SAN JOSE Alex Smith appears intent on removing any doubt he will be the 49ers' starting quarterback when the 2011 season finally begins.
He organized Monday's practice for the team's offensive players. He arranged to use the facilities at San Jose State. He coached the session, including drawing up plays on a whiteboard and showing film to help teammates better understand coach Jim Harbaugh's system.
Smith even booted reporters out of the Spartan Stadium bleachers so his teammates could conduct their on-field practice without distractions. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did the same with New England-area media last week.
"I'm not surprised because I know Alex," tight end Vernon Davis said. "I've been here with him. That's what leaders do. He's a leader. He's trying to set an example. And that's what we need around here. We need Alex to step up like he's doing."
One player, however, isn't convinced Smith will be the starting quarterback. That player: wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
Crabtree was one of the 26 players most of them from the offense at Monday's session. While nearly every receiver on the roster, including another presumptive starter, Josh Morgan, already has had throwing sessions with Smith this offseason, Crabtree has been absent from the workouts despite being in the Bay Area the past two months.
Asked if he thought those sessions are valuable for building chemistry between receiver and quarterback, Crabtree replied, "Who's the quarterback?"
When told it was Smith, Crabtree responded: "He's the quarterback? I'm just asking."
Crabtree later said he would support "100 percent" whoever the starter turns out to be. He also said he would take part in all team activities like the one this week, but he preferred to train by himself.
"I work out hard," he said. "I'm one of the hardest workers on the team. You can write that down I work out hard, man. That's just what I do. I'm not worried about what people are saying. If the guys are out here, I'm here. They have to know that. They have to understand that."
During a normal offseason, the 49ers already would have had two minicamps and would be midway into the so-called organized team activities designed to help them learn a new playbook and build chemistry. The lockout has wiped out those sessions, leaving it to players to organize themselves.
Monday's session mimicked a team-run practice. It began with classroom study, moved to an on-field practice session, and ended with conditioning and weight-room work.
Morgan said Smith began with the basics, including snap counts and how to break from the huddle. But the receiver said the team also got into the playbook and will go deeper into it as the week progresses. Smith said he would address the media later in the week.
Morgan and fellow receiver Kevin Jurovich have been working closely with Smith this offseason, and Morgan said he was acting as a de facto assistant coach during this week's practices. Fellow receivers Ted Ginn, Kyle Williams, Dominique Zeigler and rookie Ronald Johnson also were on hand Monday.
"It's not hard," Morgan said. "If we get a couple more of these (minicamps), depending on how long the lockout is, we could get the whole playbook (in)."