SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s post-game press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“Hello, good evening. Well there’s a wrap for the preseason. I thought the young guys represented themselves well. I thought they played hard and physical. I thought both teams did. There were still a few penalties. We do a good job turning second down into first down but we’ve got to get third down turned into first down. That group right there with those guys today, we’ve got to make sure we understand what that is. No injuries to report, we came out of it good, which is always a positive. I think the guys should be proud of the way they represented themselves individually and collectively.
What was the thinking in not playing any of the starters?
“With the practice we had yesterday, we had a full practice yesterday and we will have a full practice tomorrow. We had a lot of guys who had a great workout and great lift today, but I wanted to get the practice time. We need the practice time instead of going out there today. Taking yesterday off and did a walk through setting and then coming into this for five or six or eight plays, I thought would be better if we were able to get the 45 or 47 plays yesterday, and then be able to get those tomorrow with that group.”
Did injuries around the league influence your thinking on playing time tonight?
“I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you it’s always part of it, I mean just honestly. When I first came into the NFL and it was always the ceremonial five plays and getting guys in and getting them in a rhythm and getting them out, that was always a concern. Every staff meeting I’ve been in before this game has been touch and go in that area and everyone’s got a story that could scare you. You never want to coach with a dull blade.”
I think everybody knew Bruce Ellington’s potential but he hasn’t been able to do much this exhibition season. What did he show you tonight?
“I think that’s the reason Bruce is here. That’s what we know Bruce can do. I’ll say something about Bruce Ellington. In the spring, I wouldn’t say I was a gentleman to him. When it comes to that and talking to him about getting in before practice, taking care of his body before practice, taking care of his body after practice, doing those regeneration things and massages, taking advantage of those things. I didn’t feel like he was doing that. We had a man’s conversation. And, I will say that since then Bruce Ellington has done everything I’ve asked him to do in that way. His preparation before, the way he’s doing the things with his body and the effort that he’s putting into that, I think it’s terrific. What the object is obviously to be on the other side of that and moving forward and being ready to play.”
Is it in your mind clear-cut who your return specialist is? Ellington or Jarryd Hayne?
“Everything will be clear-cut right after the weekend.”
Can you evaluate Hayne’s performance today in all areas of the game?
“I saw him catch passes. I saw him run the ball. There were some really good plays and just like everybody else, there were a couple there in tight spaces and we’ve got to go. We have to keep working on that. I saw him in the passing game. I saw him tackle in coverage units. I saw him return balls, catch balls and return balls.”
He had that one fair catch?
“That was later in the game. It was a fair catch to get the offense on the field.”
He was instructed to–?
“Yes, just fair catch it.”
To show he can do it?
“He’s shown he can do it. Just fair catch and stand there.”
It looked like you had a good seat when he ran over that cornerback.
“I’m not going to disrespect any other player, but I will tell you that I think Jarryd is a tough guy.”
Are you of the mind that regular season can’t come fast enough or are you looking forward to this one last week of practice?
“We’re going to take every opportunity we can to get better before that score is for real. We’ll take what we have and we’ll use it.”
Why not play Blaine Gabbert a little bit?
“We’ve played Blaine Gabbert a lot. We have evaluated Blaine Gabbert. We’ve got enough film on Blaine to go through teaching and things like that and we’ve done that. We wanted to work some young offensive linemen. We wanted to make sure we had those people worked and quite frankly we wanted to give Dylan [Thompson] an opportunity to get out there and wanted to see what you got buddy,”
What did you think of him [Thompson]?
“I think Dylan overcame a few things. I like to see after a bad play how does somebody react. How do they react after a good play and I think he passed both of those. He had the opportunity to have both of those experiences and I thought he answered the bell.”
Do you know who will start at cornerback opposite Tramaine Brock for the opener?
“I will be very detailed in all that thinking in a couple of days here.”
Four games into the preseason, can you give a general assessment of your team now?
“Our team, right now, in my opinion, is a team that’s in a good place. Guys that are working really hard. Guys that you know is very important to. There are things that we need to take advantage of these days and get more work on. Which we are. But I really like the team. I really do. It’s a team. I’ve always thought a collection of great talent that can put something bigger (together) than themselves. I think this is a team that’s a talented group and a group that is really into the team concept. I see them hanging in the locker room together, just those things you look for. I see that going on and that’s very exciting to me. There’s a whole general group that just enjoys working with each other.”
Where would you evaluate that Kendall Hunter is right now and it looked like he had a little more spring in his legs than last week. Number might not reflect that. How did you feel about it?
“Kendall obviously had the opportunity tonight to get out there to run. He had the opportunity last week. Kendall is one fighting son of a gun. I mean what he’s overcome and what he’s busted through. I can’t say enough about him. We all feel that way.”