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Baas’ HS Coach Nominated for Award

Posted by Sam Good on January 21, 2011 – 12:29 PM

49ers center David Baas knows he wouldn’t be where he is today without the help of countless coaches along the way. And one of those coaches, John Sprague, has been named a finalist for the 2010 NFL High School Football Coach of the Year Award.

Baas was one of two NFL players who nominated Sprague, head coach at Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla.

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49ers Excited For Remaining Games

Posted by Taylor Price on November 2, 2010 – 5:08 PM

Earlier today, I asked Mike Singletary if his players and coaches could draw inspiration from the San Francisco Giants, who spring-boarded their way to a World Series title thanks to a furious finish in the second half of their season.

The head coach replied: “I’m very proud of what they were able to do; what they were able to overcome, the setbacks and what have you; very proud of them, that’s good stuff. For us, it’s a matter of, as I said before, for some teams it would be pressure, but for us it’s an opportunity. And that’s what we see and that’s how we’re going to take the second half of the season.”

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Singletary Praises Offensive Line

Posted by Taylor Price on September 21, 2010 – 1:02 PM

Before Mike Singletary could highlight the positives (offensive line, Alex Smith, Frank Gore) and explain the negatives of Monday night’s game (four turnovers and a safety); he thanked the 49ers Faithful first.

“It was great to see the fans excited for the game,” Singletary said in his opening comments. “They were effective with the loud noise they made.

“They gave us energy.”

Singletary also praised the contributions of many of last night’s key participants, most notably, his coordinators, his quarterback and his offensive line.

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Monday’s Locker Room Talk

Posted by Taylor Price on August 16, 2010 – 7:33 PM

Mike Singletary’s Monday postgame press conference kept getting bumped back and now we know why. (Hint: it probably had something to do with the signing of Brian Westbrook to a one-year contract).

But once Singletary addressed the media with Westbrook at his side, the 49ers head coach had plenty of positive reviews from his team’s 37-17 road victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

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Monday’s Locker Room Talk

Posted by Taylor Price on November 23, 2009 – 4:20 PM

A day after his team dropped its fifth game of the season by less than seven points and sixth overall, 49ers head coach Mike Singletary hinted personnel changes were on the horizon.

“I am confident that there may be one or two [changes], but I am still looking at the film,” Singletary said.

Although he would not show his cards on the potential changes, Singletary vowed his players would perform better in the remaining games.

“I am confident that this season will be a good season,” Singletary said. “We’ve got six games left. I am convinced that we will play better.”

Despite dropping another game behind the division leading Arizona Cardinals and the rest of the NFC teams muddled in the Wild Card race, Singletary believes the 49ers can still reach their goals.

“At the very start of this season, our goal was to win enough games to go to the playoffs. That is still our goal. That has not changed, will not change. In my mind, we’re good enough to do that,” he said. “We just have to get it done.”

Singletary’s press conference included several questions pertaining to the shotgun formation that the team predominantly used in the second half against Green Bay to score three touchdowns.

“I think, as we go forward, we have to really look at what’s working for him and what works for the offense and continue to do more of those things,” Singletary said of tailoring the offense to quarterback Alex Smith.

Smith too was asked a high volume of questions regarding the shotgun attack, but insisted that the second half rally had more to do with desire than the shotgun formation. (You can watch video from his interview right here.)

“When you’re down that much, there wasn’t much left to do but to go after those guys and try to mount a comeback,” Smith said. “We finally made a few plays and got ourselves going.”

The one play that clearly kick-started the 49ers offense and the entire team for that matter, was Smith’s 38-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree on a third-and-20.

“I think it did a lot,” Smith said of Crabtree’s first NFL touchdown. “That whole drive, we made a couple of plays and then we were in third-and-long and Crabtree made a big play for the score – I think that got us going. That’s a little bit of what we needed.”

The 49ers added two more touchdown passes in the second half, but never could get the run game going because they were trailing heavily for most of the game.

Looking back at the film, one could infer that the team is best suited to throw the ball from the shotgun formation on every play – but not so says Smith.

That would require the 49ers entering another ‘world.’

“It’s easy to say let’s go live in that world [spread offense] – but I don’t think it’s realistic. I don’t,” Smith said. “That’s something you evolve to down the road maybe. Right now, it’s about finding that balance. Maybe it’s something you go in and out of, but you still have to have balance.

“We have one of the top running backs in the NFL and we need to find a way to continue getting him the ball and put him in situations to succeed.”

Gore rushed for 59 yards on just seven carries, with his best run coming on a 46-yard gain on a delayed draw with Smith not in the shotgun formation, but rather under center.

More Monday Notes:

-The 49ers had their longest injury report of the season following Sunday’s defeat. (Note that names with a * next to them will undergo an MRI Singletary said). *Michael Robinson (stinger), Michael Lewis (quad), Arnaz battle (leg strain), Jason Hill (left ankle sprain), Delanie Walker (forearm contusion), David Baas (right ankle sprain), Patrick Willis (trap spasm), *Marcus Hudson (back strain), Tarell Brown (left knee contusion) and Reggie Smith (abdominal strain) were all named by the head coach to start his press conference.

-According to Singletary, Smith’s injury was not related to the groin injury that has hampered him all season.

-Josh Morgan’s 76-yard kickoff return late in the game impressed Singletary but wouldn’t commit to naming Morgan as the team’s starting kick returner. “Obviously we liked what we saw yesterday. If Josh Morgan is the kickoff returner, then hopefully he’s not returning too many of them in a game so we don’t have to worry about it too often. I just think that yesterday, he did a nice job when called upon. We’ll have to look at that a little bit more.”


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Sims is Playing ‘Outstanding’ Football

Posted by Taylor Price on November 17, 2009 – 3:31 PM

Coach Singletary had a pretty direct answer in responding to a question regarding the play of Barry Sims.

“Outstanding. It’s a pleasant surprise,” the 49ers head coach said of the 11-year veteran who has filled in nicely at left tackle for injured tackle Joe Staley. “I think he’s done a great job. I’m really excited about what he has been able to bring to that position. I think he’s done a phenomenal job.”

Outstanding, check. Great, check. Phenomenal, you can check that too.

Definitely some high praise for Sims, who has given up just a half sack in two starts this season. Sims practically had three starts, considering that Staley was injured on the first play of the game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Sims’ experience (129 starts in 159 games) has been a big plus in helping the 49ers offense the past couple of weeks.

Upon learning that his coach had called Sims’ play ‘outstanding,’ quarterback Alex Smith agreed with his coach’s opinion.

 “I think just that, he stepped right in and hasn’t missed a beat. He has played really well,” Smith said of his fellow University of Utah alum. “That’s hard to do, come in and play left tackle in this league where you are getting matched up every week against big-time pass rushers; the way he’s played has been great. I don’t think twice back there, I trust those guys up front.”

The rest of the 49ers offensive linemen also have a lot of trust in Sims.

“He’s a salty vet, so he knows what it takes to be successful,” said left guard David Baas, the man who lines up directly next to Sims on the line. “That’s what we expected out of him and we’re glad he’s doing well. We trust each other a lot out there, so that’s a good thing.”

Teammates like tight end Delanie Walker said Sims’ experience is exactly what the 49ers offense needed when Staley went down.

“He’s been doing a great job of executing his assignments and he’s been communicating well with the tight ends on certain blocks that we have to accomplish,” Walker said. “He’s been doing a great job. He’s been a leader for us.”

Walker said one of his favorite things about playing with Sims is how the 6-foot-5, 300-pound lineman enjoys what he’s doing on the field.

“He’s the same guy; he doesn’t change on or off the field. I think that’s what makes him a great person,” Walker said. “He goes out there and does what he has to do. I like to see how he acts, I’ve seen him on the field smiling after a big play and I think when other players see that – it puts a smile on your face.”

Losing a player like Staley might have damaged the mindset of some teams, but the 49ers felt confident in Sims, knowing they had a player who has experienced practically everything a player could experience in the NFL.

“It’s tough replacing Joe, because Joe is a great tackle and a big part of this offense,” Walker said. “But I think Barry stepped in and has done a great job. We know he could do it because he had been doing it for a long time. Nobody doubted him, we knew he was going to step in and take care of the big shoes he had to fill.”

More Tuesday Notes:

-Singletary announced on Tuesday that rookie running back Glen Coffee will return this week after missing the Bears game with a concussion. Defensive tackle Demetric Evans will also return to action against Green Bay after missing the last few weeks with a shoulder injury.

-Other injury news: Takeo Spikes is still day-to-day with a hamstring injury. If unable to play, linebacker Matt Wilhelm will step in as Spikes’ replacement. Only Staley (knee) and cornerback Nate Clements (shoulder) have been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

-Singletary said that veteran wide receiver Isaac Bruce would return to action this Sunday after missing the Bears game (ankle), but would be behind Josh Morgan, who will start opposite of Michael Crabtree against the Packers. The 49ers head coach was non-committal in naming Bruce as his No. 3 receiver, citing that the coaching staff would have to determine the usage of receivers based on the personnel package.

-Asked if having the weekend off was a good thing for his players, Singletary answered: “I think any time you have an extra day or two for guys to get their legs back underneath them, some of the pounding that they’ve taken, to heal and use it wisely, I think it can do nothing but help us.”


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49ers Take Practice Indoors

Posted by Taylor Price on October 13, 2009 – 5:18 PM

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Typically on Tuesdays, the 49ers players have the day off to rest their bodies and spend time with their families.

But that wasn’t the case this week.

With the bye week on the schedule, the 49ers practiced on a Tuesday for the first time since training camp. But it wasn’t a normal practice; the team was forced to move everyone to a nearby indoor soccer training facility with heavy rain throughout the Bay Area covering the practice fields at team headquarters.

“It was like a real cool hangout spot for the kids, that’s what it was like,” cornerback Shawntae Spencer said of the 49ers practice environment. “It was like the gymnasium you would find in a church. It was a little indoor soccer facility with two different rooms. We broke up as offense and defense and went and did our position stuff.”

As professional football players, the 49ers focused on the work at hand and not their unique surroundings.

“Really at this level, you have to get past what your surrounding area looks like,” tackle Tony Pashos said. “You have to forget what the turf looks like; really it’s all about football. It’s about getting the plays right and using the proper techniques. It really didn’t matter where we were at.

“It was something we had to do to adjust to the circumstances and we were good about it. We had a pretty good practice.”

The 49ers went through their normal practice routine just in a different environment.

“We warmed up, did our individual drills, then the round boys would go away and we’d do 7-on-7 stuff while the round boys would do pass rush,” Spencer explained. “Then the round boys would come back over and we’d do the same thing.”

By “round boys,” Spencer was referring to the 49ers linemen.

“I don’t like to call them ‘fat’ and they don’t like to be called that, because they’re not,” Spencer explained. “I prefer to call them by shapes. Everyone has their own shape. You have round guys and you have square guys. For example, [Dave] Baas, he’s like a square guy.”

Both offensive and defensive players were happy to get back on the practice field to work out some of the problems that came up in the team’s 45-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

“It was a good opportunity to get back on the field together as a team after the loss,” defensive tackle Demetric Evans said. “It was an interesting practice, but a good practice.”

Although it wasn’t what they’ve grown accustomed to, the 49ers players were certainly glad to be indoors on a wet day.

“Practice outside, that would have been a nightmare,” Spencer explained. “Everyone is already touchy feely about practicing today, because Tuesday’s are usually our off day. You’re sore and then you throw some rain on it and you’re bound to have a fight at practice. If you fight, then you get to running. You get to running and then everything is going to be all bad.

“Today was like a normal work day without the hitting and things like that. Other than that, we did everything we usually do.”

As long as weather permits, the 49ers will be back on their own practice field Wednesday morning.


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Singletary Moves on From Minnesota

Posted by Taylor Price on September 28, 2009 – 1:30 PM

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The 49ers heartbreaking defeat didn’t have their head coach down on Monday. Mike Singletary seemed to be in usual spirits during his annual day after the game press conference.

“They just make a football play, that’s what happened,” Singletary said of Minnesota’s last second touchdown pass that helped the Vikings win 27-24.

Rather than dwell on the disappointing loss, Singletary wants his players to learn from the experience and use it to get better.

“I think you take it, you learn for it and you get ready for the next game,” he said. “Winners let it go – they move forward. Losers wallow in it.”

Singletary said his team got better in “some areas” but refused to specifically single them out.

Besides fielding a number of questions relating to the game’s surprising finish, Singletary was also asked about the status of running back Frank Gore.

Singletary said that Gore would have an MRI on his strained right ankle later today. Other than Gore, tackle Joe Staley had a knee contusion and will have an MRI later today as well. Also, safety Reggie Smith suffered a groin injury, linebacker Jeff Ulbrich had a right quad contusion, cornerback Dre’ Bly injured a toe, guard David Baas sprained his ankle, tackle Adam Snyder sprained his thumb and linebacker Takeo Spikes suffered a left leg contusion.

Asked more specifically about Gore, Singletary said the injury was not related to the ankle sprain he sustained against the Seattle Seahawks.

Singletary said he hasn’t determined how long Gore will be kept out of action.

“I’m going to do what’s best for him first, then I’m going to do what’s best for the team next,” Singletary stated.

More Notes From Monday:

-Staley looked good to Singletary earlier this morning and the MRI is more of a precautionary measure.

-Singletary said there was a point in the game where he felt the 49ers running game was getting into a rhythm, but Percy Harvin’s 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown stifled all of that. “We were starting to get what we were looking for in the running game.” After the kick, Singletary said the 49ers “had to get back to the drawing board.”

-Singletary on Vernon Davis’ seven catch, two-touchdown performance: “Yesterday was an improvement for him. I think he’s capable of a lot better than yesterday. Hopefully we will see more of that in the future.”

-Singletary also said the 49ers were not in a prevent defense on the game’s final drive. “We were playing a get to the quarterback defense,” he said.


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