HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Aldon Smith (99), pursuing Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick, denied being "jumped" last week.

With extra preparation, 49ers are almost perfect

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 - 6:40 pm

SANTA CLARA – While the 49ers' players fanned out to all corners of the nation during their bye last week, their coaches were holed up in meeting rooms at the team facility.

Over the last year and a half, that has been bad news for the upcoming opponent.

Since coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff took over in 2011, the 49ers are 8-1 when they have at least one more day than usual to prepare for a game.

Their only loss in that category came in overtime to the New York Giants last Jan. 22 in the NFC Championship Game. That game was on a Sunday; the preceding game, a win over New Orleans, came on a Saturday. Sunday, they will host St. Louis, which also is coming off its bye.

"The coaches – they're always dialed in, no matter if it's a Thursday night game, Monday night game. They're always on it," guard Alex Boone said. "They work here all night. For the Thursday night game (against Seattle), we came in on Monday, and they had the whole game plan in. They looked like they had been up all night. But that's the kind of guys they are. They want to be around here, and they want to see us succeed."

Harbaugh said he and his assistants took the weekend off, the first back-to-back vacation days Harbaugh said he has taken in three or four months. But he said his staff reported for duty Wednesday through Friday last week.

Players return to practice today.

Harbaugh also worked Wednesday – as first baseman Brandon Belt's chauffeur in the Giants' World Series parade in San Francisco.

Harbaugh, who threw his support behind the Giants early in their playoff run, said he got along well with Belt, who is from Lufkin, Texas. Harbaugh said he spent a lot of time recruiting there when he was a college coach.

"Could live in Lufkin," Harbaugh said. "It's a 'Friday Night Lights' kind of setting. Water tower has the high school emblem on it. It's just a great sports town, a great football town."

As for Belt's assertion that Harbaugh got more applause than he did?

"I did not get more claps than Brandon Belt," Harbaugh insisted. "He's exaggerating. Erroneous!"

Harbaugh: Team believes Aldon Smith – Harbaugh said the 49ers have spoken to linebacker Aldon Smith about an alleged bye-week incident at a restaurant in Columbia, Mo., and that they believe Smith when he tweeted, "Didn't get jumped. Stop asking."

Rumors of another off-field incident involving Smith began Thursday when a reporter with the NBC affiliate in Columbia, where Smith went to school at Missouri, tweeted that Smith was "jumped" at the El Rancho restaurant in town.

Columbia police reported there was an early-morning incident at the restaurant but could not confirm whether Smith was involved. A restaurant employee referred inquiries to a manager, who was not in the restaurant at the time.

Harbaugh said general manager Trent Baalke spoke to Smith about the alleged incident.

"What Aldon said to us was the same as what he said publicly," Harbaugh said. "Also you tend to take a man at his word. I don't think there's anything more to add."

Well, Harbaugh had one more thing to say: "I personally tend not to believe everything I read on the Internet."

Smith, 23, has had several off-the-field incidents in the last year.

He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in January in Miami Beach. Smith qualified for a program to reduce the DUI charge to reckless driving. Six months later, he was stabbed at a sprawling party at his house in the hills east of San Jose.

In September, Smith was a passenger in a vehicle that flipped when it swerved to avoid a deer on a road near his home. Smith was wearing his seat belt and suffered only a cut above his eye; the driver was seriously injured and taken to the regional trauma center.

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