San Francisco 49rs Head Coach Mike Singletary and QB Alex Smith conducted conference calls with the New Orleans media today in preparation for the Monday night matchup between the Saints and 49ers at Candlestick Park. Below is a transcript of the calls:
San Francisco 49ers Coach Mike Singletary
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 16, 2010
*In terms of Frank Gore, do you have a personal philosophy of having a workhorse back or is he the type of player that warrants that many touches? *
"I do like the fact that we have a workhorse in Frank. He'll have his opportunities as the year goes on."
So many teams in the NFL use two or three tailbacks to divide the load, but not in your system. Is that a compliment to him specifically?
"Yes, it is. He's definitely the guy that wants the football. That is a credit to him."
*There's some thinking that maybe even you're a more dangerous team coming off that loss. Are you a more dangerous team now than a week ago? *
"I don't know about all of that. I guess the best thing for us to do is just to continue to work and get better. We have a 16 game season."
*Do you not feel a specific sense of urgency attached to this game? *
"Not any more than week one."
*Was the Sunday night meeting something you've done in the past or have you ever been a part of that? *
"As a head coach, I think it's important to have the pulse of your team and for me, things were addressed after the game. I just wanted to make sure that when we got back that everybody understood what I said and exactly what I meant, so we were on the same page, so we didn't have any conversations in the parking lot or in the bathroom, outside. I'm the kind of guy; I always like to make sure people understand what I'm saying very well. I don't like gray. I let you know exactly what I'm saying and what I mean."
*Can you give us the Cliff's Notes version of what you said and what you meant? *
*Did you feel that when you drove home that night, assuming you went home, did you feel better about things that night? *
"I just knew that there was no misunderstanding after that meeting. I didn't want any loose ends. I felt very good about that."
Did you practice yesterday or give them yesterday off?
"We practice every day."
*Did you feel things have been crisper since the talk and the game? *
"From week to week, I'd like to think we get a little bit better from one week to the next."
*In your opinion as a coach and as a player it has always been thrown around that teams get better between the first and second game. Is that something you've experienced in your career? *
"I've never really looked at it like that, but I think when you have something you are trying to build you definitely want to see the things you did the week before corrected. If they don't get corrected then there are some issues deeper than reaches the surface."
Did your defense not play as bad as the score indicated in that you gave up only 242 yards?
"I was encouraged by a lot of things they did. I thought in this league when you turn the ball over, especially in the red zone, it's going to be difficult to win football games. As long as you don't lose sight of that and understand that, you have a chance to put things in perspective and move forward."
Is the Saints offense a big challenge? Having a little bit of a rough time against the Vikings, how much of that can you pick out of the Vikings to help you?
"I just think that we are playing the World Champions of last year. I think it's a tremendous challenge for us. I'm very excited about that. You look at the Vikings game and you look at some other games from last year, they are a very well-coached football team. They play hard. They're a physical team. We just have to continue to do all we can to prepare ourselves for Monday night."
San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 16, 2010
You guys had some disappointments in the first game and some publicized in-game communication issues. Is a lot of that chalked up to week one?
"Yes, definitely. You talk about the communication problems people say we were having…That's a loud environment. It's nothing new there. It's fixable and we'll address it. We have to put that game behind us.'"
So much is being made of it from a Saints standpoint that this is such a big game for you guys and that as the World Champions it means a lot. Every game is important, but is this a big game for you guys to get back on track by hosting the defending Super Bowl champions?
"Yes, it speaks for a lot of reasons. Every game in the NFL is really huge. You only get 16 games so every one is vital. We got them at home, it's our home opener, it's on Monday Night Football and they're defending Super Bowl champs. It's a big game."
Personally this was a big year for you after getting the starting job back. How do you feel after your first performance?
"I guess the thing I take away from the game is that we failed to execute on critical plays. We had some drives in that first half and dominated the time of possession and just failed to execute on key situations in the red zone, especially on offense, so for me, it's just playing quarterback, getting the ball out when I have to, making good decisions, giving my team a chance to win. It's going to continue to always be my focus. I try not to make too much of it. It's big enough when it's Monday night, the lights are on and you're the only show on. I'm just going to continue to try to do the little things.
Being around Mike Singletary for the last couple of years, it wasn't a surprise he got upset Sunday night?
"Not a shocker. We were all upset. I think the expectation level that we had and to go out, the way the game worked out, I think everyone was pretty upset afterward. I don't know if the score told the real story. It did get away from us in the fourth quarter. We still have to execute better on offense as a team on offense, defense and special teams. It's something we're looking to put behind us."
How aware are you of your body language when you're out there?
"Pretty aware. As a quarterback, guys are looking to you to step into the huddle communicating. A lot is made of your body language. We look so much into this and things don't go your way sometimes. It can be frustrating to make any good body language and stay positive, especially in the heat of battle. I'm definitely aware of it as a quarterback for sure, how much the guys are looking at me, especially the way I talk to them, the way I look at them, the way I address them, all those things no question is a form of communication."
Do you think it's also important for the opponent to not see you frustrated?
"For sure, but definitely don't think it starts with you. Oftentimes you get too focused on your opponent, especially when you're struggling. I think at times, it starts from within. You have to get in a rhythm. You have to get on track when things aren't going well and keep hitting all the language there."
I don't know how close you and Reggie Bush have stayed in touch over the past few years, but it is pretty stunning with everything that has gone on over the Heisman issue lately?
"Yes, you pay attention to it. I haven't talked to Reggie in a little bit now. He's probably going through a lot dealing with this. It's continued to nag him for the last few years now. I'm sure he's excited to finally put this behind him. You definitely follow it. He's someone I grew up with and will always be close to."
In your film study of last week and from last year, has Roman Harper improved in pass coverage?
"That's a great question. I haven't studied enough in his background early on in his career, watching games from last year and this year. He's a really solid player, especially in the box. He can tackle and he's going to be sound in the box. I think he has a good understanding. I think everybody has a good understanding on that defense of what they're doing. They know how to do it. They play fast. You talk about the safety; he's probably the one back there communicating it. He is playing fast right now."
What impressed you about the Saints defense the other night against the Vikings?
"They throw a lot at you as far as a quarterback goes. They give you a lot of different looks. It's not like you're going to see a one front, one coverage type of deal. They're going to be all over the place. They're going to give you a lot of different looks. You have to be all over everything. They change a lot week to week and you have to be ready for that. They do some unorthodox things. They're going to do some things that no one else is doing and you have to be prepared for it"