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Coach's Notebook: June 11

Posted Jun 11, 2013

Jim Harbaugh addressed the media at the start of the 49ers three-day minicamp.



Jim Harbaugh addressed the media at the start of the 49ers three-day minicamp.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman was talking about WR A.J. Jenkins and how he had a couple of nice practices back-to-back. Have you seen the same sort of progress playmaking from him?
“Yes. I thought A.J. had his best week of football since he’s been a 49er the last four days of OTAs, which was the last week of OTAs. And he continues to build on that.”

How is he different right now versus a year ago?
“Well, I think anybody that’s gone from year one to year two, it’s a great window of opportunity to improve in the kind of fashion that you’ll never have again in your career. Because you’re going from doing things for the first time to now everything that you do, you’ve already done. And big strides can be made that way.”

Do you feel like you guys have seen enough from the young guys that there’s no need to add a veteran presence at this point, or heading into training camp?
“Well, anything’s possible. We’re not going to get into no’s and never’s and wont's and cant's.”

Have you ruled out bringing back former 49ers WR Randy Moss?
“And again, we’ve gone over this, we’re not going to talk specifically about anybody that’s not on our roster. Just assume that we’ll evaluate people that are out there, and everything is a possibility.”

Do you expect WR Mario Manningham to be ready for the regular season?
“At some point.”

How about moving anybody to wide receiver? Has that come up?
“Like who?”

I don’t know, QB B.J. Daniels, I don’t know. Anybody? You said you’d talk about guys on your roster.
“B.J.’s someone that we feel could play multiple positions.”

What’s the biggest growth, or difference maybe you’ve seen in QB Colin Kaepernick coming into this mini-camp knowing that this is his first full year as a starter? What are some of the intangibles you may have seen in him during practice?
“Well, they’ve always really been good. He’s another person he’s doing things for the second time now, in a way. It’s not going from his rookie season to his second season. But, definitely the experience he got last year playing and starting. There’s some of that aspect there. The great thing about Colin Kaepernick is the way he handles pressure. Some people don’t handle it very well because they want to be in their comfort zone. And Colin Kaepernick is somebody that thrives on it and embraces it. And there’s no question that when you’re at the top of the game, those type of players, [RB] Frank Gore, [LB] Patrick Willis, [TE] Vernon Davis, Colin Kaepernick, [DT] Justin Smith, many others who have proven themselves and have played at a very high level. There’s more pressure on them than there is for guys that have made the team. Those guys have to stay at the top. It’s the pressure to continue to get better and to thrive and be a top performer in this league. Pressure on guys trying to make the team, of course. But, there’s a lot further fall from the guys that have proven it. And the good thing about Kap is what I said at the beginning, is he thrives on that. He really embraces it. Loves to challenge himself. That kind of pressure, that kind of stress, really keeps him stimulated, keeps him motivated. His brain doesn’t get lazy. He understands what’s at stake and continues to improve in all aspects of his game from what we’ve seen.”

Can you share the progress of DL Lawrence Okoye?
“It’s been good. It’s been steady. Now you’re talking about somebody really doing things for the first time. Everything he’s doing is for the very first time, as it relates to football. So, it’s a very interesting case study on how someone learns the game of football. And no question, it’s a process. But, you just kind of wonder what the jump would be from year one to year two for him. And I hope that he continues to show up, listen, work extremely hard, and show enough that we’ll be able to go from year one to year two.”

Has he picked your brain at all?
“Has he picked my brain?”

Or have you offered him advice?
“[Defensive line coach] Jim Tomsula and the defensive staff are the ones that are coaching him. We’ve had some conversations, yes.”

Does it seem like he has that passion for football? Does he love it?
“Yes. He seems to.”

Was there any debate when you guys were thinking about bringing him in about whether he should be an offensive lineman, or a defensive lineman? Did you guys have a discussion on that?
“No, we pretty quickly moved him to defensive lineman and let him start learning the game there. But, he does have an offensive lineman body. I think that’s probably enough ground covered there on Lawrence.”

I’ve got something a little different.
“OK. Thank you.”

Greg Roman was just talking about the extra work in the red zone that’s been implemented at the end of practice. Are you seeing some good things from that extra time that you’re spending?
“Yes, we’re in a phase really where there’s just been a lot put on the players’ plates. We’re trying to keep expanding, keep growing as an offense, and also teach concepts that are brand new to 40 percent of the team. And now, they’re hearing it for the third time. So, more details, more coaching points, and expect, hopefully, an inflection point during this mini-camp.”

He also expects to get in a room, he said he’s going to lock himself in a room with senior offensive consultant Eric Mangini and really study some football. Would you like to observe that, or are you just going to let those two get in there and do their thing?
“Yes, I would like to observe that [laughs].”

What will that be like?
“I think it’d be good. Good football minds, Greg Roman, Eric Mangini, [offensive line coach] Mike Solari, [quarterbacks coach] Geep Chryst, [wide receivers coach] John Morton, all of our coaches. I love the way they bat things around and talk football. So, it’s something that has always benefited us and I expect it to continue.”

How have you enjoyed working with Eric Mangini so far?
“Good so far, yeah. Really good guy, first and foremost. And wants to help our team win games. And that’s what we want him to want to do. And everything has been very good, very productive. Really glad that he’s on our staff.”

How beneficial has the continuity been with the staff over the past couple years?
“Well, it’s been fantastic. Lou Holtz had a great quote he said, quoted I think it was Abraham, ‘I will die leaning on my staff.’ And I’ve adopted that. And it’s certainly the case here and will be going forward. All the guys here have been very committed to the cause of the 49ers winning their next football game. And a great group to work with. They’re the kind of guys that you just stand shoulder to shoulder with and feel great about what’s coming at you.”

Have you read Team of Rivals?
“Team of Rivals, no I have not.”

It’s about Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet. Sorry, I’ll shut up.
“Are you recommending it?”

No, I have no business recommending anything.
“Is it real long? How many pages [laughs]?”

Yeah, it’s pretty long.
“Is it long?”

Yeah. You were talking about the Old Testament Abraham?
“Old Testament, yes. Thank you. Thanks for the recommendation.”

Is LB Darius Fleming good to go this week?
“He’s working through something right now. I wouldn’t categorize it as good to go, though.”

How’s WR Kyle Williams coming along?
“Real good, real good. Great attitude wise. One of the real veterans on the team now. And his understanding of the offense. And as far as his movement skills, I would say, going real well.”

Is this week any different than the past weeks of OTAs, in terms of just the message to the team? Or is this just the capping off of the offseason program?
“In terms of message, it’s consistent like it always is. We’re trying to be better today than we were yesterday. Trying to be better tomorrow than we were today.”

There have been a few reports this offseason about the Seattle Seahawks and their performance enhancement drugs problems and tests. Is that a concern for you knowing that they’re your chief division rival and just what’s going on up there with that team?
“Is there concern? I’ve definitely noticed it. You don’t know what it is. Even when people say what it is, you don’t know that that’s what it is. For this, throw it out, or it’s that. But, that’s usually the agents of the players themselves saying it’s, for example Adderall. But, the NFL doesn’t release what it actually is. So, you have no idea. You’re taking somebody at their word, that I don’t know that you can take them at their word, understanding the circumstances.”

How do you address that stuff with your players?
“Has no place in an athlete’s body. Play by the rules. And you always want to be above reproach. Especially when you’re good, because you don’t want people to come back and say, they’re winning because they’re cheating. And that’s always going to be a kneejerk reaction by people, I’ve found in my experience ever since I was a little kid. So, we want to be above reproach in everything, and do everything by the rules. Because if you cheat to win, then you’ve already lost, ccording to Bo Schembechler. And Bo Schembechler is about next to the word of God as you can get in my mind. It’s not the word of God, but it’s close.”

So, do you mention once at the start of camp? Or do you keep coming back to that stuff?
“That’s a constant theme.”

Do you have an update on RB Marcus Lattimore and where he’s at right now?
“Where Marcus Lattimore’s at? He’s right here at 4949 Centennial Way. Showing up, working hard, listening.”

His progress?

“Doing good. He’s doing good, yeah.”

I was talking to a University of South Carolina fan who talked about the impact that Lattimore had on the program, getting recruits to come and kind of changing the culture of the program. Has he had any impact so far on the team?
“Well, that certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to me to hear that, that he had that kind of impact. He is one of those gifted of personality and character. One of those top guys that you come across. And we had heard that, and we had been told that. But, when you see it knee to knee, it’s impressive and we’re sure glad he’s a 49er.”

Is everybody here that, did everybody report for mandatory? Or are you missing?
“Yeah, we know. We’ve got everybody covered and know everybody’s whereabouts, yes.”

Any expectations on getting S Eric Reid’s contract done in the next few weeks?
“Don’t ever really talk about contracts in the press. But, I’m sure something will be done.”

You said you knew the whereabouts of everyone, is there someone who’s not here?
“Yeah, there are a couple guys who aren’t here.”

Can you share that with us?
“No, no need. We’re good.”