Bucs HC Raheem Morris Q&A

Here’s the transcript of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris’ conference call from this morning.

Q: How are you doing?

MORRIS: I’m doing awesome, man.

Q: What’s your biggest challenge coming in for this week?

MORRIS: Going to play San Fran, obviously you’re going to have a challenge with your travel, getting your team there, getting them acclimated to the time zone. After that it’s your team. You guys are 3-1. You guys are rolling. You’ve got an offensive line playing really well. They’re blocking really well for the run game. They’re starting to get things going in the right direction as far as how they want to do it, what they want to do, and when they want to do it. They’re going with their own tempo. You can see the attitude of Coach (Harbaugh) coming out of these guys. It’s something we’ve got to prepare for and be ready to deal with. And the same thing goes for defense. They’re playing hard. They’re hustling. They’re hitting.

Q: You played this team last year. What are the biggest differences you’re seeing in the 2011 49ers?

MORRIS: You can just tell the attitude difference. Everybody has a plan, a direction of what they want to do. Not that they didn’t have it last year, but you can see the difference. You can see the sense of urgency. Those guys played hard for Singletary, but they certainly play hard for Harbaugh. They certainly show a sense of urgency to go out and win this year. And it’s no different from what you would get anytime you get a new coach. Harbaugh has done a wonderful job with these guys, and we look forward to going out there and having a good game.

Q: What about on offense specifically? Do you have more to prepare for defensively against this year’s Niners?

MORRIS: Everybody knows it’s no secret that Harbaugh wants to run power, and he finds a bunch of different ways to run power. And he’s doing a nice job using different people, whether it be defensive players, offensive players, offensive linemen, all types of people. Their shifts, their motions, they’re doing a nice job of finding ways of getting Vernon Davis the ball. They’re finding nice ways of getting all their athletes – Delanie Walker, all those guys they’ve been using. They found a nice role for Ted Ginn Jr. He’s able to come in and do some really good things for them. Joshua Morgan has really become a great player for them. You can just see it in everybody that’s out there and how they’re playing. They found a role for Bruce Miller and Moran Norris. Using every blocker, and then using the guys with the nice hands, but he can also go out there and block. They’re doing a nice job of changing personnel groups. They’re doing a nice job of what they’re doing on offense. And they’re doing a nice job of executing. We’re not sure about stats because you guys know how I feel about stats, they’re for losers, but I do know that they are coming off the ball, they are playing hard, they are coming down hill, and they’re establishing what they want to establish at the line of scrimmage.

Q: You have the unique challenge of playing a Monday Night game and then traveling across the country. Do you do anything different this week? Do you change your routine a little?

MORRIS: No, we’ll stick with our same routine. The only thing that’s different is we’ll come out a day early. We’ll be there on Friday, and we’ll get a chance to get to the city and try to get acclimated as far as the time zone. Nobody cares that you just played on Monday Night. Your job is to go out and win, and we won’t make any excuses about playing a Monday Night and traveling to the west coast. It is what it is. Put your best foot forward and go work.

Q: How big is your guys confidence level right now, starting off 3-1 and coming back the way you did on Monday Night?

MORRIS: Our confidence has been pretty high since the beginning of the season. Our mentality as been to win our division and hopefully we can take more steps in that direction. It’s not really about the confidence you feel each game, because that would be riding an emotional roller coaster and we refuse to do that. We have a mindset this year, and we have to go out there and execute that mindset.

Q: Did you get any trade offers for backup QB and Oakland native Josh Johnson in the offseason?

MORRIS: I don’t really deal with the trade stuff. I just deal with the product that we have on the field. Josh Johnson is certainly a major part of what we do. You saw last week he had a big time fourth and one. He’s been awesome in our classroom. He’s been awesome in our quarterback (meetings), and he’s been awesome in a backup role for us. He got a chance to play a couple snaps against you guys last year, and hopefully we continue to use him and watch him grow.

Q: You said offensively the Niners try to establish their own tempo. What is that tempo and how do they try to establish it?

MORRIS: They’re big, they’re physical, and they come downhill. They run their runs. They do it with a bunch of different dynamics. They put some window dressing on it, and by that I mean their shifts, their motions, their unbalanced line, all that type of stuff. They’re going to hit the ball down in between those A gaps and come at you full speed, and that’s something they’re doing a nice job of. Their offensive line has taken on a nice, new demeanor. These young guys, Anthony Davis, Staley, Iupati, those guys are really coming off the ball, playing hard, fast and physical, and you’ve got to appreciate that.

Q: Do you sense that Alex Smith is thriving under Coach Harbaugh’s guidance?

MORRIS: I think the whole team is playing better, and that’s a credit to Coach Harbaugh. He’s got these guys believing. He’s got these guys playing hard, executing what’s in their game plan. And I think these guys could do whatever they’re asked to do, because they’re playing behind him and they’re playing for him.

Q: The announcers the other night that when LeGarrette Blount is in the game you’re telegraphing the play because he’s only going to run the ball. Is there some truth to that? Are you a little one-dimensional when he’s in there?

MORRIS: What we like to do is run the football with LeGarrette Blount, and I don’t think that’s a secret. I don’t anybody in this room or anybody in this league tries to go out and deal with secrets. We deal with doing what we do best, executing what we do.

Q: Could you talk about the challenge that the Niners front seven poses to your running game?

MORRIS: It’s not just the front seven – it’s everybody included. What they do with Justin Smith, his physical dominance and how he comes to the line of scrimmage and takes over games I believe is one of the best things the 49ers have going. Patrick Willis is one of the best Mike linebackers in the game. Ray McDonald has played this game for a while and he’s done a great job of doing it. Isaac Sopoaga goes over there and plays offense, plays defense, he’s big, he’s physical, he’s tough. If we get a chance to see Ricky Jean Francois coming in from LSU. Young man does a great job. These guys are doing a great job of getting better and better and growing together. Dashon Goldson is one of my favorite safeties in the league. He played at Washington – he played under my DB coach. We loved him a lot when he came out of college, and he’s absolutely playing well. And with the addition of Donte Whitner, you can’t say enough good things about what they’re doing on defense and how fast they’re playing.

Q: Has NaVorro Bowman jumped out to you on the film?

MORRIS: He’s played well. Young man from Penn St. He had a lot of talent coming out. Obviously he’s developed his game. He’s playing a lot better for the 49ers this year and we look forward to playing against these guys. We love physical challenges, and this will certainly be one for us.

Q: What makes Dashon Goldson one of your favorite safeties?

MORRIS: I love the way he plays the game. He plays the game with great emotion. He has high intensity. He has the ability to track the ball. He has the ability to play the ball in the air. He has the ability to smash you. He’s our type of guy.

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