The 49ers have officially begun preparation for the first preseason game of the 2009 season against the Denver Broncos on Friday night at Candlestick Park. While the team will focus more on what they need to accomplish rather than matching up against the opposition, there is still a good amount of game planning taking place in the film room.
“Where not going to overdo it, because all of these games are in preparation for the game at the beginning of the season,” head coach Mike Singletary said, following the team’s morning practice. “It’s just making sure you don’t focus on the minor [things] and lose the big picture. We certainly want to go out and do the things that we need to do. All of the fundamentals we’ve worked on here can carry over into the game. And, we’ll get what we want out of that game.”
Singletary said he has not yet made a decision on who will start at quarterback against Denver, but no matter who takes the first snap, the coaching staff will keep a close eye on both Shaun Hill and Alex Smith, with hopes of naming a starter sometime in the coming weeks.
“Hopefully, as we’ve said before, by the third preseason game, we’ll have a pretty decent idea,” Singletary said of who will start the regular season opener. “There is no guarantee that we will name someone then. But, hopefully at that time, we will. I think the preseason games; they play a big role. We’re going against somebody totally different, and we have to see how they respond, how the team responds to them, how they respond to the pass rush, all of those little things.”
One person who will not be receiving much playing time is running back Frank Gore. Singletary hopes to keep him fresh heading into the season and give increased reps to some of the younger running backs.
“I would think that [Glen] Coffee is certainly going to have some time,” Singletary said. “Before game time, we will know; we’ll play it by ear. All I know right now as far as the running backs are concerned is that Frank will not be going a whole lot.”
The matchup with the Broncos will also bring a familiar face to Candlestick as former 49ers head coach Mike Nolan returns as Denver’s defensive coordinator. Singletary still maintains a close relationship with Nolan, who he learned a great deal from during their time with the 49ers as well as with the Baltimore Ravens.
“The most important thing that I learned from Coach Nolan is the work ethic,” Singletary said. “I saw Mike come in and roll up his sleeves and go to work, trying to bring a structure to this organization and trying to bring about a mental toughness and trying to bring about character and all of those things. Mike will always be a great friend.”
Morning Practice Notes:
The 49ers completed the longest pass so far of training camp so far, as Alex Smith found Arnaz Battle deep down the right sideline. The play began from the offense’s own 30-yard line and Smith’s pass hit Battle in stride around the opposite 30-yard line. Battle raced in for the long score.
Fellow receivers Josh Morgan and Dominique Zeigler also made spectacular catches during one-on-one drills. Overall, the receiving corps has continued to impress during camp.
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Tags: Alex Smith, Arnaz Battle, Dominique Zeigler, Frank Gore, Josh Morgan, Shaun Hill
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