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Kaepernick Projects Quiet Confidence

Posted Jan 31, 2013

NEW ORLEANS – Arrogant quarterbacks annoy Alex Boone to death. He can’t stand them one bit.

Fortunately for San Francisco’s starting right guard, Colin Kaepernick projects quiet confidence around his 49ers teammates and never seeks personal recognition.

What does Boone enjoy most about the quarterback with a 7-2 record leading the team?

“His swag,” Boone said at Thursday’s Super Bowl media session. “His swag in life.”

Kaepernick’s journey to San Francisco’s starting lineup was unique to say the least. He replaced Alex Smith after the eight-year veteran suffered a concussion against a home tie with the St. Louis Rams. Kaepernick held on to the job with tenacious leadership and highlight-worthy play-making ability.

“The kid is so tough, so quiet, but yet he walks around with so much confidence,” Boone elaborated. “I love that about him. I respect him for it, too.”

Kaepernick enters the biggest game of his life, Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, with the same demeanor he’s kept all season, starter or not.

“I try to stay low-key,” Kaepernick said. “I do what I have to do with the media. Other than that, I am all football.”

The stage isn’t too big for the quarterback with seven regular season starts, third fewest for a quarterback starting in a Super Bowl.

“It’s a great opportunity to get a win and to bring back the legacy to San Francisco that great teams and great quarterbacks have before,” said Kaepernick, who averaged 11.1 yards per pass in the 49ers NFC title game win over the Atlanta Falcons, the highest average for any starting quarterback in 49ers postseason history.

Kaepernick’s been threading opposing defense’s with deep passes, but he’s also been lethal in the ground game with 202 rushing yards and two rushing scores in the postseason. The second-year quarterback’s 181 rushing yards against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoff round comes to mind.

Jim Harbaugh sees the running threat his quarterback presents as the best way to play true, 11-on-11 football.

“Bo Schembechler talked about it before, Lou Holtz has said it, maybe in the best way that I’ve ever heard it, said was that by running option football, it allows you to play 11-on-11,” the 49ers coach explained. “Football without an attack is basically playing with 10. A quarterback that doesn’t block anybody, isn’t an ineligible pass receiver basically leaves the defense with one more than you have. But when you have a quarterback that can run in the option attack, or give, or pitch, you get the numbers back to even, 11-on-11. Long had an appreciation for that type of football.”

So does Boone, who sees his quarterback grinding each week for all 60 minutes of action.

“Having him as a threat is huge,” said Boone, a first-year starter. “When you can play 11-on-11 in a game, now everyone has to be truly responsible for something. It makes it interesting.”

Running and throwing aside, Boone appreciates the leadership from a quarterback set to make his 10th career start at the Super Bowl.

“He’s just so calm all the time,” the 49ers guard explained. “I don’t know, it’s like two different storms that collide. He’s calm, but he’s confident. If we get stopped, ‘Hey, it’s my fault or we’ll do better – great protection.’”

Kaepernick never lets his teammates see him sweat in moments of chaos.

“He’s never negative,’ Boone added. “He could have been slammed in the pocket and he’ll be like, ‘It’s my fault. I should’ve moved or I should’ve gotten rid of the ball.’ He never makes us look bad…I love it. That speaks to his character.”

It’s no secret that Harbaugh felt strongly about Kaepernick from the start of his 49ers career. The second-round pick in 2011 (No. 36 overall) was in fact Harbaugh’s first offensive draft pick.

On Wednesday, Jack Harbaugh revealed a pre-draft conversation with his son in which San Francisco’s coach said Kaepernick was the team’s targeted quarterback of the future.

When the 49ers coach was asked about his father’s comments the following day, Jim Harbaugh downplayed the discussion and put the spotlight back on his quarterback.

“All those questions and answers lead to shameless self-promotion,” he said. “This is Colin’s time. He’s worked extremely hard and he’s done a tremendous job. This is time for the players that are playing in the game.”

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