49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

August 19, 2009
Raye speaks, we listen

This is what I call a lazyman's blog -- where I simply cut and paste some overworked intern's transcription and turn it into an original post. Guilty. But I do think Jimmy Raye's answers are interesting, especially in regard to Glen Coffee, and I can't tell you how nice it is to cover someone with a command of English.

On what he has noticed about running back Glen Coffee during training camp:

"He has really been exceptional for a rookie running back in terms of all of things that we've asked him to learn and the things that he does. I think that he's way ahead of the curve in terms of his pass protection. Its unusual for a college back because they are not asked to protect much from the I-back position. If he continues to develop the way that he has - he's a rugged player, he is mentally tough, he plays physical and rugged, and I think that he has a bright future."

On Coffee's intangibles:

"I think what he has is vision and he has the ability to get fast in the hole. I don't know that in a footrace that he would run that fast, but he has instincts and [a] second-level spurt that is a little bit unusual, uncanny."

On why he excels in pass protection:

"I think part of that too is peer pressure. I think that coach Rathman does a great job with that. And, he sees that he tries to imitate Frank Gore, who is an excellent pass-protector, is a plus for him. So that is a standard that is set that he's working up to that helps him in terms of what he does that way."

On whether pass protection is what makes coaches most nervous when it comes to rookie running backs in a game situation:

"Very much so. Most of the time that guy has to protect the quarterback's back side and [if] you lose pass protection with a rookie running back, you probably lose your quarterback so you are in a situation where you don't want to jeopardize the quarterback's health because of a rookie running back that is getting up to speed in terms of the pass protection."

On Glen Coffee's pass catching ability in this offense:

"I think he'll catch the normal progression of passes that a back would catch based on the flood control, but I don't see him or envision him being a guy we would want to feature and throw the ball to. We want him to run the football. That's his strong suit. He's a physical, inside slasher. He's shown in the first exhibition game and if he continues to do that going forward, I think that would be the thing that we would lean on."

On how QB Alex Smith is doing getting rid of the ball:

"Yes, he's getting better at it. That three second clock was a little bit of a nuisance to them earlier, but I think they have adjusted to that and they understand that their body time clock has to speed up as well as their feet and we've emphasized and stressed the ball coming out and he as well as all the other guys have done pretty well with that."

On what he's seen from WR Arnaz Battle so far:

"Steady, smart guy that can do a lot of things. He can handle the ball as a runner. He's a good intermediate route, possession receiver and he's sneaky fast. I hadn't seen much of him prior to training camp because he was rehabilitating an injury from the offseason, so we didn't see him in the OTAs or the offseason program, but we've been very pleased with what he's done as long as [Jeff Ferguson] and the rehab people tell us he's doing okay, he's done well."

On whether he agrees that this is one of the best camps Frank Gore has had:

"Well, I really don't have anything to compare it to in terms of prior deals, but from what I've seen and the guys that I've had, he has had an outstanding training camp. His weight is down, his body is rocked up, he's ready to go. He's been exceptional in training camp if I were to compare him with other guys that I've had that were in an elite category in terms of runners, he's been exceptional."

On how the first team offensive line is jelling:

"I think this morning they made a big step. I think under the conditions of them being up here for four practices against the Raiders, this is a different front for us because the guards are covered. In our training camp they've been uncovered because of the 3-4 scheme. I thought we created some movement. I thought it was excellent work for us and I think their progress has been really good."

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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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