On what went into Aldon Smith release decision:
Again, Tom, I don't want to get into private things and all that. Just in general, we're just in a place where we have to prioritize what we need to take care of. And we've done it. Not an easy thing to do. Sat there with the general manager and the owner on the speaker and went through things like anybody would in this kind of a decision. And feel confident this is the right decision. I feel confident that this can be a good thing.
On why he wanted to go in from of the microphone to make his specific comments:
Well, again Tom, obviously, it's a tough day, and it's a tough decision. With the idea that there's a fanbase and people that care deeply, we have to get up and talk about it. But there's also a human side to it, and Trent was absolutely where he needed to be, absolutely doing the right thing. It was absolutely my role and my job to stand up there and do it.
On player reactions to him now as HC vs when he was DL coach:
I don't think that anybody would tell you that I've changed or distanced myself. I don't, again personal belief, I don't think that we build a team by distancing myself from anyone. I think to the contrary, that there's more people that I need to have personal relationships with. I think that's the challenge of my job. But I guess the word distance comes with trying to make my job easier. I think people would see it that way, because you don't want to cloud your decisions. Well, I was told a long time ago by Lionel Taylor, that the day that making the right decision on personnel and things like that, and roster reductions, the day that that becomes easy, and not gut-wrenching, you need to get out of the business.
Re-wording question about not having the time to put in same energy with 53 or 90, as opposed to 9 or 10 at position:
Right, and again, I think, OK, I hear where you're at there. It's obviously the hard thing of where I'm at. But I will tell you that I will continue to fight to have that, we talk about here, there's no I in team, but you better make sure you dot all the Is. And, to me, it still is a series of personal relationships, and I get you. It's a much more intimate situation in a room with nine guys, but I'm fighting to do the job to get to know all these guys. And do it the right way. Now obviously, here in camp with 80 or 90 guys, that's, quite frankly, impossible. But I am trying to make sure that I am in there and trying to do the best I can with it. But when it gets to the 53, I've been around a lot of teams with 53, and you can get to know people.
How many does he call by number:
You know what, the other day in our practice, I lost the names of three or four guys. I did. Two of them had just signed, and the one guy I was just destroying his name anyway. So that's just the truth.
On how tempo is going:
Well I'm hoping that shows up this weekend. It has been showing up consistently in practice. As a matter of fact, to the point of, we changed that the other day, just to check it, and we wanted to be lined up at 22 seconds. So in a position to snap the ball at 22 seconds. And I'll tell you, we were right there most of the day. We weren't perfect, but we were there most of the day.
On training camp fights, and if it is just a hot topic this year:
That would actually be a question I pose to you guys because I'm not sure where that's coming from. I mean, we're out there and Tom you would know this, you're in a training camp setting, you're living, sleeping, eating, going to the bathroom, taking showers with the same people every day. They start to rub you a little bit raw. Then you gotta get out on the field, and now we're going to get into a collision spot. And we're banging each other and fighting for a job. So, emotions are raw. I've been on teams, I had to talk about this the other day, I've bee on teams where my gosh, we fought two, three times a day, and it didn't equate to wins. I've been on teams where we fought two, three times a day, and we had winning seasons. I've been on teams where we didn't fight at all and won. I really believe it's the make-up of the team, in terms of, do they know each other.
Right now, we're talking about you got Staley and Boone there, playing on one side of the line, and they're going against guys that they've been going against for a few years. So, there is a relationship built there, but again, I stand where I stand, because most of that stuff is going to come out of the trenches. And when it starts getting heated, and I make a joke that I stand there with a firehose or a bucket of water, and I try to re-direct conversation, or throw some water on the sparks. Just to try and get it going to the next player. Because ultimately, when we get into a game, if you can't control that, it's going to cost us a penalty. So we have to have it in place where we can control it.
On the passion involved and the fights being something that will happen, but need to be kept under control:
Yea, and you're also, and I know everybody's referencing the practice the other day between two teams. In the same token, you're also all day long preaching team, building a team, looking out for each other's backs. And that can get into a cross-way, when you're going against somebody else. The proximity of practice, everybody's on the field, everybody's around that thing. Game days, you're at least on different sidelines. I don't make more of it than it is. I surely don't condemn, now again, this isn't fight in a football game that broke out. I don't agree with that, but there is the chance that those things can happen, and I don't condemn anybody for it.
On Reggie Bush in offense as more than just third down back:
I think, it's obviously noted, Reggie is a, his skill set is tremendous as a third down back. But he also can do other things. And we'll utilize him. I believe Reggie Bush is a complete running back. You've seen him do everything in his career. Now where we are right now, he's going to do the things that we need him to do to win games. I hope that Reggie doesn't have to run the power on fourth and 1. Can he do it? Yes. Has he done it? Yes. But I'm not looking for him to be in that role. Reggie brings a lot to the table, and Reggie's an exciting player.
On return duties:
Yea, Reggie has asked to do those. So, we're going into it right now. And again, anybody we get that's over eight years in this league, particularly at the running back position and some of the line positions, we're gonna absolutely monitor and reserve the right to adjust those roles to make sure that we're taking care of the player.
On why he'd ask to return kicks in the NFL:
Let me tell you what, he asked. That's what I mean, man, I never brought it up. I was talking to Reggie about the running back position, and we were sitting up here having dinner, up at Mina's, and Reggie said, "Now what about, who's returning your punts?" And I said, "Well, we got a couple of guys here." And he says, "Would you give me an opportunity?" And I said, well, I'm not gonna cuss, but I said, "Yes."
On if player asks, is first instinct, "Are you nuts?":
Yea, but I'll tell you, when you're sitting there with the guy, and as you're getting to know the guy, and again, that was early on, and we were just sitting there. He's got something about him. There's a sincerity about the guy, and he knew exactly what he was saying. He knows exactly what he's doing. It's something that he wants to be a part of, and it's just exciting to me. And again, if we've got another guy who's 22-years old and can give us what Reggie Bush does, then we may have more than one guy returning punts.
On loss of Aldon impacting defense:
As coaches, that is, to me, that's where the Xs and Os become a part of it. And they've been a part of it since we started this process. For the last what, six, seven months, and you've always got to be prepared for a number of X factors to happen. And that's where putting people, we've been working those different schemes. And again, we feel pretty good about, I feel really good about the people we have in those positions. I am not going to tell you Aldon isn't a special, special player when it comes to rushing the passer. But we feel like we've got some special guys here still, and we've got some guys that'll do a heck of a job. So we're very confident in that, but sometimes you do have to create. I mean, you get max protection all day, guys can take a guy from the edge, you know you're going to put the back in, if you're committed offensively to put the tackle and the back there all day, well then, there's other things that we need to be able to do. So, that's where that, it's just taking the players that we have, putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and matching them with a schematic that puts us in a winning situation.
On what to look for Week 1 of the preseason:
I'm looking for guys to compete. Obviously you all know we're still in the evaluation process. We're still looking at a couple different combinations of things. As is everyone. So that's what we'll be looking for. There won't be game-planning going on. There won't be any of those things. We're still in the process of worrying about us, and getting the things that we're doing knocked down and locked down, and evaluating players. So that's what will be there. We want to put some different combinations of players together, and then take a look at it that way. And then look at the individual performances.
Tom Tolbert wants to see players to the line of scrimmage at 20 seconds:
That's the operation. The operational part, I'd like to see us operate cleanly.