49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

August 12, 2008
8 a.m. Nolan vs. 11 a.m. Nolan

So, is the quarterback competition even? Or does J.T. O'Sullivan have the edge? The answer depends on what time of day you listened to Mike Nolan. On KNBR this morning, he acknowledged that J.T. O'Sullivan is in the lead, although he was careful to say that the lead was tenuous and a final decision has not been made. That report was picked up by ESPN, and thus transmitted across the universe. But later in the morning, Nolan insisted that no one had pulled ahead in the race. For the sake of accuracy, here's exactly what he said on the radio and then later after practice:


Host Brian Murphy: Is there a reason you're saying not to read anything into it? Are you being cautious promoting (O'Sullivan)? Or is he actually gaining ground right now and is it time for us to start acknowledging that?

MN: If I was to read anything into it, it would be that he is ... he's probably ... you know, he's more well-versed into the offense because of his background in it. But at the same time, he's also progressed ... Well, I should say because of that he's progressed, you know, a little bit more. It doesn't mean a decision has been made. More than anything else, that's what I mean.

BM: Would it be fair to say he's the lead horse in the race?

MN: At this time, yes, because of what I just mentioned. But again, if it was clear-cut right now, I'd make an announcement or something. But we've got the other guys working very well. I've been very pleased with Alex the last few days. He's made a step as far the offense, feeling a little more comfortable in the pocket doing those things. That's why I say I don't want to get too far ahead. Because one good day, then the guy kind of drops off a little bit. You don't want to go through a roller coaster with a player because they do have good days, bad days. ...


RE: Is the quarterback situation getting down to one player?"No, we're just practicing. Walking through. Trying to get better."

RE: On August 3rd you said there were 15 practices remaining, you were going to split up the remaining practices meaning, three, three, three with all the quarterbacks working with the first team. What has changed since then?
"We've re-adjusted who works with what group."

RE: And why have you re-adjusted that?
"Just trying to get better prepared for some of the things going forward, that's all. A little bit more continuity, but no final decisions were made yet."

RE: Is there still a rotation?
"Yeah, but it's less rotating than it was before."

RE: So J.T. O'Sullivan's going to get the start this week?
"I haven't decided that yet."

RE: He is getting all the starts with the first team?
"Well, this is still training camp practice. We haven't started preparing for Green Bay quite yet. We'll start on Thursday."

RE: Is it safe to say now, you've decided between two--it's going to be between two quarterbacks, J.T. O'Sullivan and...
"I keep them all alive still. Until I say differently, I'm going to keep them all alive. I like all three quarterbacks, I can't stress that enough. I feel good about all three of them. Alex [Smith] obviously is a starter, a healthy starter anyhow, at seven and five and Shaun [Hill] last year in his two starts he had he was 2-0. So I know they both can win games. I feel confident in both of them. J.T. is the newest product to what we've got, so I'm getting a longer look at him."

RE: As of right now, who has the edge on the quarterback position?"It's all the same as it's been: three guys all even. We haven't named anybody."

RE: You said this morning on the radio that...
"He has better command of the offense. That's why he's taking the reps."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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