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Singletary's Notebook: Oct. 13



On whether 0-5 is the biggest challenge he has faced as a coach: **"Absolutely. It's a great challenge. As well as a tremendous opportunity that we have as a team. So I'm excited where we are, we just have to fight going forward and get a win."

On whether it is hard to be excited at 0-5:"It's not hard at all because you know sometimes you just have to take a step back and look at it for what it's worth. When I look at the first five games that we've had, and you know a lot of different things have transpired, but through those things, I think we have become a better football team, and I think as time goes on, we will show that."

On whether the offense will follow QB Alex Smith's philosophy of 'cutting it loose' as Smith stated Monday:"I think, basically, when you look at our offense, Alex is the leader of the offense. And I think Alex has continued to grow, and I think last week he hit a point that was very good for him. And I think it will be very good for our offense, and I think it will be very good for our team."

On why the running game isn't as strong as it was expected to be and how much of that is on the offensive line:"Well, I think when you start the season with a couple of young guys and a new center, that plays into it. You just have to continue to move forward. Those guys are making progress, and we just have to allow their maturity to continue to get there."

On whether C Eric Heitmann is ready to play or still getting into football shape:"We will find out this week where he's at. Last week, we knew that the opportunity was there, but you know he still wasn't quite ready. So we'll take a look at it again this week and we'll see how it goes."

On how G Chilo Rachal is playing and whether he is struggling enough that when Heitmann comes back he will move G David Baas over to right guard:"You know I think, in talking to our staff and talking to coach Solari, Chilo will just have to be consistent with his technique, particularly when he pulls down the line. I think that is the biggest factor right now that he has to do. He's done it before, he did it the week of Atlanta, and I just think he has to continue to go forward and do that."

On who has been the best offensive lineman through the first five games:"(T) Joe Staley."

On how NT Aubrayo Franklin is doing holding the point:"I think Aubrayo, sometimes when a guy doesn't go through training camp, it shows. But he's continued to make progress. He'll get where he needs to go. He'll get where he needs to be, and we'll get there together."

On whether Franklin has a direct impact on LB Joe Staley' effectiveness:"Well, I will say this. In the game that we played last week, there were a couple of bad reads in the game which allowed them to have a couple of good runs, but it had very little to do with Aubrayo."

On whether guards getting on Willis is more due to him struggling or issues up front:"I think teams, teams realize that Patrick is a guy that they have to get on. They have to put a hat on him. Whether they're doing it with the offensive line, I think sometimes it looks like the offensive line when it's a tight end, when it's a receiver coming down cracking on him. But teams have made a decision that, we have to, if we're going to run the ball, we have to get a hat on 52. So I don't think it's just a matter of the defensive line letting guys get to him, I think teams are really concentrating on doing whatever they can with whom they can, whether it's the fullback or the tight end, or the tackle, or the receiver, to that side of the ball, we have to, we must figure out a way to get to Patrick Willis."

On whether the coverage on Willis is different now than it has been in the past three years:"Absolutely. It's one of the things that I tell the guys all the time. The better you get, the better you must become."

On whether he is surprised that it took teams this long to figure out covering Willis:"Well, you look at a guy like Pat, and he's young. You think, okay, he's a second-year guy, he's a third-year guy, and he's an inside linebacker. Normally, it's the outside linebackers that are guys that can get to the quarterback, guys that can really wreck havoc in your backfield. This year, early on, one of the things that we began to focus on more is Patrick getting into the backfield. Blitzing more. So he's a guy that from the inside position, with the speed and talent that he has, teams have to focus on him."

On what they can do to counteract the coverage on Willis:"Well, other guys just have to step up, it's just like basketball or anything else. If you get a guy that's double-teamed, you get to the open guy. So that means if Patrick has two and three guys on him, that means that somebody else should be open, and it's as simple as that."

On whether QB Alex Smith is capable of being more instinctive and not so cautious with his play:"We'll find out. I think the things that he notices, the thing that he knows, I think the thing that really came to him on Sunday, was just the fact that anytime that I go out there and I go out there with an edge, I play the game. I play the game with the best of them. And I think that mindset is something that he has to keep in the forefront of his play at all times. And it's that mindset that's going to take him where he wants to go."

On whether Smith will be on a shorter leash on Sunday:"No, no not at all. I want him, more so than anything else, I want him to play to win. I want him to play the game."

On whether he sees similarities in the discussion he had with Smith to the discussion he had with TE Vernon Davis that turned him in a different direction:"You know, we'll find out. I just think that there are a lot of positive things that have already come out of it. Sometimes you just have to go there, and I think it's important to know when to go there, and I just feel that for a long time, you look at a guy like Alex Smith, and yes, he's had six coordinators, yes he's been hurt, yes he's only played, even though he's been in the league six years, he's only played about two and a half years experience wise. But I just feel that at some point in time, not only do I realize it, but he realized that you know what, I've got to play my game. I've got to be who I am. And go out there and get it done. And I believe that's what he's going to do."

On getting criticism for his outburst on the sideline and whether he worries about what that does to his image:"You know what, I – I don't really get caught up in my image. My image, depending on who you're talking to, it's going to change every day. Just so that I know that I'm consistent. I know that as a coach, the most important thing is that when I see something that needs to be done, that I do it. That I don't start thinking about, 'What are people going to say, what is my image going to be?' I don't really care about that much. I think the most important thing for me is to know that day in and day out, that as I see issues arise, that it's important that I deal with them and not be concerned with what other people think about that."

On whether he sees the team as being desperate or sees their goals still within reach:"I think you'll see on Sunday."

On what he sees now:"I think you'll see on Sunday."

On what can be done to stop turning the ball over:"I think you can continue to think of ways to get it done, but I think the bottom line is each and every player has to take full responsibility. The accountability factor comes in at some point in time, you know that this is the thing that separates us from getting where we need to go. If you have to stay after practice, if you need to come out before practice, all the little things that we talk about, that's what it is. So that's what we have to do."

On how he likes how QB David Carr has reacted to the fans wanting him on the field:"I think the fact that at the very beginning, David Carr was told the truth about what his responsibility is here, and we're not changing, and he's not changing. How he's handling it is how he should handle it, it's how I thought he would handle it. We want to win, and we're going to put the people on the field that we feel that gives us the best chance to win. So that's where it's at."

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