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  • Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colt McCoy, left, tries to break away from Denver Broncos defensive end Malik Jackson, right, during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, in San Francisco.

  • Seneca Wallace, interacting with fans while with the Browns in 2012, joins three other quarterbacks vying for a backup job.

  • Ben Margot / AP

    San Francisco 49ers' B.J. Daniels runs a play during NFL football training camp on Friday, July 26, 2013, in Santa Clara, Calif.

  • Colin Kaepernick said he'd prefer to wear his regular gear in practice instead of a black jersey typically worn by a player who is hurt or returning from an injury.

49ers will play five quarterbacks Sunday

Published: Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 - 8:24 am

SANTA CLARA - Coach Jim Harbaugh will give all four of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's backups a chance to clarify the team's murky quarterback situation.

Harbaugh said Friday the plan is for Colt McCoy, Scott Tolzien, B.J. Daniels and even newcomer Seneca Wallace to play Sunday against the Vikings. Wallace, 33, signed Thursday, received a crash course on the 49ers' playbook that afternoon and went through his first practice Friday.

"We'll split it up five ways," said Harbaugh, who reaffirmed that McCoy will be the second quarterback to enter the game.

Wallace (Cordova High, Sacramento City College) was released by the Saints on Monday. Harbaugh said it was rare to find a nine-year veteran with athletic skills like Wallace's at this stage of the preseason.

"There's numerous plays in our system that he's done before, whether it's Cleveland or Seattle," Harbaugh said. "So it's just a matter of learning how we call them and getting familiar with the quarterback-center exchange. The timing with the receivers may not be precise and exact. But to get out and play and compete - we feel he can do that."

Offensive consultant Eric Mangini, who was with Cleveland when the Browns traded for Wallace, was in favor of the move.

"(Mangini) felt like he could do a lot of the things that a quarterback that can move could do in our system," Harbaugh said. "Thought it would be worth exploring."

Kaepernick's running ability sets him apart from nearly every other quarterback in the league. Wallace is not at Kaepernick's level, but he's more athletic than McCoy and Tolzien, who have struggled in the preseason. The most exciting backup has been another athletic quarterback, Daniels, who's thrown the 49ers' only touchdown pass of the preseason.

Wallace has rushed 68 times for 293 yards in his career. He also has six catches for 106 yards.

"You look at Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin, Russell Wilson and there's others that fit that mold - Ryan Tannehill - they're big, fast and throw the ball very effectively," Harbaugh said. "There's a new wave of quarterbacks. I don't think that's any revelation. But teams are studying how to defend these players, and they're finding out that it's a pretty good combination to be athletic and throw the ball as well as these guys do."

Wallace joked Friday that quarterbacks were told not to run when he was drafted by Seattle in 2003.

"It's a lot different, because when I came in they didn't glorify that," he said. "(They) didn't want mobile quarterbacks. Now they're utilizing a kid's talents, and that's a good thing."

Does Wallace wish he was 10 years younger?

"If I came out now, it's a different story," he said before adding, "I don't have any regrets. I'm happy to be playing football."

The Browns cut Wallace at the end of the preseason in 2012 and he didn't play during the regular season. Wallace said he trained in Dallas and spent a lot of time watching games on TV and seeing quarterbacks like Kaepernick and Washington's Griffin flourish.

Wallace, who said he ran the read-option offense "a little bit" in college, will wear No. 18, and he said he'll get a package of plays to use against the Vikings.

"It's very similar," he said of the 49ers' offense and the ones he's run before. "The only thing is, you've just got to put it in their terms. Obviously, West Coast (offense) is West Coast. Everybody just puts their own spin on it."

The only quarterback who might be a question mark for Sunday is Tolzien, who hasn't practiced in full since the Chiefs game Aug. 16. Harbaugh said Tolzien "was working through something," but the hope is that after a day off Thursday he'll be able to play against the Vikings.

Read Matthew Barrows' blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers and listen for his reports Tuesdays on ESPN Radio 1320. Follow him on Twitter @mattbarrows.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Matthew Barrows



MATTHEW 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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