Singletary, O’Sullivan and Hill address the media (minus yours truly)

Took the day off from making the trek to Santa Clara this morning, but I can still deliver a slice of Santa Clara to you.

Here are some comments from Mike Singletary, J.T. O’Sullivan and Shaun Hill, courtesy of the 49ers’ PR department.


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Q: Why the change at quarterback Mike?

Singletary: “I just think it gives us the best opportunity to win right now. I think it brings some stability, some consistency. I think with Shaun Hill, the guys right now overall, the staff, the guys, the players, it gives us the confidence in terms of, ‘You know what we are going to keep this thing together and we’re going to cut down on the mistakes, the turnovers, what have you and let’s give ourselves a chance to win.'”


Q: Do you expect this offense to have a different look now that Shaun is in charge of it?

Singletary: “I can’t say that it has a good look. I just feel that right now with him in there, it’s just one of those things that Shaun is a natural leader. He leads in a different way. I just think, obviously, with him in there right now, he feels good, there’s an energy about it. Going forward, I’m just excited to see what he does with the opportunity.”


Q: Do you sense, after the events of the weekend, a different tone today?

Singletary: “I think the guys came out and responded very well. I mean they ran to the ball, they did all the things we talked about last week and they understand the task at hand. They understand where we have to go. They understand where we want to go. These guys want to win, they really do. They want to win. You sit down and have one-on-one conversations with them, they want to win and it’s evident by the consistency and the practices that we had from last week and today, and all we are going to do is build on it. So we’ll just keep getting better.”


Q: Who’s your starter at split end?  It seems like Josh Morgan got the start but then dropped a slant early in the game and then it was Bryant Johnson who was in for most of the game. Is that a permanent shift or will they be again alternating?

Singletary: “It depends. I think right now, Coach [Mike] Martz wants to really sit back and kind of analyze how everybody is doing. When you have young players…you have Josh. He has a world of talent and when you hear Coach Martz say this guy has more talent than just about any receiver he’s ever coached, that’s a huge statement. For him it’s just a matter of confidence. He is doing great and then all of sudden something happens. He might drop a ball, he may miss a block, and then boom. You just have to work at getting him back. Once he learns that, he’s going to be really explosive. I’m really excited about him.”


Q: Mike, you played the game. Sometimes when you make changes at positions like the quarterback it makes players realize that you have to be accountable.

Singletary: “Absolutely, that’s a huge word that we use in terms of everybody doing their job, building the trust, building the confidence – all of those things you need in order to get out there and be successful. So accountability definitely is a huge word.”


Q: A lot of coaches might’ve said the same thing to Vernon [Davis] privately. Why did you make those comments publically?

Singletary: “This is a day and time where everybody wants to be so private and ‘This is my business and this is…and be nice to the guy.’ I love these guys. I really do. At the same time, I know Vernon wants to win. And at the same time, I know he wants to be a man. So the comments that I made, there’s nothing about the comment that I wouldn’t have said to him. So for me to say, ‘Well, that’s a private matter.’ It’s the way I felt and I wasn’t thinking about being politically correct. Now if it was something private that he did, it was something that was no one else’s business, that’s something that I would not do. But to me, the team needs to know that it will not be tolerated. Everyone needs to understand that if this is the course you want to take, chances are this is the way we’re going to deal with it. Nothing big and bad and bold. It’s nothing like that. To me it’s just carrying out the nature of a bet. And just being real.”


Q: Is that how you were coached in Chicago?

Singletary: “I’m a lot nicer than I was coached in Chicago. [Laughing.]” 


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Q: What’s your reaction to the quarterback change?

O’Sullivan: “What’s my reaction?”



“Just disappointed.”


Q: Would you look at the quarterback position as still fluid – that there’s a chance that you might get back in and play this season?

O’Sullivan: “I think every backup in the league thinks like that. You have to be ready to take advantage of an opportunity if it comes.”


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Q: How does it feel to be back in the saddle?

Hill: “It’s very exciting. I’m really looking forward to this challenge. I know this team as a whole is not satisfied with how the first half of the season went and we’re all excited to get this second half started and get this thing turned around.”


Q: Where are you now versus mid-August as far as understanding the offense and how has that progressed since then?

Hill: “Obviously, I feel like I’m a lot further along than I was in training camp in the offense and being able to sit back and watch J.T. in the offense helped as well – to kind of see some of those things in action that Coach Martz was talking about in training camp. So it’s been good. These eight weeks I’ve continued to learn the offense and I feel far more advanced in it now than I was back in August.”


Q: It’s always tough when they make a change. Has J.T. been supportive of it?

Hill: “Yeah, he’s been very supportive. That says a lot about his character. He was supportive during the game as well, and that’s a tough thing. It really is. I can’t say enough about how great he’s been.”


Q: After the first game with Mike [Singletary], everything that went on, you see the emotion he has. Is the team feeling a little different right now, this week?

Hill: “Coach Singletary’s been around and he’s given speeches to the team over the three years that I’ve been here, or two and a half years at this point. So we know what kind of guy he is. He’s been vocal to the team and everybody appreciates it and responds to it – just his honesty and the way he tells it like it is. He’s not going to sugarcoat it for you, and I think everybody really respects that and responds to it.”


Q: How is this offense going to be different with Shaun Hill leading it?

Hill: “I don’t think…the structure is definitely going to be the same. Everything’s going to be the same. No matter what, if you put two guys together and they have the same training no matter how long, you send the two guys out there it’s going to be two completely different games and that’s just the way it is. Guys see things different out there and when you get to the game just play different. I don’t know. It’ll just be different, that’s all I can tell you. Everything’s going to be the same, though. It’s going to be the same offense, just two different guys play the game totally different, no matter if they have the same training and no matter how long they’ve had that training.”


Q: Two of the team’s longest drives came under you in the second half. Are you a guy who’s going to have more of those longer, methodical drives?

Hill: “I think a lot of that is a product of how they were playing. They had a pretty good lead in the second half and didn’t want to give up quick strikes down the field and things like that – and quick drives. They were going to make us take the ball methodically down the field, and we were going to have to score on every drive. I think more than anything it was a byproduct of how they were playing us at that time of the game.”


Q: What do you think the players learn from what he [Mike Singletary] expects?

Hill: “I know one thing that’s very evident to everybody is he’s going to hold everybody accountable, it doesn’t matter who. He was a star in this league and held himself accountable. He expects stars and role players alike to be accountable and do their job. That’s one thing I really appreciate.”


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