49ers Blog and Q&A

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

September 10, 2011
What Harbaugh likes about Scott Tolzien

Scott Tolzien doesn't figure to get much practice time this season. The lion's share of the repetitions promise to go to Alex Smith, and No. 2 quarterback Colin Kaepernick will gobble up any scraps that are left over. That doesn't leave much, if anything, for the guy in the No. 3 position.

Still, Jim Harbaugh spoke highly of the rookie on Friday, citing among other things Tolzien's performance last Thursday against the 49ers when he went 16 of 23 for 226 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Heading into the draft, we learned that accuracy and athleticism were the top criteria for Harbaugh's quarterbacks. It's now clear we need to add brains to that list. Both Smith (40) and Kaepernick (37) had impressive scores on their Wonderlic intelligence tests. So did Tolzien (38). Here's Harbaugh:

What do you like about Tolzien?

"I liked him in the 11-on-11 from college, a winner. I liked his mind. I liked how smart he was. I liked him when I went to the combine and there was nobody out on the field yet, but he came out early and was out there throwing the ball around. He was there every day throwing to the backs or to the receivers. He was there on the quarterback's day. He was always the first one out of the locker room just throwing balls, must have been for four to five hours. That's what I noticed first, what I first noticed, first really liked. Liked his tape, liked the way he gets the ball out quick. Liked the way he played against us the other night. Wanted to sign him, thinking hard about drafting him in the draft and then he was a priority free agent signing for us, but we weren't able to get it done. We got him now."

All three of your QBs have had high Wonderlic scores, do you pay attention to that or are you gauging that intelligence in other ways? You had mentioned that about Mortensen (one of his former quarterbacks at University of San Diego) the other day as well. How do you ascertain their intelligence?

"Book smarts, street smarts, savvy play as a quarterback. Some can be tested. You mentioned the Wonderlic, there's how they've done in school. Talking football with them, give them a little test, a little football test, an IQ test and then watch them play. Talk to their coaches, how they'd play and what they can handle. Test then and try to ascertain that the best you can."

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The 49ers are reminding fans of the changes made to their tailgating policy following the violence that occurred during the 49ers-Raiders preseason game. Tailgating is no longer be permitted during or after kickoff. Any fans loitering in the lot after the beginning of the game will be asked to either get into the game, or to leave the lot. In addition, the parking lot will not open any earlier than four hours prior to kickoff (9 a.m. for Sunday).

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW 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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