Harbaugh on the 49ers’ wide receiver competition: “The young guys are over on the X side.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke to the Bay Area media Tuesday afternoon next to the 49ers’ practice field. Here’s what he said, courtesy of the 49ers.

 

This was our first time seeing WR Anquan Boldin out there. He looked like he’s still in playoff form, what he’s done all those years. What’d you see out of him?

“Well, very impressed. Today, you got a good look at what he’s been doing. Really picked up the system fast and making plays. Big catches in tight areas. You saw what we’ve been seeing for a couple of weeks now, very good.”

 

You’ve got a host of inexperienced guys at wide receiver. Do you see Anquan talking to those guys and having an impact in the locker room, on the sideline as well?

“That could be. That could be something that develops. Right now, Anquan is not a talkative guy. He’s not a small-talk guy. He’s just very serious about competing, and very serious about football and winning. I think it’ll speak volumes if the young guys observe that.”

 

In those team drills the ball seems to be going to him a lot. Is that because the play’s designed to him? Or the quarterbacks already feeling like they want to get it to him, choosing him?

“There were some plays that were designed for him today. And we got him in on those plays where he was the primary guy.”

 

 

You mentioned already I think that there are the guys replacing WR Michael Crabtree on one side and there’s Anquan on the other side. Is that pretty well said? Or can some guys move back and forth with the X and Z?

“Well, we’ve pretty much been upfront with the players and everybody what’s going on here. We’ve lumped the younger receivers, [WR] A.J. [Jenkins], and [WR] Quinton [Patton] and [WR Ricardo] Lockette in one spot and letting them concentrate on that. And first see who emerges from that group of players. But, on the other side there’s Anquan and a good group of more experienced players, like [WR] Marlon Moore and [WR] Chad Hall and [WR] Joe Hastings. And they definitely have the license and the ability to emerge from that spot to any spot.”

 

But, that’s the X and the Z when you’re talking about that though, right?

“That’s right. Yeah, the young guys are over on the X side. And the more experienced guys are on the Z side.”

 

What was the thinking to do it that way as opposed to shuffling guys all over?

“Just see, like what I just said, to see which of the young guys will emerge playing the same spot, running the same routes. There’s a competition that’s in place there.”

 

Is it too early to say who’s looking good?

“Yeah, it’s too early.”

 

It is too early. Should I phrase it differently? Is there anybody that you can spot from the young guys, from that young group, and say hey, that guy’s doing something right now?

“Yeah, I can say that about all three of them. But, it is too early. And the complete package, I think will show itself over time. And that’ll be a process in that regard. So, too early there.”

 

How tough is it for you to approach it with a quarterback who’s now into his first  season knowing that he’s the guy, instead of when QB Colin Kaepernick wathe backup, the young guy? Is it a different approach for you the way you coach him, or for  your coaches, the way you approach how he leads his team, leads his offense?

“No. Colin’s a great guy to coach because he wants to be great. He wants to be good. He wants coaching. Therefore, it’s a joy to give him everything you have and work very hard as a coach to make him better. The problem is when the guy you’re coaching doesn’t want to be great as much as you want him to be great. And therefore, as a coach it’s very hard to work for somebody else’s benefit when they’re not working the hardest for their own benefit. And that’s not Kap. Kap wants to be as good as he can be. Therefore, as a coach you want to give him everything you can.”

 

Is it a different stage for him knowing that he had former 49ers QB Alex Smith there before, and now Alex is not there anymore? Is it a different stage for him just personality wise in the locker room, in the meetings? Or does he need to take a little bit more vocal role or anything like that?

“Everybody plays within their own personality. Kap does a great job in that area. And he has since he’s been here.”

 

There were reports a couple weeks ago that you had talked to some people about possible consulting roles. Have you hired a consultant, or do you plan to?

“We’re still processing that, and may have something as the weeks go on for you.”

 

What would you be looking for from someone in that kind of role?

“Well, rather than be premature about what we’re looking for, or what we’re going to do, there will be a time and a place to talk about that.”

 

I saw that G Adam Snyder was playing tackle today? Is that where you guys see him? Or is he one of these guys that you’ll move around wherever he’s needed type situation?

“He’s a guard that can play tackle. He can play center. But, right now [T] Joe Staley’s not practicing. He had a minor procedure done. So, Adam’s getting some work at tackle, which he’s got the ability to go guard, tackle, center. And we’ll make sure that he’s getting reps at all those.”

 

Is finding a swing tackle, you guys didn’t have a swing tackle per say last year, is that something that you want to have down this year when you go into the season? A guy that can step in at either tackle spot?

“Yeah, I think that’s something that Adam brings the ability to that. But, you also have [G/T] Alex Boone can play either tackle as well, very versatile player. So, it gives us some options.”

 

How’s RB Frank Gore doing?

“Good.”

 

We haven’t seen him out here practicing. We see him doing individual work. Is he working through stuff on his own off to the side?

“Yeah, he’s working through a little something.”

 

Nothing too serious?

“No.”

 

Lingering from 2012?

“Just working through something. Nothing too serious.”

 

It’s about six months since RB Kendall Hunter tore his Achilles. To see him doing team drills like this, does it kind of give you a little confidence with the WR Michael Crabtree situation?

“They’re similar, but not going to compare the two injuries. Both in Kendall’s and Michael’s case, the doctor was very confident and felt very good about the operations. Kendall’s on track.”

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