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49ers Settle In Familiar Surroundings

Posted Sep 26, 2012

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Alex Smith undoubtedly misses spending time with his wife Elizabeth and his one and a half-year-old son Hudson.

But for this week, one that has the San Francisco 49ers staying in Ohio in between Week 3 and 4 road matchups, the starting quarterback sees positives to being in a hotel amongst teammates and coaches all under one roof.

“There are no distractions here,” said Smith, who has the seventh-best passer rating in the NFL at 102.7. “We’re all hanging out with each other here in the hotel. The meeting rooms are two floors up, you go up and you can watch film. You’re right here.

“You don’t have to worry about going home. For me, yeah, I’m away from my wife and kid, but at the same time, there’s no rush to go home either. I can sit here and watch film and really dig into the gameplan. So, give and take for sure.”

The 49ers are giving Youngstown State’s facilities rave reviews, while taking full advantage of their familiarity with the surrounding neighborhood.

Jim Harbaugh doesn’t necessarily look at staying away from the team’s Santa Clara facility as a challenge. Instead, he treats it with his same, do everything you can to get one percent faster approach, just the same as he would in the Bay Area.

“The challenge (is to) see how much you can get out of a day,” the 49ers coach explained. “We have today; it’s a new day. We’re extremely excited about it. How much we can get out of today as it relates to preparation for the Jets game. Don’t know that there’s any rule that it has to be exactly like it was when we’re back in San Francisco or even similar. (The) challenge is to see how much we can get out of today.”

The 49ers practiced in rainy conditions at YSU’s Stambaugh Stadium on Wednesday, their first practice of the week, but it wasn’t enough to damper the team’s spirits. Veteran running back Brandon Jacobs returned to practice in limited fashion for the first time this season, too.

Even with Jacobs nearing a return to the field and Frank Gore racking up 264 yards in three games (eighth-most in the NFL), many wondered if the 49ers would be able to utilize downfield passing weapons this week against a New York Jets team without the services of All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is out for the year with an ACL tear to his left knee.

Posed that very question, Smith took the blame for not connecting with his perimeter targets downfield as often as he would have liked in a Week 3 loss in Minnesota that put the 49ers at 2-1 on the year.

He also felt like there was enough time in the game last week to move the chains in the second half and drive the field to make it a one-score game. Smith didn’t think he had to get it all on one play, so to speak.

The Vikings, however, made sure that didn’t happen by responding to San Francisco’s only touchdown drive with a back-breaking, 12-play, 91-yard scoring drive to make it a 24-13 game.

The score remained final as the 49ers couldn’t rebound against an upstart Minnesota club.

That experience, however, serves as motivation heading into Sunday’s non-conference matchup with the New York Jets.

“We just didn’t make enough plays,” safety Donte Whitner admitted.  “Even myself, I had an opportunity to take an interception back late in the football game to put us down by 4 and I didn’t capitalize on that opportunity. We’re not concerned, we’re going to go out and play a good football game against the New York Jets.”

Harbaugh didn’t like the feeling of losing either, especially a double-digit defeat.

“I think when you come off a loss, you want to get back to work and make darn sure it doesn’t happen again,” the 49ers coach said. “That’s the mindset we have every day, including today, to work on that mindset in preparation for the game on Sunday.”

Harbaugh has often said preparation is the best thing going for the 49ers and that remains the same in Ohio. Even after experiencing a road loss, Harbaugh has been pleased to see the team maintain its “usual approach.”

“Their belief is in work and in preparation and they go to work in what they believe in,” he added. “I’ve seen what I’ve always see out of them. (It’s) consistently good in that regard.”

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