Nolan's Notebook: August 12

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RE: Opening Statement:
"Alright, questions?"

RE: Is the quarterback situation getting down to one player?
"No, we're just practicing, trying to get better."

RE: On August 3rd you said there were 15 practices remaining, you were going to split up the remaining practices meaning, three, three, three with all the quarterbacks working with the first team. What has changed since then?
"We've re-adjusted who works with what group."

RE: And why have you re-adjusted that?
"Just trying to get better prepared for some of the things going forward that's all. A little bit more continuity, but no final decisions were made yet."

RE: Is there still a rotation?
"Yeah, but it's less rotating than it was before."

RE: So J.T. O'Sullivan's going to get the start this week?
"I haven't decided that yet."

RE: He is getting all the starts with the first team?
"Well, this is still training camp practice. We haven't started preparing for Green Bay quite yet. We'll start on Thursday."

RE: Is it safe to say now, you've decided between two—it's going to be between two quarterbacks, J.T. O'Sullivan and…"I keep them all alive still, until I say differently, I'm going to keep them all alive. I like all three quarterbacks, I can't stress that enough. I feel good about all three of them. Alex [Smith] obviously is a starter, a healthy starter anyhow, at seven and five and Shaun [Hill] last year in his two starts he had he was 2-0. So I know they both can win games. I feel confident in both of them. J.T. is the newest product to what we've got, so I'm getting a longer look at him."

RE: Will you get more encouraged with what you see?
"I'm encouraged by it. I'm also encouraged by Alex the last few days. He's done a real nice job too. I'm encouraged by what Alex has done as well as in the game. I thought Alex showed a little more calmness in the huddle. He got flushed a time or two, but nonetheless he's done a nice job the last few days as well."

RE: What have you seen from Alex the last couple of days?
"Just calm a little bit better command of the huddle and line of scrimmage of the offense."

RE: How would you say [the quarterbacks] have handled the uncertainty?
"Good question, it's never easy. Promise you, all three, it's difficult. It's a tough situation, but it's not as tough as the game I'll say that. All the work that they get, however much or little it is. It's helpful to them, but it's helpful to our team. I'll continue to say it, I think all three of them can help us win and all three of them at some point may have to."

RE: When you go into the regular season do you want one guy to be the established starter?"No, I don't want musical chairs. If that was what we thought was best for us to win as a team, then that would be it. I don't know if I've seen that work before. It's nice to get continuity in the offense with someone as we've seen evidenced by just about every team, that's what you want to do. Two years ago we had the same quarterback every snap and had a decent year and continued to get better and strengthen throughout the year. Last year we did not have any continuity and therefore you saw the results of that. So we did to look at the big picture."

RE: Is there any concern at this point, that people in the locker room will try to take sides?
"I think we've got enough guys worried about their own area right now. It is training camp. I think guys begin to maybe look at that a little bit more when you're in the regular season. Then it's all about winning. Then they look at that a little bit more. Right now, most of the guys on the roster are making damn sure they know their own job in getting ready, in that respect, but at some point it does change. It goes to that point of who is going to take us there."

RE: Do you look at the first part of this season where the schedule looks on paper to be pretty difficult. Does that shape how you view the quarterback situation as far as you need the guy who is going to be the best guy on September 7 as opposed to the guy who can grow and be better as the season goes on?
"Yes, and to solidify that my goal, our goal as a team right now is to be 1-0, not 16-0, not 2-0, not 3-0, but 1-0 and we'll worry about two after that. So with out question our target is to prepare for the first game and after that we'll go from there."

RE: What do you take away from last year? What can you learn going through what happened offensively?
"Learn from last year? How important coaching is and how important durability is. Consistency, continuity with the players you have on the field and like I said the coaching is important as well."

RE: When is Shaun [Hill] going to start getting reps again?
"I don't know. When it happens we'll all see it together. No timetable on that."

RE: Yesterday's practice for the offense was kind of sloppy. I know you stopped things. Did you see them respond to that better today?
"It was just that very first drill that we went into we started a little sluggish in the morning and yeah I did make a point of that. After that I thought it got a little bit better. I don't know if it was my stopping and having a few words or what it was, but I believe it's important that you do that just to get people's attention, so they understand how important it is what we're doing. As our motto and our focus are, one at a time, we cannot waste an opportunity, whatever drill that is, whatever play. Not to recognize it as not important and have a good drill. The last thing you want to do is we'll get that again tomorrow and fix that. That attitude typically doesn't work. It doesn't fly with me. Anyway that's why I had to stop it yesterday."

RE: Could Josh Morgan win a starting job?
"Sure. It would be one thing if the people he's competing with at that position were established because, for example, Bryant Johnson, who is a very good player, we want to see Bryant on the field playing. I think he did a hell of a job in mini-camp and in the OTAs, but at the same time, if he's not out there performing it's difficult to get ready for the first game. He's got to back on the field. Otherwise, he's still an unknown commodity when it comes to game time. Obviously practices and games are different; it's as close as you can get in practice, but they're different."

RE: Jerard [Rabb] and Robert [Ortiz] looked pretty good the past couple of days. Can you touch on that?
"As was the case with Josh Morgan, when the front line guys get injured, you get more reps. So Rabb's reps have helped him quite a bit as far as getting in there and getting to showcase what he can do. With a healthy front line of guys, you don't get as much of a look at those guys. So, he has helped himself in getting these reps. Now when he gets in the game he needs to do the same thing."

RE: Could you talk about the addition of Takeo Spikes at the linebacker position and what he's going to bring to this team?
"Only time will tell what he does bring, but our anticipation is that he'll bring the same thing he's done the last couple of years. He's a solid player at this point in his career and he's experienced a lot of things. He's a bright football player. He's instinctive. He still makes plays. He's also got very good leadership ability. And he's still driven. He's got some goals not only personally, but as a football team that he has not achieved yet as a player and those things are important to him. All of that coincides with what we're trying to do as a team."

RE: What did you take away from that two-minute drill at the end with J.T. [O'Sullivan]?
"I'll have to look at it on film. I like the way the guys competed and the way that they managed the clock. He got up there and had a couple of spikes he had to do. He did a nice job. He used a hard count and got the defense off-sides. He had a free down. Overall, the offense did a good job on it. We did have the one free down, they let a lineman penetrate after the guy jumped off-sides after the snap. Again, I have to compliment the defense on that. They're working and it's important that they do well. But it's good. It's competitive. That's what's kind of good about when we get in a two-minute drill. They know that the ball is moving and you try to keep it out of the end zone, or the offense, trying to get it in the end zone."

RE: Does [J.T. O'Sullivan] do that hard count particularly well?
"Yes, he has done a good job with it. They all have a little bit of a different style. That's what I was telling you the other day about all the other 10 players on offense. Whoever it is in there with the different quarterbacks, they have to really be focused because a hard count by J.T. is different than a hard count by Alex or Shaun. It takes a lot of discipline to stay on-side. So we get a little more focused."

RE: How does it change the dynamic having Mike Martz out there? And how do you guys get together out on the field?
"Whether it's Mike or Greg Manusky, I guess you're alluding to the fact that he's been a head coach? I had the same thing with Norv Turner, although Mike McCarthy was not a head coach. He's getting ready to be one, obviously. It's important that your coordinators are able to command the respect of the players to do the things they need on the field and in the meetings. When Mike's out there, Mike has got great command of the offense he runs and also of the players because they know that if they pay close attention, do what he says, they'll be productive. What it means to me is that the offense is being watched over by a pretty good eye. I can watch it but my expertise is in a couple of other areas. Every coach needs that. Every head coach in the NFL needs good coordinators that can command the respect of the players."

RE: As of right now, who has the edge on the quarterback position?
"It's all the same as it's been: three guys all even. We haven't named anybody."

RE: You said this morning on the radio that…
"He has better command of the offense. That's why he's taking the reps."

RE: What about injuries today?
"Cramping by [Adam] Snyder. Jonas [Jennings] just tweaked his ankle a little bit. Arnaz Battle strained his opposite hamstring. Other than that, it's the same as normal."

RE: Another hamstring? Is he going to miss some time?
"He won't practice today or tomorrow, I don't imagine. We'll see. I'm going to check but that's frustrating."

RE: Are you going to go get somebody just to practice?
Right now, our numbers are okay. As you guys are will witness in seeing out there, whether it's Arnaz or Ashley [Lelie] or B.J., those are three guys that, with Jason Hill as a fourth, are nicked up. But, as we've already noticed, Josh Morgan would not have gotten noticed if they hadn't. And he's done a very good job."

RE: Is there any chance he's getting too much work and starting to break down?"He had a virus yesterday, so he broke down a little bit. It's extremely important in this offense that the receivers are in great condition. As we reflect on the Rams and you watch Holt and [Isaac] Bruce, late in the games they make a lot of big plays because they're in better condition than most people. In this offense, you've got to be well-conditioned as a wide receiver. This is the time right now to learn that. As much as it's tough on them out here in the heat, it's extremely important for them going forward because they must be in great condition. You can't just be a first-half player. In this offense, if you're a receiver you'd better be ready to run four quarters."

RE: Is that part of the reason that Isaac Bruce gets a lot of the reps?
"I think it's more of his 15 years. If he was a younger guy, he'd be doing what the younger guys do. He knows it and he is a well-conditioned player. He just understands what it takes and by the time we get to the season. He's in good shape now, but we're just trying to take care of him."

Please submit your questions via email to xandowithnolan@niners.nfl.com and then check back next Friday to see if your question was selected!

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