SANTA CLARA No decision has been made.
That was the refrain at 49ers headquarters Thursday from coaches and players alike as far as who starts Sunday's game in New Orleans: Alex Smith or his heretofore backup, Colin Kaepernick.
"You know, we're hopeful that Alex gets cleared (today), physically," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "We have ultimate confidence in either."
On Wednesday, one national report said Kaepernick had been named the starter against the Saints while another said Kaepernick was getting most of the first-team repetitions this week. Roman said the practice repetitions have been divided like they were last week with the possibility that either Smith or Kaepernick could start.
"Colin's been getting pretty similar to what he got last week," Roman said. "I mean, he's getting some of the reps and Alex is getting some of the reps, and that's how it's divvied up. It's more play-by-play than 'first-team reps, second-team reps.' I really don't know what that means."
Tight end Vernon Davis also said both quarterbacks have been getting practice repetitions and that he expects a decision today.
"They both have been taking reps," Davis said. "So I really don't know. Colin he's a leader. He's just like Alex. He's been under Alex's wing for the longest (time). So he's had a chance to learn and figure out this game. I'm very confident in both of them."
Smith went through his sixth consecutive practice in a no-contact, black jersey and has not yet been cleared to play in a game. The 49ers hope that final clearance occurs today, which is when the 49ers leave for New Orleans. Is there enough time for Smith to get ready as the starter even if he is cleared, Roman was asked. "That's something that we've got to evaluate and make a decision on," he said.
Roman to Cal? Roman was asked whether he'd been contacted about the coaching opening at Cal.
"I am so focused on what I'm doing right now. Any thought or anything that would distract me from the task at hand for the 49ers for me would not be appropriate," said Roman. "So I don't know, to answer your question. I'm focused on one thing and that's continuing to get better. "
Roman, who has been interviewed for openings at Stanford, Penn State, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh and Tulane in the past two years, indicated he did not have any job interviews during the 49ers' bye.
Injuries There were no changes to the 49ers' practice participation report. Smith, cornerback Tarell Brown (knee), cornerback Chris Culliver (shoulder) and safety Dashon Goldson were listed as limited.