49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 14, 2008
JTO, starters to play the first half

Mike Nolan finally revealed the secret that everyone and their second cousin has known for the last few days: That J.T. O'Sullivan will start his second straight preseason game when the Packers come to town on Saturday. In fact, the quarterback order will remain the same except that O'Sullivan will play a little longer against Green Bay than he did against the Raiders on Friday. He and the starters will play the first half. Alex Smith will start the second half and Shaun Hill will finish out the game. Some starters, such as Isaac Bruce and Frank Gore, will be taken out well before halftime.

Said O'Sullivan, who is starting only his third NFL game: "It's an opportunity to show what you can do. You can get the mental reps from sitting back there and not wasting a chance to learn from watching someone else do it. But I don't think there's any argument for actually getting in there and getting the game reps, practice reps, of actually making the throws and making the decisions."

As for the receiver situation, Nolan said today that Bruce didn't need to start because of his vast experience in Martz's offense. However, the 49ers are wafer thin at wideout with Arnaz Battle (hamstring), Bryant Johnson (hamstring) and Ashley Lelie (calf) out for the game. Rookie Josh Morgan will start alongside Bruce and play through the first half.

Others who will miss the game are David Baas (pectoral), Robinson (knee) and rookie Lewis Baker (thigh).

With O'Sullivan starting again, the question now is whether he can win the overall starting job with a strong performance. Said Nolan: "It's another opportunity to showcase what he can do. As it is for everyone else."

-- 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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