This is the transcript of Chip Kelly’s Week-13 Thursday press conference from Orlando, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
Where is WR Quinton Patton as far as the protocol goes?
“I couldn’t tell you exactly where he is. I know he started to resume, I think, cardiovascular work. So, that’s kind of where he is right now. But, I don’t know what stage that is.”
Can you talk about being here and kind of reuniting with University of Central Florida head coach Scott Frost and kind of how this all came about?
“Well, yeah obviously Scott’s a dear friend. We’ve known each other for a long time. Coached together for four years at Oregon and then we were trying to locate a place that could take us for the week. It was nothing more than we looked at a map and drew a line from Miami to Chicago and looked across the line. When I saw Orlando, that was our first phone call and we didn’t talk to anybody else.”
Any special outings planned away from practice?
“No. I think they practice today. Scott was here at practice on Tuesday. I just talked to him for a couple minutes. He was heading out on a recruiting visit and we’re on lockdown, we’ve got a game to get ready for. But, they’ve been out to practice and we had a chance to catch up then.”
He was a first year head coach, took an 0-12 to bowl eligible. Can you just give us your thumbnail of how you think he did?
“I thought he did a great job. There’s a lot of friends I have on the staff. [University of Central Florida defensive coordinator] Erik Chinander, the defensive coordinator, I worked with at Oregon and Philly. [University of Central Florida offensive line coach] Greg Austin, their offensive line coach, [University of Central Florida defensive line coach] Mike Dawson, their defensive line coach and then a couple of their GAs were players when I was at Oregon and [University of Central Florida offensive graduate assistant] Kenny Bassett, one of their GAs, was with us in Philly last year. So, a lot of familiarity with the staff. Really good people, really good coaches and their success wasn’t a surprise to us because I knew Scotty would be successful wherever he took a head coaching job.”
He said today he’s not a candidate for the Oregon job as well. Does that surprise you? He said he wanted to see this through.
“No. I’ve known Scott for a long time. Scott, like myself, take us both at face value. So, if he says he’s not a candidate, then he’s not a candidate.”
He’ll get other opportunities down the road, I assume you think?
“I don’t think about opportunities for other people down the road. So, I hope he stays at UCF for a long time. He says he likes it here.”
What have you seen from CB Rashard Robinson in this rookie season for him?
“I think Rashard’s done a really nice job. He’s a highly competitive player, loves playing football, whether it’s practice, whether it’s studying film. He’s kind of got a contagious energy about himself. I think he’s got a real bright future. He’s got a great skillset to be a corner. He’s tall, he’s long, he’s got speed. But, the biggest thing that jumps out with him is just his competitive nature and you love being around guys like that.”
Have you started to see TE Vance McDonald really create dilemmas for opposing defenses because of his speed?
“Obviously, he’s one of our weapons on the offensive side of the ball and he runs better than most tight ends in this league. So, really depends on week to week what people have available at the safety spot to kind of match up with him. But, he’s certainly someone that I think people defensively have to game plan for.”
Has he developed kind of a rapport as kind of a go-to guy for QB Colin Kaepernick these last few weeks?
“I don’t know. That’s a question for Colin. He’s the one that makes that decision. But, I think when the ball’s thrown his way, he’s made some really big plays for us.”
You mentioned that Colin needed to get in and just get more reps as the season went on, just getting familiarity with these guys. How much has he gotten into the offense that you would like to see right now compared to–?
“He’s done a really nice job. I think the Miami game was his sixth start. So, just getting comfortable with getting the game reps, that’s one thing with the quarterback position you can’t simulate in practice because they don’t get hit in practice. So, it’s really a different type of game when you get into games. But, I think as we’ve seen, there’s progression each game with him and the more he progresses, the more comfortable he is with the offense, the more you can expand what we’re doing.”
What kind of conversations did you have with him just like even when he restructured his contract in terms of what his future holds with this team in terms of next year?
“I’ve had zero conversations with him. I don’t deal with contracts. So, that wasn’t an issue. As I’ve said with everything, even the stuff when we first got there is when he’s with us it’s all football. If there’s a business thing, that’s between him and his agent and the front office. But, that’s not something that we’ve ever had a discussion about.”
Do you get the sense that he’s more comfortable here the more he’s played?
“I think he’s always been comfortable here. So I don’t, the relationship we have is great. We talk football and I really enjoy coaching him. He works extremely hard, he really wants to be great and works at it from that standpoint. So, all that other stuff, I think he does a really good job of leaving that outside the door and we never really discuss it because that’s really not what our relationship is about.”
Has the playbook been entirely open to him from day one when he stepped in for the Bills game or have you been adding stuff as you go on?
“No, I mean we change each week. I don’t think anybody runs the same things each week. But, it really depends on the opponent. It’s not what he’s capable of doing or not doing. It really just depends on, obviously how Buffalo defends you is different than how Miami defends you. So, there’s things that you did in the Buffalo game that you wouldn’t do in the Miami game. But, that’s not because of any limitations that Colin has.”
Can you tell when one of your assistants is head coaching material? Like when you first met Scott Frost, did you see something in him that said, ‘Hey, this guy’s got it?’
“Yeah, I thought Scott would be a head coach at some point in time. He’s an extremely intelligent guy. Started off at Stanford, was a three-something student in finance at Nebraska. When you just sit down and have a conversation with him you can tell that he’s got a lot of substance to him. I think people kind of gravitate to him. He’s got great leadership qualities. I think he’s what you want in a head coach and that’s why I said earlier it doesn’t surprise me the success he’s had here because Scotty will be successful no matter what profession he chose to do and he just happened to get into coaching.”
What did you think of DT Chris Jones’ game on Sunday and where do you see him fitting in on this defense for the rest of the season?
“I thought he did a really nice job. He played 27 snaps, was positive on 24 of the 27. Got in on a tackle. I thought he did a nice job understanding our scheme and how to play and what we’re doing. I think his background playing with the Patriots, being in Miami, he’s obviously well coached. So, to get a player of that caliber when we lost [DL Arik] Armstead it was kind of a surprise to us but we were really pleasantly surprised with what he had done and he’s earned playing time. He’ll continue to get playing time.”