SANTA CLARA – Wide receiver Torrey Smith spoke in the 49ers’ auditorium Saturday morning. Here are selected quotes.
Q: How is the offense coming along?
SMITH: I think it’s always going to be a work in progress. I think we’re going in the right direction, fixing the mistakes. That’s what the first week of camp is about, really camp in general. We’re doing a great job learning from mistakes, and you can see the growth.
Q: One day the offense looks good in practice, the next day the offense doesn’t look good. Is that dependent on what you happen to be working on that particular day?
SMITH: Sometimes it’s tough because our defense is throwing some stuff at us now. That’s a lot tougher, certain practices, and it’s all about how you handle it. Some things our offensive line sees and they get it right, or we see outside, or the quarterbacks see it and then we know how to handle it next time. The biggest thing is, it’s football still, but we have to be more consistent and that’s what we’re working toward.
Q: You faced the 49ers when they had Aldon Smith. How did you game plan for him? How did you account for him?
SMITH: Aldon is one of the best football players I’ve ever been around, and I’ve been around some Hall of Famers in Baltimore. His talent, no one can deny that. I just hope he gets everything together and maybe gets another chance.
Q: What have coaches told you about moving forward beyond this?
SMITH: The coach really, he didn’t harp on…The issue isn’t something that we have to deal with. It’s more respecting the man and his issues that he has to deal with. We all have problems. Everybody may not know about our problems, but we all have something that we have to deal with. Unfortunately he handled his a little bit differently than you would think or you would like to have happened. No one’s perfect. I hope that he gets all the help that he needs. I think the best thing about it all is that he has the support needed here even though he’s no longer a member of the team. Everyone’s committed to that. Coach is committed to that, and he said that in front of everyone. I think that speaks volumes about Coach and also what everyone stands for here.
Q: You faced a distraction during training camp last year with the whole Ray Rice episode. Did you learn anything from that in terms of how to compartmentalize it? How do you guys deal with it?
SMITH: For us, it’s starts at the top. You don’t give it attention. Again, we all have our problems. I have plenty of problems that I have to deal with. When you’re on that field, we’re all working toward one thing. When you leave, we all have to deal with our problems separately or you can get help, which a lot of us probably should do a little more of, reach out and get more help. But in terms of our progress toward the season or camp, when you’re in practice you’re not worried about what’s going on outside of that. We’re only answering questions right now because you guys are here. We wouldn’t be talking about it in the locker room. We’re worried about getting ready for practice. It’s something that you learn to deal with. People who are experienced leaders, they know how to handle it well.
Q: Can you talk about what kind of support Anquan Boldin has given you since you’ve come out here?
SMITH: Yeah, Anquan has given me the same support he gave me before. He’s a big brother to me. I look up to him, love him like a brother and he’s a great guy. We go out there and have fun, be loose, especially with some of the characters we have on this team like (Quinton) Patton and Bruce (Ellington). We have a great time. I love the receiving room and the coaches as well.
Q: When you go back and watch film, do you do any of that with Colin Kaepernick?
SMITH: Yeah, we’re definitely still getting stuff together. When there’s a play that happens I always go over to him and say, “Hey, what were you thinking on this?” so we can get on the same page about certain things. It’s not that I feel like I’m a speed demon or the fastest man in the world or anything, but sometimes I feel like, “I can run, Bro – you can throw it out there, I’m going to go get it for you.” It’s just little things that you have to be comfortable with. Learning each other’s body language is another big thing, him learning how I move because it’s our first year working together. But he’s doing a great job. It’s on us to make it all happen.
Q: I notice you’re always stretching between sessions at practice. Have you always done that?
SMITH: Yeah, it’s part of camp, too. You’re a little bit tighter than normal out there running around. I learned to take care of my body. If you’re not healthy and you’re not practicing, you can’t get better. You can’t play. I tried to learn from the vets in front of me that came before. I just take care of myself.
Q: Is that because you had injury issues?
SMITH: I’ve only had one surgery since I’ve been in the league. It was muscular, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I played the whole year with it. No one knew. It’s something that had to get fixed. I just learned how to take care of body from watching Anquan. This guy is probably in the sauna now or doing something to take care of himself. As soon as I get done talking to ya’ll I’m going to head to the training room. It’s more about “prehab” than when after something happens.
Q: What’s it like catching a football from Colin Kaepernick?
SMITH: It’s just a football. It whistles. He has some velocity to that thing, but it’s no different. He does a great job, and he can make any and every throw.
Q: What’s your impression of Tramaine Brock?
SMITH: He’s a great corner. Very physical. He’s smart. He’s witty. He tries to dictate the way you should play by his movement. He does a great job. I think he’s in for a big year if he keeps doing what he’s doing.
Q: What are the challenges of the hurry-up offense for a guy who plays your position?
SMITH: We know our assignments, so I guess the biggest thing is when you’re already down the field you’ve got to hurry up and get back. We’re trying to get lined back up, so oftentimes we’re 40 yards down the field and we’ve got to hurry up and get back and be ready at the same time as everyone else. That’s probably the toughest part, but when you get in game shape that’s not a big deal.
Q: Is there a guy on this team who has surprised you?
SMITH: I wouldn’t say so. It’s still a lot of the same faces I remember playing against, and practicing against last year. There are some talented guys here. That’s one thing it doesn’t lack – talent. It’s not as bad as everyone tries to make it seem. I know it’s new faces, but it’s some very talented guys here and it’s on everyone to go put it together.