49ers Blog and Q&A

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

May 2, 2011
Reno 411: Kaepernick can learn even during lockout

There is a brotherhood among NFL quarterbacks. We learned that two years ago when Alex Smith and Shaun Hill competed against each other for the starting job but managed to stay best friends. How tight were the rivals? Each appeared in the other's wedding party. In addition, Smith and Aaron Rodgers - while not best buddies - have remained in touch with other, the result of a bond forged before the 2005 draft. The subtext: Only quarterbacks understand what quarterbacks go through.


The latest quarterback pairing is very intriguing. Jim Harbaugh's new protégé, Colin Kaepernick, and his former one, Andrew Luck, met over the summer at the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La. and have remained in contact ever since. They don't call all the time (That's soooo early 2000s). But a steady stream of text messages have been going back and forth between Palo Alto and Reno since they met. The frequency of those texts shot up on Friday night when Harbaugh traded up in the second round to select Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has a new number - No. 7 - and soon will have a new home. He's in the process of moving from Reno to a place near 49ers headquarters, which will put him approximately 15 minutes away from good pal Luck. Will they talk about Harbaugh and his offense? I'll let your mind wander on that one.

Moving to the South Bay also will put Kaepernick in close proximity with Smith and the group of a dozen or so 49ers who have been regularly working out down here. So far, those workouts have been limited to the weight room. However, there are plans to move it onto the practice field, which could be effective in the event of a lockout especially considering that Smith and his mates now have copies of Harbaugh's playbook. If the NFL gets its way and the lockout continues this week, you can bet that Kaepernick will be trying to glean as much information as he can on his own.

Kaepernick was drafted after the lockout was reinstated. Harbaugh was asked that night if he would be disappointed if one of his veterans who received the playbook earlier in the day leaked it to Kaepernick. "I'm not into hypotheticals," Harbaugh said. The next day, Saturday, Harbaugh was asked if there is any advantage to a rookie having the playbook if he has no access to coaches who can explain it to him.

Harbaugh: "I think it's better not having the playbook in his hands, but it does need to be coached, explained. It needs to be interactive, questions being asked, questions be answered, their input coming into the system. I don't know the percentage or how much."

****UPDATE**** Chat is at noon. Log onto www.sacbee.com/live to join in. ... I'm hoping to have a post-draft chat today but am awaiting word on when it will be held. I'll update this site when I find out.

-- 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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