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On the Phone with Spagnuolo and Atogwe

Posted by Sam Good on December 22, 2010 – 5:32 PM

The 49ers are yet to say which Smith will be their starting quarterback on Sunday, but St. Louis Rams’ coach Steve Spagnuolo isn’t fretting over the upcoming announcement.

He’s faced this situation before.

When his team played at Candlestick Park in Week 10 the 49ers were deciding whether to start Alex Smith or Troy Smith. And just last week Spagnuolo wasn’t sure if Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Matt Cassel would be healthy enough to start less than two weeks after he underwent an emergency appendectomy.

In his mind, offenses don’t change much based on who is leading them on Sunday. So regardless of which Smith is under center for the 49ers, his game plan will remain the same.

“You’re really defending the system,” Spagnuolo said in his Wednesday conference call with the Bay Area media. “We’ll have to prepare for both in some regards with their slight differences, but there are a lot of other things that football team does offensively really well, and I think they do it well with either quarterback.”

It was Troy Smith who got the nod in that Week 10 matchup with St. Louis, and the fourth-year signal caller had the best game of his career throwing for 356 yards and one touchdown.

After that game however, teams seemed to key in on Troy Smith’s strengths and he was unable to duplicate those numbers in his next three starts. Still, the Rams haven’t forgotten what happened on Nov. 14.

Safety O.J. Atogwe, whose fourth-quarter, pass-interference penalty set up a 49ers’ go-ahead touchdown, believes his team will be better prepared for Troy Smith this time around if he gets the start again on Sunday.

“We will definitely be more familiar with him and the types of things he’s good at,” Atogwe said during his conference call. “I think that will help us in our preparation, just knowing what type of quarterback he is.”

While facing a different quarterback is only a possibility for the Rams this weekend, they know they will line up against a different running back than they saw in Week 10. During that game Frank Gore was the focal point of the 49ers’ offense, but he has since been placed on injured reserve.

But as Spagnuolo said, he doesn’t prepare for individuals, he just focuses on his opponent’s scheme.

“There are still two good running backs there,” he said. “One of them I am very familiar with and have a lot of respect for (Brian Westbrook, who was with the Philadelphia Eagles when Spagnuolo was the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator), and I know the rookie has done a nice job too, (Anthony) Dixon.”

To listen to Spagnuolo’s conference call, click here.

To listen to Atogwe’s conference call, click here.

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Posted in Game Preview | 22 Comments »

22 Responses to “On the Phone with Spagnuolo and Atogwe”

  1. By Barry Clark on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    My lovely wife & I are coming down from Saskatchewan for the Jan 2 game. Our 5th trip to Candlestick. The Niners are undefeated when we are there. Please make the game worth the trip. Please do not hesitate to change QB’s if needed. Both Alex & Troy are very capable, but it’s not a bad thing to mix up the St.L.-D by switching through the game. It has worked here with the Green Riders.

  2. By Viliam Dugovic on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    Diamonds and 49ers, all come in rag and dirt. But you can in not time polished them.
    If you looking for advantage, what 49ers have, I say it couch. Mike
    biggest disadvantage is, 49ers is big family. Family all and over in NFL and they spoke with each another. What you will do in same situation, when you job dependent on intuition and creativity?
    Example is car industry; secrecy in developing new car model is extreme. Even than, if your opponent needs whole industry, to copy that car. What about NFL? This industry does not need practicably any new set up, if football team has right transform information. Just do it, be prepared.

    I have moment to; difference is i like to be copy. If i can changed future in 49ers,i do not like 49ers new stadium, it is Architectural disaster. It is bad! So bad it make me thing witch kind stadium I will be like. It has to be have home advantage to play in that stadium! And have to be unique to represented football club

  3. By Crespo on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t think anyone understood one thing you said Viliam. Sorry bud.

  4. By Gamebreaker76 on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    At least troy will be starting so the niners have a chance now. I am so done of alex smith he has had his time in San Fran. More than likely there is going to be coaching change’s next year. So I am hoping troy give us a christmas present a game in the playoffs. So here is hoping still for the niners in the playoffs and merry christmas everyone!!!!!!

  5. By Viliam Dugovic on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    Crespo don’t be sorry,sometime i do not believing my self what saying.Bat it privilege that you choose me to comment on my comment.Thanks

  6. By Rick on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    You have to have FAITH everyone. that is all we have as for alex smith or troy they are both great. but im with you on letting alex smith go somewere else after the season . sometimes it just takes a diffrent team or a diffrent coach to give you a boost. good luck to alex were ever he lands. and as for coaching i love the way mr sigleterry coaches he is old school punch in the mouth coach but this is his first year. i hope they dont let him go it they can keep him for the deffence and just get a new head coach so he can consetrate on getting our deffence up I wold love that. I heard a rumor that we may be getting “CHUCKY” ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh that would be great to have both them work together. good luck niners I will be faithfull forever . I have been ever since the 80’s

  7. By Crespo on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    No problem Viliam, is it just me or does anyone else think that TAYLOR MAYS is better than REGGIE SMITH??

  8. By Viliam Dugovic on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    Grespo ,it is just me.I do not know them.

  9. By Hermie on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    @ Crespo, apparently the coaches believe Reggie has picked up the zone coverages better and is out of position less often. I think more of the 9ers problems are at the cornerback. They can’t/don’t want to jam at the line, which gives the receivers a clean release…ala 6+ yards everytime it seems. I think in the off season cornerback is a hugh need for the team. The O-line should start jelling giving Staley will be back..

    We need an accomplished O.C. that Sing. will let run the offense and not cater to his defensive mindset!!

    Sorry Villi…still not sure what you are trying to say!!

  10. By Alex S. on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    i am hoping for the niners to reach the playoffs and definetly Alex Smith gives us the best chance, no doubt in my mind. there are 11 players on the offense and alex is just 1 of them you cant blame all the resulst in your qb. you got to give him support as i know he will make a win this sunday. good luck niners.

  11. By ben on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    have u seen mays try to play coverage? it is worse than the sorry saps we already have out there, frankly they all suck and would b lucky 2 play in the cfl, also i pray tonite that both spencer and clements get injured in practice and never play another down for the forty niners

  12. By ben on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    and i rarely pray

  13. By Hermie on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    Singletary makiong a good decision starting Troy again. We need to see if he can be at least a back-up for us in the future. If you have been watching the 9ers the last 6yrs. you know Alex is not/cannot be a consistent QB in this league. A little pressure up the middle and the whole play falls apart! He has no pocket awareness and if he has to scramble it is 1) incomplete, 2) interception, or 3) fumble. Our team isn’t good enough right now to overcome those things!!

    Troy has pocket awareness and can make things happen if he is flushed out of the pocket. He may not have as good of an arm, but he has much, much more savvy in the little opportunity he has had.

  14. By james on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Guys! You gotta be paying attention. The Niners have been just waitin for this game on Sunday. they have had 3 more days than the Rams for preparing. They have no reason for not being ready! You can argue all you want about who the quarterback will be, but…… the players have to rally around the one who gets the nod. I believe that the coach has a better idea as to who to start….he is the coach….that’s why they pay him the BIG BUCKS. His name has not been mentioned all year long as a faiuling or faltering coach by the owner (who I personally feel the jury is out on) We all remember what DeBartalo was grooming.We loved that! Anyways, I am getting off track…..The niners are a better team this year than last and however they go…they should do better next year and should win their division…..THEY ARE UNLIKELY TO GO TOO FAR THIS SEASON…….I still cheer for them…..Go NINERS Go !!!!!

  15. By silencer49er on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    I agree, sing has made several major coaching errors and Clements is inconsistent. Spencer and Clements have made some big time plays however, it always seems to be Clements chooses what plays he plays hard. They all lack situational awareness. I think Sing should go back to being defensive coach. Our defense was better then. I also think they put to much stock in the preason. They didn’t keep anything a secret.

  16. By Viliam Dugovic on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    I disagree,Singletary is not somebody who can do everything what he like to do.If Singletary like to couching,he has to be careful who tousle he is stepping on.Personally for example i do not have much respect for press,but i am not couch.If 49ers need to change, it is quarterback. But how to do it when Alex Smith is so popular with media?Anyway, Alex Smith had not good one game! An
    What you guys toking about?Do you like football,or politic?

  17. By Crespo on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply


  18. By Viliam Dugovic on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    Crespo hi ,i like you man.
    Reason that you are truly debater and conversational marble.If i can speak slower,believe me ,i would! But you are my family,49ers,i will be nice to you.

  19. By J Parker on Dec 24, 2010 | Reply

    Troy Smith lacks accuracy and Alex lacks heart. What to do? Next year draft two quarterbacks, 3rd round Pat Devlin ( Delaware) and 5th round Andy Dalton (TCU) and then designate Nate Davis as the #1 QB until he loses it.

  20. By Viliam Dugovic on Dec 25, 2010 | Reply

    I believing,that if Nate Davis,who is training team will be QB on one time,and Alex Smith in another time,and than both teams execking QB, Nate Davis will be win both games!

  21. By joey on Dec 25, 2010 | Reply

    if we want a chance at winning our divison WE HAVE TO GO WITH TROY SMITH…………..T R O Y

  22. By coach on Jan 8, 2011 | Reply

    coach Harbaugh you need to check out that quarterback Nate Davis before he gets away. He is agreat young man with all the talent in the world great arm he,s a football player you wont be sorry

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