49ers Blog and Q&A

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

May 11, 2012
QB Fleming learning on the fly ... so what else is new?


Count former Sacramento State quarterback Jeff Fleming among the rookies boggled by Friday's morning practice. Fleming said he was having to process formations and concepts during the opening session of the 49ers rookie minicamp he hadn't run since junior college.

"The first practice was really nerve-racking, but by the second practice I calmed down a little bit and really had a better idea of what was going to happen on plays and everything," Fleming said. "It's going to get better as we go, but they're going to throw a whole other load of stuff at us (Saturday)."

Learning on the fly, however, should be Fleming's forte. After all, he had only been with Sacramento State for three days when he was forced into the season opener - against Harbaugh and Stanford no less - in 2010. Fleming had transferred from New Mexico State that week because the staff there wanted to turn him into a Wildcat quarterback.

He entered the Stanford game without knowing the Hornet playbook or even the offensive terminology after starting quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson injured his ankle in the first half. Bethel-Thompson spent training camp with the 49ers last year. He initially made the practice squad but was released after the 49ers signed Scott Tolzien to be their third quarterback.

Fleming, who is taking part in the minicamp on a tryout basis, said he's hoping to make a similar impression on Harbaugh, who remembered him from the 2010 contest. Does he think that's why he landed in Santa Clara for a tryout this weekend?

"I really don't know," Fleming said. "I don't ask questions. The fact is he let me get my foot in the door, and I just want to take advantage of that if it's possible. Whatever happens, happens."

-- 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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