After today's practice, the media gaggle surrounded Alex Smith at his locker and asked him what he hoped to get out of the 12 snaps he is scheduled to play Thursday night. Before he could open his mouth, someone in the background yelled out, "A first down." That someone was scourge/mentor/big brother Trent Dilfer, and it led to a discussion of what Smith really wanted out of the San Diego game.
As it stands now, Dilfer has a quarterback rating of 106.6. Smith's is 103.9.
"The goal is to get above 106," Smith said. And then addressing the other heckler in the background, he said, "We don't even want to talk about where Shaun (Hill) is at." For the record, Hill's quarterback rating is 62 but he did lead the team to a fourth-quarter win against the Raiders
Bryant Young has practiced the last two days and he reported that his ailing back has emerged without any issues. Young said he expected to play a few snaps against the Chargers both to sharpen his skills and to develop a little chemistry with his line mates before the regular season begins. "When you're sweating it together - that's so important as opposed to being on the sideline," he said.
Frank Gore took his first handoff in a team situation since July 30, the day he broke a bone in his right hand. Gore was playing with a padded glove on top of his hand. Asked how Gore was affected by his carries, Nolan said, "He leaves me alone when he does. It probably means more to me." Gore got into such a funk about his injury that a few weeks ago, Nolan sat down with him and told him he needed to handle it with a more positive attitude.
And now a subject that everyone seems to have an opinion on. During the group media session, MM asked Nolan what he'd think if he saw a stadium full of suit-wearing fans on Sept. 10. While we were on the subject of threads, I asked the coach if he was still interested in making the throwback uniforms the team's permanent dud. His response: "We're in the process of looking at our uniform. But let's leave it at that." Pressed on the topic, Nolan coyly said, "We haven't game-planned our comments yet." The 49ers will wear the throwbacks on opening night. They have been hush-hush about the second date. What does this mean? Beats me, but it's obvious there is something cooking. Stay tuned, throwback backers.
-- Matt Barrows