SANTA CLARA – Alex Smith talked to reporters at his locker today. Here’s everything he said.
The last question is a question I asked him after the other reporters left the area around his locker, and it was the first time I’ve asked Smith a question one-on-one. He was gracious and thorough and he even cracked a joke.
Q: Do you plan to play on Thursday?
ALEX SMITH: I’m not expecting anything. I’m going to go out there and play and play until they tell me to come out. It’s been that way a lot of years. Last year, I didn’t play in it, but in years past I’ve played almost the full quarter. A couple drives, at least. So I think it obviously will depend on how we do. But looking forward to getting out there, getting some first downs, get the ball moving and hopefully put some points on the board.
Q: Are there a lot of bugs to work out?
ALEX SMITH: I don’t know about bugs. We’ve got a bad taste in our mouth, that’s for sure. Want to get out before the regular season.
Q: Goodwin’s now the starting center. How important to establish starters on the line?
ALEX SMITH: We’ve been getting a lot of reps with both those guys. I just think obviously as you get closer to the regular season it’s important to finalize where all those guys are. Lock all those guys in up front so they’re familiar with where they’re going to be comfortable come the regular season.
Q: Do you think Crabtree can get caught up before week 1?
ALEX SMITH: He’s done a great job in meetings, the walkthroughs, the meetings out on the field. He’s really had his head in it, paying a lot of attention, asking a lot of questions. Obviously, it does take the reps as well, so we’ll see. He’s done it before, his rookie year he stepped right in and contributed right away.
Q: Did you know Crabtree’s foot was broken in June at first minicamp?
ALEX SMITH: I did not. Obviously he said it was hurting and that was the reason he stopped running. I had no idea until later, actually found out that he had surgery and that it was broken.
Q: How to deal with sacks when communicating w/ o-line?
ALEX SMITH: Sacks, it’s a stat that you can’t just look at on paper and then blame it on the guys up front. They are a lot of coverage sacks, quarterbacks holding the ball too long. Running backs are involved in that, tight ends. It’s a stat that you look at on paper and it’s easy to say the offensive line. But it’s all of us. We’re all involved in it. It takes all 11. It’s a work in progress, getting better. But if you’re playing quarterback and expect just to sit back there and not get touched, you’re kidding yourself. It’s part of the game. Teams are going to press you, you’ve got to have a plan where to go with the football and get it out sometimes. Those guys up front are battling, they continue to work and I think they’ll continue to get better and gel.
Q: Did you expect growing pains in offense given the lockout?.
ALEX SMITH: Absolutely. I think to say that there weren’t, you’d be kidding yourself. Still working some things out. Still coming together. It takes reps. It takes time. Got to get it done faster – last week was unacceptable for all of us and we’ve got a lot of improvement ahead of us.
Q: What have you seen from Frank re: contract situation?
ALEX SMITH: I stay out of that. I think a lot of us do. That’s the reason we have agents. They handle that stuff. I haven’t noticed any lack of focus. He’s all in. He’s here. He’s been a part of everything. Jumped in full go so I’m not really thinking or paying attention to any of that other stuff.
Q: Early memories of Frank, who is known as such a smart football player?
ALEX SMITH: Just picks up things extremely fast and then just has great instincts on the field. And not just running with the football. Great instincts blocking. Great instincts in the pass game. Just a really good football player, a great football player. You could see it from the start. Obviously his rookie year he didn’t get as many reps but definitely that second year, exploded on the scene in the run and the pass. And he’s always been great in protection, takes a lot of pride in that. I don’t know if I see another back in the league that takes as much pride as Frank does in protection and the physicality of it. It’s tough for a guy that gets that many carries to step into protection and be that physical. And Frank takes a lot of pride in it, and I’ll tell you what, and all of his teammates notice it and appreciate it.
Q: What exactly does Harbaugh teach footwork-wise? Parallel feet under center, or left foot back?
ALEX SMITH: You know that’s a better question for (Harbaugh), no I’m just kidding. We’re all a little different. It’s not something like he’s looking for uniformity. We’re all different. It’s how we feel comfortable under there. He just wants us each to be consistent with ourselves. Does that make sense? He doesn’t want us to all be cookie cutters. He’s working with each of us individually with what’s best, what we’re comfortable with. He just doesn’t want that to change from play to play.
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