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Singletary's Notebook: Aug. 2


Opening Statement:
"Pretty decent practice this morning, not great. We have to continue to work on our fundamentals. I got to continue to work on technique and get our guys to understand exactly how we want to tackle, making sure our heads are up at all time, our feet are in the right place, and our eyes are in the right place. The nutcracker drill; we will continue to work on that, we will continue to do different things with it, but I want our guys to understand the whole leverage point of football, and once again, its all about keeping your face up. You cannot play this game with your head down. A lot of times when you do that, that's where the accidents happen, when your head is down. When you're going through a lot of drills that we're doing right now, it makes you hold your head up. So that's the thing that we're going to strive to do in these next few days."

On standout players in the nutcracker drill:
"You know, there were a few guys but I'd have to go back and really look at the film. Guys are really still trying to – some guys are focusing more on the technique and really getting off, some guys are focusing more on just trying to get it over with, just trying to run and go through it, and the thing that we want is there to be a progression from the classroom to the individual period, to nutcracker throughout practice. The consistency that we need to have as a team, that's the thing that we are trying to strive for."

On the different versions of nutcracker drill and today's focus:
"Today was about just being fundamentally sound. It is as simple as that. We got a quick whistle, you make contact, eyes up, butt down, back flat, making sure your feet are shoulder width apart – basic one on one in terms of how to come off the ball and how to attack an offensive lineman or a tight end."

On what the other versions of the nutcracker will look like:
"There will be some versions of it where there will be movement. A lot of times you look at a guy and he may be great going straight ahead, but once that line starts moving and they find a weakness, they can go right or they can go left, it creates problems for our offensive line if we don't work on it. We find that you play a 3-4 team and you know those guys- that noseguard is going to be sitting there, those ends are going to be sitting there. It makes a difference when you're playing a 4-3 team because that front line is normally smaller and quicker. So now, it's a different game. You may beat the snot out of the noseguard one week and then play against a smaller, quicker, more agile line and its going to look like you're not very good. But if you don't work on it, it's not going to happen. So that's the thing. We're just- every little thing that we can do, some things that we have issues with from time to time, last year, we want to make sure that we can implement them so we can isolate those situations so guys can work on them."

On DT Khalif Mitchell:
"He's shown me that he is a very gifted young man that has to get under control. He is one of the guys that will put his head down. And guys that put their head down tend to have a concussion from time to time. So the thing that we're striving to do - that's why we're taking our time to go through it, so they understand. It's like anything else, where you go and you do something and you're going to argue with your coach and tell them, 'that's not what I'm doing, I'm doing this.' You get it on film, and the coach has a chance to show this kid so that he believes, 'okay you're right, I do have my head down. I am a little overextended here. My feet are too close together or too wide apart.' So those are the kind of things that we are trying to work through across the line here."

On the nutcracker drill changes:"All we did was add on to it. We are still doing the same thing that we did last year. And the other thing that I want you to understand is, that if a guy gets hurt in the nutcracker drill, the nutcracker drill is- if we're going nine on seven or if we're going team, if you take that one guy and just put him over here, and have him go against that guy, that's all our nutcracker is. We don't have any drills where guys just bang each other until the other one drops. We don't have that. There are different versions of it, but when you say nutcracker, when you say Oklahoma, people start talking, 'oh man, they're just going to beat each other down.' No, it's not that. What we're trying to do is be a fundamentally sound, technically sound team, because that team is the team that's going to win those tight games, those close games. The better team that you play, the more technically sound they are, and that's what we're trying to do across the board, make sure that we are that team."

On expectations for the nutcracker drill based on size of the player:
"The thing that we were doing there is, what you want to get is the engagement. Because it's an unrealistic situation. It's the same thing that we have that you've seen for years where you have a running back that is sitting there and you have the outside linebacker that is sitting there. And that outside linebacker may out –weight the running back by 40 pounds. He's going to take a running start and run through that linebacker, or run through that running back that may be less than 200 pounds, and that guy may be 270, 260. The thing that we're trying to do is have our guys understand what leverage is. In football, the low guy normally wins. You can be big, you can be strong, you can be fast, but if you can't bend, and if you don't have leverage, chances are you are going to lose a lot of those individual battles."

On G David Baas:
"Baas, I think Baas, from the early reports, I think he has a light concussion. A mild concussion, but I'll find more out about that."

On QB Alex Smith's comfort zone:
"I'm hoping he gets more comfortable as we go. I just think that as we're out here we just have to continue to allow him the snaps that he needs to continue to get better. But he has the control of the offense, it's just a matter of making sure that he takes the time to really see the whole defense and not just maybe sometimes look at the safety. You've got to see the whole thing."

On the offense versus the defense in today's practice:
"I think right now, if you were to go across the NFL, you would find that most defenses are going to dominate their offenses. Simply because on the defensive side of the ball, there's not as much detail that you have to understand. On offense, that guard has to communicate every little thing that he is doing with that center, and that center has to communicate across the board. The quarterback. Everybody has to be on the same page on the offense. Normally the offense is going to be a little slower coming. Our defense, our defense you go over there and you say, 'I want you to go get the guy. Let's go.' That's a different deal. So that's kind of what I see."

On whether he was displeased with the offense during practice:
"At times. But at times I was displeased with the defense as well. Right now the thing I want our guys to understand is that this is a work in progress. We have to build each day, each practice that we come out here. We want to make sure that we leave that practice – this next practice that we have this afternoon, when we leave this practice, we want to make sure it was better than this morning. And tomorrow, we want to make sure it was better than this afternoon. If we can continue to build on that then we have a chance to be where we want to be."

On G Mike Iupati and T Anthony Davis:
"I think both of them, like most rookies, are just trying to learn the system. They are thinking about too many things. It's tough to focus on technique and fundamentals when you're thinking about, 'where do I go on this play?' Everybody else is moving really fast and for you, the game is not that fast. So I think for them it's just a matter of getting the repetitions like we're doing right now. We're working them in on the first team, we're working them in on the second team, and they are just going to get as many reps as they possibly can and as time goes on, they'll dictate to us if they can be ready to go sooner than later."

On not including the receivers, running backs and defensive backs in the nutcracker drill:"The thing that I wanted to do this offseason, when I got together with the DB coaches, and the wide receiver coaches, I said I want our guys to have a drill where they practice being physical. So how do we take a version of the nutcracker and make sure that the guys are getting the most out of it? And that's what we did. We just looked at different things that our guys could do, more defensive, DB, and receiver friendly – things that they would do normally, in a game. The things that we do in the nutcracker, that's what we do in the game, offensive and defensive line, but the running backs, the DB's, the receivers, it's not the same thing. They don't ever just run and go hit somebody. It's a big difference, so we're just trying to make more sense of it."

On RB Frank Gore's weight and if he wanted him in lighter:
"No. I don't really get into a lot of the weight and stuff like that. To me, if a guy can play, he can play. The only thing I get concerned with is if I talk to our trainer or if I talk to our strength and conditioning guy, if there is a big differential between when he left and when he came back. Now that concerns me a little bit. We have to put a red dot on that guy and watch him, and make sure that he gets back to that weight where if he's packed it all offseason and what he was last year, and try to figure out what's going on there, if it's a positive thing or if it's a negative thing."

On whether RB Glen Coffee's weight gain is a positive thing:
"So far. So far, it's okay, but probably by the end of this week, we'll have a better idea because our guys will be pretty worn out, pretty tired, and really, you begin to see the effect of two a days, you begin to see the effect of training camp and the weight factor, the conditioning factor, that all comes in after maybe three days."

On TE Vernon Davis:
"Vernon is a guy that understands that you have to come out here and just do the best you can. Vernon loves the game, he's focused, he's making the plays he is supposed to make, and at some point in time, he'll take that next level. But he's just really having fun. He really is."

On where WR Brandon Jones fits in:
"I think Brandon Jones, every day that he comes out here in practice, he's going to tell us what we need to know. I think time will tell. I know he wants to play, its just a matter of doing the things that we need him to do consistently. I thought last year, right before he got hurt, as a matter of fact the day he got hurt, a couple of days before that he was on track. He was making strides and he dove for the ball and hit the ground and hit his shoulder, and it was unfortunate. That was a big setback for him, and he was on track."

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