SANTA CLARA – Alex Smith spoke in the 49ers’ media tent after Jim Harbaugh on Thursday. Smith answered questions about Ted Ginn Jr., Leonard Davis and Mike Singletary, among other topics. Here’s a transcript, courtesy of the 49ers.
Guys are predicting in the preseason that you are not going to do a lot of running, establishing a running game, is that going to be the same story this year?
“No idea, asking the wrong guy. I mean we’ll see. No idea. I think it’s going to depend on the flow of the game.”
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh said he’s not sure exactly how much you guys are going to play as starters, but what kind of goals do you have going into the preseason opener?
“To go out there and execute. I don’t know how long I’m going to play, when I am going to get pulled out. I’m going to go out there and try to execute each and every single play I get, make the most of the opportunity and keep playing until they pull me out.”
Rather than rehash what happened last year in New Orleans in the exhibition opener, could that game at least show you that anything might be possible in an exhibition opener?
“For sure, wear your mouth piece in the preseason. That was a bad decision last year. Be ready for anything, it’s football. The whistle blows out here at practice and as quarterbacks you don’t get touched. This is real ball and it’s been, for all of us, a while since we’ve had that and it’ll be fun. It’s great to get the practice though in these preseason games before the regular season.”
Do the coaches tell you how much you will play or do they like to just let the game flow?
“I think they like to just keep us on our toes. You start telling guys, ‘Hey you are only going to get this amount of plays.’ All of a sudden they start counting plays. I think just go out there and execute each and every single one and play your best ball. That’s it. I think all of a sudden, like I said, you start telling a guy, ‘Hey you get this many plays,’ and he starts counting them waiting to get out.”
You didn’t have your mouth piece in last year?
“Last year I didn’t wear one in that opener. I did after that.”
Why was that?
“Preseason, I don’t know, I just hadn’t worn it yet and it had been so long. We don’t get hit in camp like I said, so not necessarily a reason.”
Did you put one in after the first couple plays?
Was any dental work required after that?
“No, nothing like that. It just helps.”
What have you seen from WR Ted Ginn Jr. this training camp? What stands out for him?
“I just think he looks really sharp. He’s got the speed. Everybody knows that. I really feel like he just continues to work on the little things, the little things of being a receiver, really precise route running so far in camp, making a lot of plays with the ball in the air. He’s made a lot of tough catches. Coming back to the football, those are the things that I see. And obviously you combine that with his speed, I feel like he’s had a great camp so far.”
You have a couple of new targets in WRs Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. Are you looking to establish a connection in the preseason?
“To get the work, for sure. To just be out there on the football field, like I said, going against someone else. When you’re going against our defense you’re seeing the same looks a lot of times, how they’re playing us. Now all of a sudden we’re going against somebody new and you have the unknown factor. You’re going to step out there and you don’t know what they’re going to do, how they’re going to play you. You kind of have to make those adjustments a little bit on the fly. Sometimes you have to go through it. You’ve got a little bit of trial and error. So, it’ll be good to go through game situations and work through those things.”
Have you been to Candlestick Park since the NFC Championship game?
“I have not, no. It’ll be the first time back.”
Have you driven by it?
“Yeah. Of course.”
What do you think as you drive by it?
“I mean it’s The Stick. It’s such a unique place, so much history there. Obviously such a great run last year. For me the playoff games, hosting the home playoff games was really special. Just a lot of fun.”
G Leonard Davis said even as a seasoned veteran he needs this preseason to work with this offense. What is it like to work with him?
“There’s many guys that have played as long as he has that have a lot of egos, especially when it comes to preseason. A guy that’s been the starter and been to Pro Bowls and all of a sudden he’s not in that role anymore, it’s hard for them to handle that. He’s a guy I really feel like he’s checked his ego and just come to work every single day, no matter what’s asked of him. Hey, with this group, hey, doing this, whatever it is, it seems like he’s willing and wants to jump in there and get the reps and take advantage of it. He’s been a great addition.”
Are you excited to see the backups that are fighting for jobs?
“Absolutely, no question. All those guys work really hard and put a lot of time in. It’s a big deal for them, preseason. There’s a lot on the line, like there is for all of us, but obviously for them it’s a chance to go out there and be real football. Like I said, the whistles aren’t blowing early. Plays are going to continue on. So I’m excited, excited to see them all play.”
What will your role be after you come out of the game?
“Whatever I can do to help and be there. We’re a pretty tight group. We’ve got a bunch of good guys. No one’s selfish. If I do see anything from the sidelines I think might help, be there when they come off to the sideline.”
Will you be sending in signals from the sideline?
“Signaling like what? Secrets? No, I stay into the game. I feel like it’s your job to stay into the game. As starters once you come out, those young guys and the guys going in after you have earned that. To stay in the game and to be there, I expect that from them. When I’m playing, I’m expecting those watch and if I come off, anything they’re seeing, a guy watching the pocket, a guy watching the defense, no question when I’m on the sideline I’m going to do the same.”
What was your relationship with former 49ers head coach and current Vikings defensive assistant coach Mike Singletary? Will you say hi to him?
“Yeah, if we see him. I’m getting ready to play a game. I’m not thinking about seeing anybody or anything like that. I’m going to get ready to play a game. But our relationship was fine.”