Kaepernick advises returning UNR QBs to have confidence
For the Nevada Appeal
RENO – Colin Kaepernick has one word of advice for the next Nevada Wolf Pack quarterback.
“Confidence,” Kaepernick said Friday night in Carson City at the Wolf Pack’s annual Governor’s Dinner at the Governor’s mansion. “Just go out there and be confident. Confidence is contagious. It can change the people around you.
“That’s what we did last year. That team had a lot of confidence and it showed on the field.”
Senior Tyler Lantrip, red-shirt freshman Cody Fajardo and sophomore Mason Magleby are competing to become the Wolf Pack’s next quarterback, replacing Kaepernick, who passed for 10,098 yards and 82 touchdowns and rushed for 4,112 yards and 59 touchdowns from 2007-10.
“Tyler’s been (at Nevada) five years now,” said Kaepernick of Lantrip. “It looks like he’s going to be the starter. He knows the offense inside and out. If he goes out there and brings confidence the Wolf Pack is going to be just fine.”
Kaepernick, who was the San Francisco 49ers’ second round draft pick in April, clearly hasn’t lost any of his trademark confidence. The 23-year-old from Turlock, Calif., said he expects to head to training camp once the NFL lockout ends and compete with Alex Smith to become the 49ers starter this season.
“I’m just going to lay it all on the line,” Kaepernick said. “It’s up to coach (Jim) Harbaugh and his staff but I’m going to do all I can to get that starting spot.”
Harbaugh, who was named the 49ers’ head coach in January, was the featured speaker at Friday night’s dinner that benefits scholarships for Wolf Pack athletes. The new 49ers head coach and new quarterback chatted briefly before the dinner.
“We aren’t going to find some grease board and sneak off to some back room at the Governor’s Mansion and talk football,” said Harbaugh, referring to the NFL’s rule prohibiting coaches from working with players during the lockout. “We just said hello, shook hands and made small talk. We’re not breaking any rules.”
Harbaugh, who played in the NFL from 1987-2001 with five teams, said he is looking forward to the day the lockout ends.
“I can’t wait to start training him,” said Harbaugh of Kaepernick. “As soon as that lockout ends, we’ll start working with him.”
The 47-year-old Harbaugh said his rookie quarterback will have a legitimate chance to start this season.
“All I want him to do is come in and compete and just get better each and everyday,” said Harbaugh of Kaepernick. “If he does that, that will equal success for him. He’s got the talent and the ability to be a starter in this league. But that’s all up to him. He’ll compete with Alex (Smith) and the rest of our quarterbacks.
“The best guy will play. The guy who practices the best, the guy who plays the best will play. There won’t be any games, there won’t be any politics. We’re going to throw the balls out there and let those guys have at it.”
Kaepernick has worked out with his 49er teams at players-only practices at San Jose State recently.
“I haven’t even been in the city (San Francisco) that much,” he said. “I live down in Santa Clara and that’s where I’ve been most of the time. I’m just very anxious to get things started.
I’m very optimistic that this lockout will end in the next few days and I’m just eager to get in meetings and start to work.”
Kaepernick, who said he has a 49ers playbook, said he has resisted the urge to call Harbaugh and ask him questions. “It’s tempting,” he smiled. “There are times you just want to make sure you are making all the right reads and doing all the right things. But that’s where Alex has been a great help. He’s answered all my questions and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can.
“This (the lockout) is not an ideal situation. But you just have to make the best of it.”
Harbaugh said he met with Wolf Pack coach Chris Ault on Friday in Reno before heading down to Carson City. The two were introduced by Wolf Pack defensive coordinator Andy Buh, a former assistant of Harbaugh’s at Stanford.
“I’ve watched this Wolf Pack program for about the last seven, eight years real closely,” said Harbaugh, the head coach at the University of San Diego for three years (2004-06) and Stanford for four (2007-10). “I’ve always been tremendously impressed with what Coach Ault has done here. He’s laid down a very impressive career.
“I met Coach Ault for the very first time today and, you know, even before I met him I always felt that we would be very god friends if we ever worked together. And that feeling was reinforced today after meeting him. Our time together was a lot of football talk. And it was great. Coach Ault is all about football. And that’s exactly what I knew he’d be like. It was two hours but it felt like 15 minutes.”