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.”
Tags: David Baas, Eric Heitmann, Manny Lawson, Troy Smith
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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.
Tags: Alex Smith, Chilo Rachal, David Baas, Eric Heitmann, Frank Gore
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Starting on Monday of next week, the 49ers will begin their organized team activities at team headquarters with a two-day session. The other 12 pad-less offseason practices are likely to occur after the NFL Draft in late April.
Last year, the 49ers first OTA session included a rigorous conditioning circuit that left the players better prepared for how head coach Mike Singletary likes to run his offseason practices.
In year two, players who have been working out at the facility feel like they’re ready for what’s to come this time around.
“Being here helps out a whole lot, you’re able to bond with the guys and get to work with them early,” fullback Moran Norris said. “We have OTAs Monday, so these last two weeks have been good for familiarizing myself with the new guys. And when the other guys come in on Monday, it’ll be like we have a big ol’ family.”
Last year’s rookies who were introduced to a similar circuit training session for their first NFL minicamp are also benefitting from their time at the team’s offseason conditioning program.
“It’s different than the type of training I did in college,” second-year linebacker Scot McKillop said. “I definitely like it. It’s more position-specific for the player.”
After each player underwent performance testing in the opening days of this year’s offseason program, the 49ers strength staff have since implemented designed workouts to help each individual.
“I’ve been here two weeks and we have a great turnout of players. This isn’t mandatory, but a lot of us are here,” McKillop added. “I know we’re all excited about the upcoming season.”
But are they ready for a possible round of circuit conditioning?
“I don’t know if we’ll do that again,” McKillop said. “But regardless of what we do, we’ll be prepared.”
Essential in getting the most out of the Monday-Friday offseason workouts at 49ers headquarters, is compiling the perfect playlist for the weight room.
Most teammates would agree that the right song can get the entire room amped up for whatever lifting they’re doing at the time. The only problem is getting the players to agree on the soundtrack.
Currently, Norris resides as the main offseason DJ when the skill players are lifting. But he’s willing to take input from teammates on new songs to add.
Norris recently unveiled his latest creation for the second week of the team’s offseason condition program.
“I just put on songs that I knew guys would get up to and get the weight room going,” the 10-year veteran said earlier in the week. “Our strength and conditioning staff does such a great job with everything; I just try to help our (lift) numbers get up.”
Norris’ selections included up-tempo music which helped the other skill players focus on the tasks at hand.
“Sometimes you get an extra push from the music. It makes things a little more entertaining down there, just without the distraction,” McKillop said.
When offensive linemen are the ones stationed in the weight room, center Eric Heitmann takes over the music choices.
“He’ll play whatever rock station that day and we’ll go with it,” tackle Alex Boone said, who prefers the heavy metal sounds of Pantera when he’s lifting.
No need to worry, there will be plenty of time for song selections as offseason workouts have just begun.
Tags: Alex Boone, Eric Heitmann, Moran Norris, Scot McKillop
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Center Eric Heitmann and wide receiver Arnaz Battle will have pride on the line this weekend when their Alma Maters clash in Palo Alto. With a 5 p.m. kickoff, both players won’t get the opportunity to go to the game as they have meetings at the team hotel to prepare for the Jaguars on Sunday.
Nonetheless, both Heitmann and Battle will be sure to check their phones after the meetings wrap up.
“When you think about Stanford football you have to think about their ground game and the power rushing attack they have with Toby Gerhart,” Heitmann said. “I think in the more recent games, what’s given another dimension though is the precision passing game from Andrew Luck at quarterback.”
Battle acknowledged that Stanford has a solid running game, saying, “Gerhart is going to have to beat us.”
But The Fighting Irish have some talent of their own.
“Early on the offense was struggling and people were wondering if [quarterback] Jimmy Clausen was going to be what he was hyped up to be,” said the former Irish signal caller. “He’s turned it around and he’s shown his talent and his capabilities. They have a good wide receiver in Golden Tate and a good running back. It’s a good group of guys. The defense is getting a little better, too.”
Battle’s Irish will also have another opponent beside the players in Cardinal and white jerseys. They’ll also be battling the distractions that have surrounded the program in recent weeks as the heat has turned up on head coach Charlie Weis.
“The coaching situation is getting national attention and they’re being hounded by the media so it’s going to be tough for them,” Battle said. “I feel bad for those guys because I can kind of sympathize with what they’re going through.”
Heitmann hopes that those distractions, combined with the home field advantage, can help his team improve to 7-3 on the season.
“I definitely think Notre Dame has some distractions they have to deal with this week with all the talk about the job future of their head coach,” Heitmann said. “It’s something that Stanford thankfully won’t have to deal with this week. It’s the last game of the season, Stanford has a lot of seniors and they’ll be playing hard for Coach Harbaugh. I’m looking forward to a big victory for the Cardinal.”
A Stanford win would be hard for Battle to swallow as he’s grown accustomed to the Irish dominating the rivalry throughout the years.
“My mentality when I was a player was that we should never lose to Stanford,” Battle said. “I hate to knock them, but that was our mentality because we were so confident. The teams we felt like were tough games were the USC’s. We went down to LSU as well and those were solid teams. Expectations are set so high that this is a game we’re supposed to win.”
Battle’s prediction: “28-24 Notre Dame with a touchdown in the last two or three minutes and our defense finally stops them.”
Heitmann’s Prediction: “I’m going to say Stanford 27, Notre Dame 24.”
Tags: Arnaz Battle, Eric Heitmann
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When the 49ers take on the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday on the road, head coach Mike Singletary’s team will be led by the six team captains he announced on Friday.
Linebackers Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes along with defensive end Justin Smith, running back Michael Robinson, center Eric Heitmann, and tight end Vernon Davis will serve as the 49ers team captains for the ’09 season.
“Those six guys, to me, embody all of the things that we strive to be, in terms of the work ethic,” Singletary said. “Number one, these guys are always working, and they’re team guys striving to do all the little things that we need to do in order to be the best we can.”
Upon hearing the news, the chosen six were extremely honored to have been selected.
“It’s a big honor,” Spikes said. “ It’s big from the aspect that it’s my second year here and it comes this late in my career with another team. It’s something that I accept open handedly. It shows the respect factor not only that my peers have for me but for what the staff has for me.”
Tags: Eric Heitmann, Justin Smith, Michael Robinson, Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes, Vernon Davis
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