Coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the media at 49ers headquarters before the team boarded a plane to St. Louis for a Week 13 NFC West matchup.How did the week go?**
"Good week. Got a chance to work on our turf field today. And playing on turf this week. But, overall, good week. Thought the focus was good and the practices were good."
Does the rain infringe upon your preparations at all?
"Probably a couple different ways you could look at that. You get few chances to actually work in the rain. So, always like to get those and use them as an opportunity."
Was that your first turf practice of the year?
You guys added LB Michael Wilhoite to the 53-man roster. What has he shown you over the past kind of year really?
"Michael's shown to be a real professional and shown it's really important to him. Champing at the bit to get on the field. And we'll see if that's a possibility in this game."
How do you find a guy like that? I know he was on the practice squad at the end of last season. But, how does a guy like that come onto an organization's radar?
"From the same school as [former 49ers WR] Joe Hastings. Through the efforts of the scouting department."
Is that a case where they went to see Joe and they happened to see Michael because of that?
"No, Michael came in and worked out last year. It was on a Tuesday during the season. We had brought in, I can't remember how many it was, a few and Michael. And Michael stood out. We signed him to the practice squad right away."
So, is that a signal that K David Akers is going to be OK for Sunday's game?
We've asked the last couple of weeks about concussions, how has S Darcel McBath been coming along? Has he passed all the tests?
"To my knowledge, I'm not for sure on that, if he's gone through every final phase of the concussion test."
Do you know how he'll be listed in the injury report?
Who's your new emergency quarterback?
"[WR] Ted Ginn [Jr.]."
He played a little bit in high school?
Who's the emergency kicker?
"[P] Andy Lee or [NT] Isaac Sopoaga."
I'm not asking you who an emergency guy is, but who's your second kickoff returner and punt returner? Right now RB LaMichael James is listed as both. Is that accurate?
"I think we've gone about as far into the depth chart and the plan as we're going to go there. You get a gold star though on your forehead for getting that information from me. You and [Sacramento Bee beat writer] Matt [Barrows]."
You got so much from your draft class last year and they became such an integral part of what you guys were doing last year. Are you kind of anxious to see what your draft picks can do this year? I mean, some of them might get a chance now after the injuries you've had. Guys like WR A.J. Jenkins and the tailback also.
"Like we talked about the other day, you lose two trusted agents and known friends. But that creates an opportunity for a few other youngsters. And we'll learn more about them and see how they step up. And we're confident that those men will, in those positions. So, next man up."
The carries that have gone to RB Kendall Hunter this year, where do you think they'll be divided up now?
"Among the other backs."
I have another athletic instincts question. Is it accurate that former 49ers head coach Bill Walsh thought athletic instincts were the most important trait for the quarterback to have?
"He did say that to me, yes."
What was his reasoning? Why would he put that at the top of the list?
"He felt like the quarterback was the most athletic guy. The way he framed it was, he could play any sport. He could go out and make the soccer team and the sixth-man on the basketball team, or play center field in baseball. That was the way he described it."
Since you've had QB Colin Kaepernick here, have you had to ask him to take anything off his ball at all?
This is a little bit off topic, but could you kind of comment on what you think Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason, how he would be as a head coach?
"I have a lot of respect for Derek Mason. He's done a tremendous job this year. And quality, quality coach, quality person that would do a fine job."
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman was saying yesterday athletic instincts, he thought a lot of what athletic instincts were were when something doesn't go as planned, and things break down, not just for a quarterback, but for anyone, having the instincts to know what to do and not be a robot. Is that, in your mind, a large part of what they are?
"It's not resonating. What a robot? I don't think anybody out there plays like a robot. But, yeah they're important."
His point was those that have great athletic instincts do not respond like a robot when things break down.
"Who's this talking now?"
Greg Roman, his point was that when you have great athletic instincts, things break down, the X's and O's get jumbled, the guy with great athletic instincts doesn't respond like a robot. He instinctively makes the play.
"Yeah, I would concur."
Does that resonate with you?
"I would concur."
When you say you look for a guy who could play a lot of different sports, when we saw Colin throw that pass to WR Michael Crabtree on the sideline, going left and then throwing back across the body, do you think that that ability comes from his baseball background at all? Being able to go one way and throw the other? And just different arm angles?
Do you see sort of a baseball, do you see remnants of his baseball career in how he plays the game?
From today then you go to a sunny controlled environment. Does it change the way you prepare? Or is it hard to prepare for something like this environment you're going to go to? And then on top of that, the noise from the Super Dome to the Rams dome, does that make it easier that you already played once in the dome, and now you're going again inside where crowd noise can be a factor?
"That experience could possibly help us. Yes. It probably does, to have played in a dome."
But in terms of practice today, do you feel it's real affective? Or at this time of year, you practice so much that a Friday practice isn't that crucial, especially since its outside in the pouring rain and you're not going to face that on Sunday?
"It's all football weather to me and our guys. It could be raining. That's football weather. It could be sunny. That's football weather. Could be inside a dome. That's football weather."