forward."

On whether the offense as a whole has improved compared to last year:

"I think so. There's a comfort zone. Coming out and not knowing who the coordinator is, it leaves a lot of questions and it leaves a lot of uncertainty. I see a flow and I see a progression so that's only going to improve with time, so we'll see where it goes."


QB Alex Smith
Post-Practice - June 7, 2010
San Francisco 49ers

On what he would tell people about playing with WR Isaac Bruce:

"He was a truly unique person. I've never played with anybody like him and that's the truth. I think I've had the chance to play with guys that I hold in that kind of esteem and they are all pretty unique people. I think Isaac's personality, his work ethic, his approach to the game, his approach to life - I think his approach to everything he did, it wasn't just football. It wasn't just that he was a perfectionist with football. I think everything he did, he was a perfectionist about. He tried to do everything the right way. He was someone that I constantly found myself watching, trying to take mental notes. I'm sure I'll be telling my kids one day, I got the chance to play with Isaac Bruce. He's a special guy."

On how receptive Bruce was to him:

"Isaac was great. He was a little quiet at first when you first get to know him, but I got the chance to play with him for a couple of years and he was a great guy. Any question I had, anything I had on my mind, I could go talk to him and he was always great in return. I don't think there's anything specific I can think of, he was just a great guy."

On the difference from a continuity standpoint from last offseason to this offseason:

"We are just so much further ahead of the game compared to last year with everything - all the details of everything and the adjustments on the field, the speed of play. We really have the foundation set and we are able to build on it now. We don't have to start from square one, but you can obviously touch on those things and we go over them again. We really continue to go over them and we are moving on. Just being able to cover everything in so much more detail, is the big thing I'd really say. We are able to focus in on those little things because we really have the foundation in place to do that."

On whether he feels the offense has progressed to the point that he could teach it to other people:

"Yes, absolutely. I think there are some detail aspects to the run game that I might be a little hazy on, but for the most part, I feel really good about things. No question. As far as routes, protections, this offense is as a whole, I really feel really good about it."

On T Anthony Davis and G Mike Iupati getting first team reps today and whether he has any sense of them yet:

"They both seem like really good guys. I can tell. I've been where they've been. I'm just trying to do that job right now. My head is spinning a little bit right now. When you step in with the first group and you are a young guy, you are just trying to get noticed. If a play goes well, it's a good thing. You did your job and play goes on and you go to the next play. I haven't noticed a lot right now. I'm just focused on getting our reps in. I don't really pick up on whether they are in there or not with all those groups, so I think right now, for those guys, the focus really is that. Understanding their assignments I think is the biggest thing. We don't have pads on right now, but understanding their assignments and using the technique they've been taught. Getting that all down so when we do head into camp and when bullets are flying, they need to focus on winning their battles and less about thinking about what they are doing."

On the impact a new stadium vote has on a player:

"I think it brings a lot of things to the table besides playing in a nice facility. I think it does things for the organization. I think it does things for the fan base. I think it brings a level of excitement with it. Some of the things that I've noticed with organizations in places where they have new stadiums, other sports even - I just think it does bring a lot of excitement to the game, to the nation and you can get some momentum going, so there are a lot of positive things that can come with it, especially financially. One of the things stadiums can do is bring some money into certain cities, wherever they are developed."

On whether it's his or T Joe Staley and C Eric Heitmann's responsibility to get Davis and Iupati up to speed if they are confused:

"Probably both. Those guys, obviously they don't have trouble lining up. They line up in the same place every time. With things like that, if they were receivers, obviously it would fall on me with receivers not lining up in the right place. Not knowing what they are doing would fall more on me. If those guys are getting up there and are wondering about blocking schemes and this and that, I think they rely a lot more on Eric than the guy next to him."

On how many players know about the Measure J vote being tomorrow:

"I don't know how many actually know that the vote is tomorrow. I think they are all very aware that it's coming up here shortly. They all know what it's about, absolutely. It is a big deal. So, I think everybody is aware of it."

On whether he's heard how close the vote was:

"I kind of heard back and forth, different things, different polls. I heard it was 50-50 the last time I heard. Is that about right? It's cutting it pretty close. Obviously, I'll be paying attention when the results come in."